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Car review: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Edition

Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company

Bronco, like Mustang, is a hallowed nameplate among Ford aficionados. After a quarter-century hiatus, Ford has reintroduced the Bronco and, additionally, Bronco Sport SUVs for model year 2021.

Despite having similar names, the two vehicles are unrelated. While the Bronco is a Michigan-made, body-on-frame, midsize vehicle, the Bronco Sport is a Mexico-built, unibody, compact SUV based on the Ford Escape platform. But both have rugged good looks that beckon the great outdoors.

Even the base model Sport, with a 3-cylinder engine, comes with AWD and a knob that lets the driver choose between modes such as Sand and Slippery. The Badlands trim level—with higher ground clearance, all-terrain tires, a more sophisticated AWD system, and a 4-cylinder engine—is a capable rock-crawler.

Though it favors premium fuel for best performance, the Sport’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is smooth and quiet while giving zippy acceleration. The Sport rides rather hard, and its steering is light but accurate. Every Sport comes with a generous suite of advanced safety features. A 2,200-pound tow capacity is chintzy, but the cargo area can hold a pair of mountain bikes upright.

Vehicle layout: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder (250 hp), 8-speed automatic, 4WD

MSRP, base model/as tested: $28,710/$34,960

MPG, city/highway/combined: 21/26/23

Safety ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall; IIHS: good (all crash-related ratings), Top Safety Pick Plus

Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles

Final assembly Hermosillo, Mexico

Spare tire: Full-size spare (varies by trim level)

Takeaway: Big fun in a small package

AAA Automotive Correspondent Peter Bohr has been writing about cars for more than four decades.

With AAA’s free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to or call 800-709-7222.

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