Keen to be a part of the Ford Bronco story, but more of a city slicker?
Meet the Ford Bronco Sport, like a Bronco but… sportier. Think of it as a cross between a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and the old Honda Element and you’re probably on the money.
It’s not yet been confirmed for Australia, like its bigger brother.
Unlike the two- and four-door Bronco models aimed squarely at the Jeep Wrangler, the Sport shares its underpinnings with the Ford Escape.
It’s powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 135kW of power and 260Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
A larger 2.0-litre engine will also be offered, making 183kW of power and 373Nm of torque. It’ll also be mated with an eight-speed automatic, backed by an extra oil cooler and wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Regardless of engine, the Bronco will be offered with all-wheel drive and a set of G.O.A.T. (Go Over Any Terrain) off-road modes.
However higher-end Badlands and First Edition models will have a more sophisticated twin-clutch rear drive unit with a differential lock designed to mimic a proper mechanical diff. It’s also capable of shifting torque to either wheel on the rear axle depending on where the traction is.
There’s an off-road cruise control system capable of keeping the car below 32km/h going forward and 10km/h in reverse.
Ford is promising both the front and rear suspension will offer longer travel and tougher components than any of its mini off-road SUV rivals, while higher-grade models will feature up to 29-inch off-road tyres.
Speaking of which, the range will kick off with the unmarked Bronco Sport, sitting below Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition models with progressively more equipment and off-road kit.
Despite its more humble underpinnings, the Bronco Sport shares plenty of exterior DNA with its bigger brother. There are round headlights and upright, boxy proportions, along with prominent BRONCO branding across the body.
Like the proper off-road-ready Bronco, the Sport doesn’t bear the Blue Oval anywhere on its flanks. That’s because it’s a part of a new sub-brand which, much like the Mustang sub-brand, will be sold through Ford dealers.
Unlike its bigger brother, the Sport has Sync 3 and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Ford’s latest Sync 4 setup doesn’t feature.
Blame the fact it’s based on the Escape, which also runs Sync 3. The link with the Escape is clearest inside, where the transmission tunnel and steering wheel both give away its origins.
There are plenty of neat touches, though, with storage under the rear seats, hidden pockets in the seat backs, and places to keep carabiner-hung objects such as water bottles, along with plenty of chunky touch points in keeping with the car’s more rugged remit.
Ford has put a focus on lifestyle activities with the Sport, which means there’s a huge range of accessories available.
The boot is designed to take two full-sized mountain bikes standing up with a dealer-fit mount, but that’s just the tip of a 100-strong accessory catalogue designed to mimic what Fiat Chrysler offers with its Mopar range of add-ons.
There’s everything from a flip-top rear window to a proper overlanding tent, and Ford will offer accessory packs for owners with a penchant for camping, biking, snow, and water.
Ford hasn’t confirmed either the Bronco or Bronco Sport for Australia.