Review: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks AWD

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Contributing Author: Anne Fleming

Well, it’s here. The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks AWD is here and what a showstopper. We love it. Pandemic or not, so many people came up to me as I was in and out of the vehicle running errands! Buyers have been anticipating this vehicle and they knew about its arrival and have interest! All kinds of customers from a wide range of demographics, too – a very good indicator for Ford!

Price

$36,045 as tested

Performance

This modest-sized SUV is powered by a 1.5-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder engine and provides some heavy ‘get up and go’ for the utility vehicle. Built from the Ford Escape platform, it routes 181 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Brisk acceleration and movement are achieved on all types of terrains as the Ford Bronco Sport boasts standard AWD.

There is ample power for everyday riding in the city or on highway roads. Handling is responsive, but maybe just a tad loose. Overall, we found the vehicle lively, spirited, and amenable. It takes the bumps and bruises of the cobblestone streets effortlessly, though you might get tossed about, after all, this is a Bronco! This is not a luxurious ride, leave that for other vehicles.

Very excited to get the Bronco back in the line-up and on the road after a 25-year absence.

Fuel Economy

Well done, Ford: the official mileage is 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The Truck

Ford has hit the ground running with their new 2021 Bronco Sport. Hardly another me-too SUV falling into the compact category, it has an ideal fresh, muscular squared design and universal appeal.

So much so, that Ford Corporate will be opening an estimated 100 Bronco dealerships. These Bronco branded showrooms will be totally dedicated to the Bronco and Bronco Sport models. Dealerships are bullish on this high-demand nameplate. Inside the showroom is spec’d to have a rugged design and house up to three vehicles. More on timing and locations at Ford.com.

This all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport AWD is an awesome 5-seater. We highly recommend you add this to your test-drive list if you’re looking for something unique in the compact SUV category. It has one of the best rear cameras on the market, a turbo engine, and there is a decent cargo area. And the already mentioned gas consumption is a real plus on the wallet.

No, it’s not a luxe-end SUV drawing that type of material and it’s the first year out. Generally, on an inaugural model, we are hesitant to highly recommend buyers jump in. Especially with national safety and crash tests not established. Reliability is also undeterminable. Stay tuned.

However, Ford has done their homework. Recognizing the market share that other OEMs have made in the compact SUV category, Ford decided to reintroduce a nameplate with serious off-road credibility. Not just from a design and tech standpoint, but most definitely from a price and value proposition. Ford hit a sweet spot with the Bronco Sport! This vehicle is beyond competitive, opening up at $26K – and our tester is $36K. Rest assured, as the Bronco gains traction, you will see it in all shapes, sizes, and price points – especially in limited additions. Look out!

Safety

AdvanceTrac with RSC® monitors risk and prevents the vehicle from sliding and spinning out. Airbags galore. Tire pressure monitoring system. Perimeter alarm. Secure lock anti-theft system. SOS post-crash alert system. 5-Year/60,000 Roadside Assistance. Two (2) sets of LATCH connectors in the rear seats and a tether anchor in the middle seat.

An amazing (set of) features is included in the Ford Co-Pilot360 which centers around frontal collision mitigation, warning drivers about an impending collision. It will even apply the brakes in various situations. The Bronco Sport features a Lane-Keeping System which has allows the SUV to steer itself back into the lane when the driver drifts out of the lines. Also, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear-Cross Traffic Alert warns the driver that a car is in the blind spot during a lane change or when backing up. All these are outstanding features to be added to your next vehicle.

Technology

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make integration quick for drivers/passengers with their phones. The 8” touch screen is super awesome and has the SYNC infotainment goodies. It is intuitive and easy to use. There are power-adjustable front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Other features include:
Sirius Satellite® Radio, HD Radio, Navigation, Bluetooth, Multiple USB ports, 10 Speakers, WiFi Hot Spot, Bang and Olufsen stereo, Smartphone charging station. Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Rear View Camera, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Auto High Beam Headlights, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection.
Floodlights, Liftgate, Heater Wipes, Ambient Lighting, Remote Keyless Entry, Push Button Start, 120-Volt Household Power Outlet, Power Moonroof, Built-in Bottle Opener, Climate Control. Auto Emergency Braking.

Aesthetics & Styling

Our rugged 2021 tester has quite a boxy, unique exterior in cactus gray with a navy/light blue two-tone interior. The body has contoured headlamps and LED lighting. The crisp, vivid white letters B-R-O-N-C-O appear to leap from the exterior back of the vehicle as well as from the front of the black grille.

Cargo space in the back of this 2021 model supports just over 32 cubic feet with passengers; with the seats folded flat, there are 65.2 cubic feet. Plenty of room to stow-a-way luggage and other bulky items for a holiday or a weekend trip. The rear window can open on its own without opening the entire liftgate, a unique feature in its category.

Note this model has zippered pockets on the back of the front seats and hidden compartments under the rear seats to boot; pretty cool!

While a five-seater, the two in the front row will prove to be the most comfortable of all. While driving, we found these seats remarkably comfortable, higher, and with little to no blind spots – a real plus. That said, those in the back seat will enjoy less legroom and be more cramped, depending on their sizes. Though the headroom is higher, it’s less specious in terms of seat room, so there is no plus side, frankly. That’s especially true for teens and adults.

The interior noise of the cabin is far from quiet. While there are some modern images on the steering wheel and dash offering a 3D feel, there is a lot of plastic used throughout the interior.

The main competitors to the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport include the Jeep Compass and the Subaru Crosstrek. Interior handles on all passenger sides. It has an easy to clean, rubber trunk. Spare tire included – we love this, as not all consumers are aware, but in 2021 almost one-third of vehicles are manufactured without a spare. Crazy, no?

Warranty

3-Year/36,000 Bumper to Bumper Warranty. 5-Year/60,000 Powertrain Warranty. 5-Year/60,000 Roadside Assistance.

Like what you see? Shop the all-new Ford Bronco Sport today!

Anne Fleming began reviewing cars years ago. After a disempowering car buying visit made her realize how undervalued women’s voices were in the automotive world, she started a platform for women to rate their car dealership experience and make their voices heard.

Visit women-drivers.com to write a review about your car dealership experience.

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