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2021 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend

Competent and Smile-Inducing

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport arrived as the second from the bottom trim level – the Big Bend. That kind of set expectations low. The base price was $28,160 and there were three options – the 200A Equipment Group (meaning the Big Bend trim level), Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ and the Big Bend Package. Total price was $31,345 and when the $1,495 destination and delivery charge was added, the total came to $32,840.  In today’s world, this is an attractive price point for a vehicle that is so engaging.

Head-Turning Style – Bronco Cues  Based on the Ford Escape platform (shared with the Lincoln Corsair), the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is an upright, boxy crossover SUV. It looks tough and rugged with Bronco styling cues evident everywhere. Of course, having “Bronco” and “Bronco Sport” badging prominently mounted fore and aft did not hurt.  Anywhere it goes, the Bronco Sport turns heads and gets smiles.  Only Jeep Wrangler drivers seem dismissive.

Friendly, But Spartan Interior  The Bronco Sport interior package is excellent. It is easy to get into and out of. Visibility is excellent. Ergonomics are great. Switchgear is easy to understand and decipher.

Having read reviews of the 2021 Bronco Sport interior, I was expecting the black and charcoal totally-plastic interiors Ford used on lower trim lines in the past. While the black and charcoal is true, the texture on the plastic pieces appear to be high quality and durable as they should be in an off-road oriented SUV. The seats look like Ford Ranger seats from the 1980s.  Those felt like you were sitting on a mushroom.  While the seats in the Bronco Sport look similar, they are actually pretty comfortable.  They don’t suffer from over-aggressive bolsters, but offer an appropriate level of support.  But the story begins after the seating and  trim.

Instrumentation Easy To Understand  At first glance, you see a vibrant reconfigurable digital instrument cluster and equally bright 8-inch center display (a welcome screen shows an animation of a Bronco bucking – ah, the modern world of computer graphics). All of the graphics are clear, crisp and easy to understand.

Where many of these systems are  challenging in competitive makes – overly complicated – Ford has achieved an admirable ease of use with its interface technology.

At this trim level, these displays are a pleasant surprise. And, overall the equipment level on this Bronco Sport is pretty darn good.

Driving the Bronco Sport  The pleasant surprise in the Bronco Sport is how nicely it drives. Powered by a 181-horsepower 3-cylinder engine, the Bronco Sport has excellent performance. Not fast, but better than expected. The little 3-cylinder sounds a little agricultural, a little different, but not offensive. Off-road, the power is certainly adequate. A quick freeway jaunt finds the Bronco Sport capable of cruising at speed. The ride is composed and not at all rough. The interior, even in this trim level, is quiet.

Ford is expert at “trucks” and they have transformed their small crossover platform to a competent off-reader that can be lived with day-to-day. Overall, a nice job!

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