AS Ford mounts an onslaught of the American off-road market with its new go-anywhere Bronco, fans of smaller SUVs have not been forgotten about with the Blue Oval also launching a smaller but equally adventurous alternative, the Bronco Sport.
Just like the full-sized Bronco, the Bronco Sport comes standard with 4×4 and a wealth of other off-road features to make it as capable as possible and ensure it lives up to the Bronco nameplate.
Befitting of its smaller stature, the Sport comes with smaller engine options than its full-sized cousin, with the standard engine being a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine good for 135kW of power 258Nm of torque.
A bigger, more powerful 2.0-litre turbo mill developing 183kW/373Nm is also available in upper-tier variants.
Gear-shifting duties are taken care of exclusively by an eight-speed automatic transmission regardless of engine choice, although 2.0L variants score a manual override and transmission cooling system.
Five trim levels will be available at launch – Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands and First Edition – largely mirroring the seven-variant line-up of the full-sized Bronco with each level adding a certain amount of extra equipment and off-road gear.
Standard kit on the Base includes a five-mode terrain management system, first and second row grab handles, 17-inch wheels, safari style roof, 8.0-inch Sync3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Ford+Alexa.
The Big Bend variant adds folding rear seats, rubber cargo floor mat, 17-inch aluminium wheels, keyless entry and push-button start, Sirius XM satellite radio, cloth bucket seats and heated wing mirrors.
The Outer Banks continues to add extra standard equipment like 18-inch wheels, leather sports seats, ambient lighting, 6.5-inch digital instrument cluster, power adjustable driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, rain sensing wipers and remote starting before things are really stepped up with the Badlands.
Boasting even more standard kit inside and out, the Badlands scores the 2.0L engine and upgraded transmission as standard along with an advanced 4×4 system and a twin-clutch rear-drive unit (locking rear diff), 28.5-inch all-terrain tyres, heavier duty suspension, two extra off-road drive modes, bash plates, front tow-hooks and a forward facing 180-degree camera with integrated washer.
Sitting atop the Bronco Sport tree is the First Edition which will be limited to just 2000 units Stateside.
Compared to the Badlands, the First Edition adds a black grille, ‘Shadow Black’ bonnet and door decals, power moonroof, power adjustable passenger seat, premium 10-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system, Class two Trailer Tow Package and 29-inch all-terrain tyres.
All models ride on independent suspension front and rear with up to 224mm of ground clearance available on the Badlands and First Edition.
In terms of angles, the Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks variants boast an approach angle of 21.7 degrees, a breaker angle of 18.2 degrees and a departure angle of 30.4 degrees, all of which are upped by the Badlands and First Edition to 30.4, 20.4 and 23.6 degrees respectively.
Maximum wading depth for the lower three is rated at 450mm while the Badlands and First Edition once again up the ante to 599mm.
More than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories for the Bronco Sport are available, including a strangely specific Yakima dealer-installed interior bike rack which can carry two standing 27.5-inch mountain bikes when the rear seats are folded flat.
Other adventure and outdoor-oriented kit includes liftgate LED floodlamps, Molle straps, zippered seatback pockets and even an in-built bottle opener in the cargo area.
Standard safety features include pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and dynamic brake support, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, automatic high beam and reversing camera.
The other safety pack available is the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 system, basting intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-centring and speed sign recognition.
GoAuto understands there are no current plans to produce the Bronco Sport in right-hand-drive, subsequently ruling out an introduction Down Under any time soon.