This Is How I’d Spec a 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. Show Us Your Build
Soft-roaders can be fun too, y’know.
Frankly, I'd rather have a full-grown Ford Bronco, not a Bronco Sport. However, there are definitely reasons to spring for the Bronco's Escape-based younger sibling—it's smaller, cheaper and more suitable for daily life. The Drive's Editorial Director Patrick George also asked me to spec one up, so I did, as you can see here. You may disagree with some key points, but I'll try to sell you on my decisions.
First of all, let me get a little gripe out of the way here. You cannot get heated seats on any trim below Outer Banks—the mid-level trim starting at $32,160—on the Bronco Sport. It's a similar story with the regular Bronco as well. The Big Bend trim costs $33,385 and you still have to get the $1,495 "Mid-Package" for the interior in order to get heated seats. Since I live in a part of the country with seasons, it's something I just could not bring myself to leave unchecked if I was theoretically ordering a new car. For that reason, I started with the Outer Banks trim level on the Bronco Sport.
I decided to go with Metallic Brown on the exterior because I like a good brown and I'll notice less dirt on the car. I'm not saying that because I go off-roading, though. I don't go off-roading. I drive a Chevy Cobalt.
Then, I went with these 18-inch wheels because they were my only option. I don't mind them and I'll just end up getting steelies to put winters on this car anyway. It will probably, to be honest, look better with the steelies.
The Outer Banks trim offers an advantage over the regular Bronco at this price, which is the nice leather seats you can spec. I haven't even explored Bronco trim levels high enough where leather seats become an option, so if you're looking for a nice interior at a cheaper price, definitely consider the Bronco Sport. You also get a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with this package, which is certainly something I was looking for.
Dual-zone climate control is also thrown in with the Outer Banks equipment group, as well as two USB ports—one standard and one Type-C—to go along with the old 12-volt outlet. Overall, the interior looks nice enough for the price, with the seats being the real centerpiece. Everything else looks pretty standard Ford, including the window switches and the steering wheel, which are certainly shared with several other models. The instrument cluster does look a little cheap, but I guess this is a pretty cheap car. I would have to see it in person to really make a judgment.
What I'm sort of ambivalent about, however, is the choice of engines. On this trim level, I have just one option—a 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder making 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. Higher trims can get the more powerful 245-hp, 275-pound-feet 2.0-liter option, and this is indeed the engine I would prefer. However, seeing as I can't have it and I would need to spring for the Badlands trim to get it, I'm stuck with three cylinders.
There are also some other strange reasons as to why you shouldn't get the Badlands trim. For instance, you can't spec a brown interior with Ford's Co-Pilot360, the brand's suite of driver assistance features, because it removes the Badlands package—for whatever reason. You also can't get any tires besides the mild all-terrains that come standard on both wheel options (one of which I would honestly prefer on this vehicle, sans chunky tires). I don't want the noise on the highway, and I do want Co-Pilot360; it was actually the only option I sprung for outside of the Outer Bank equipment package.
Overall, I get that putting these options into packages saves money and streamlines production, but I can never quite get the Bronco Sport that I really want. I always end up missing one or two features I would rather have. Also, at $34,450 for my "ideal" Bronco Sport, I think I would rather—as I said before—just have a regular Bronco. All of that being said, this is definitely a car to consider buying if you're like me and really only ever need to conquer snow and dirt roads. You definitely get more interior comfort for your money, even if it's hard to get exactly what you want.
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