2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage
A few years ago, Ford doubled down on a classic nameplate – Bronco.
They rolled out two vehicles wearing this revered name. One, a truck-based off-road warrior. That Bronco eared plenty of praise as it was positioned against one of the most recognizable vehicles in the world – the Jeep Wrangler.
The other is a smaller, front-drive biased SUV. Based on the same platform as the Ford Escape and Maverick, the Bronco Sport became the gateway for adventure seeking consumers with active lifestyles wanting something within a reason price point. They wanted the image of a Bronco that was within reach.
In its third model year, Ford rolled out a package that further bridged its heritage with its current Bronco lineup. They called it the Heritage Edition. Does this help attract new customers to the Bronco Sport?
Let’s talk the basics here. The rugged exterior design language starts with a boxy shape that starts with a simple horizontal bar grille wearing the Bronco name across it. Headlamp units starts with a circular main unit with an extended lens area for the turn signal/driving lamp. The front end may appear blunt, but it does have a three-dimensional quality to it.
The side profile also appears boxy, but its side window profile is broken up at the C-pillar with an angular shape. All four doors open wide for occupants to get in and out easily. The liftgate can be open fully or with just the back window to access the cargo area quickly. Vertical LED taillights finish out the rear end design.
With the Heritage package, the grille and 17-inch aluminum wheels are painted white – just as it was in 1966. There are old-style Bronco Sport badges on the front door. Our tester’s roof was painted white to compliment the Yellowstone main color on our tester.
Inside the Bronco Sport is an equally rugged and useful cabin. The instrumentation is a mix of analog dials with digital displays, including the 6.5-inch center screen with some beautiful start-up images promoting the possibilities of your Bronco Sport. The center stack is crowned by a tablet-like infotainment screen powered by Ford’s SYNC 3. All other controls are logical and easy to understand.
As with most Ford vehicles, the transmission is actuated by a knob on the center console. To fine tune your shifts, there are paddles behind the steering wheel. Also on the center console is the knob for the G.O.A.T. Modes, featuring seven drive modes for specific traction and driving choices. You also get additional controls for the Bronco Sport’s four-wheel-drive system.
Leather seating is part of the upgraded Heritage Limited trim package. The front seats offer plenty of support, but they were a bit firm in places. Rear seat legroom was OK, while offering superb headroom. Cargo space-wise, the Bronco Sport offers up to 29.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats. When you fold down the rear seats, you get a maximum of 60.6 cubic feet of squared off volume for many uses.
This Heritage Limited tester came with a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder putting down 277 pound-feet of torque. This engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and an advanced four-wheel-drive system with a twin-clutch rear axle unit. The latter is controlled by the seven G.O.A.T. Modes of the Terrain Management System.
Overall, the Bronco Sport does well in the driveline department. The 2.0-liter engine accelerates superbly and keeps up with traffic nicely. We also observed a fuel consumption average of 24.8 MPG.
The Bronco Sport rides pretty “soft,” yet offers some stability overall. On rougher roads, the Bronco Sport worked hard to keep from transmitting the bumps and ruts into the cabin. In turn, we felt that the Bronco Sport’s overall handling was soft, with some roll and lean in the turns.
The Bronco Sport actually had a tight turning radius on road. However, on-center feel is soft, but controlled. Braking is pretty decent in all conditions. The pedal feel was fine, while sending a solid response to the wheels.
Pricing for the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport starts at $29,213. You have a choice of six trim levels, including two Heritage models. Our Heritage Limited tester came with a sticker price of $46,400.
What was once considered a niche model, the Bronco Sport is part of the norm in the small-ish-to-compact SUV segment. Its competitors include the Jeep Compass and Cherokee, Subaru Crosstrek, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Toyota Corolla Cross, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos, Volkswagen Taos, and the Ford Escape.
As being the norm, Ford wanted to capitalize on the spirit the Bronco has brought back to the brand. The Bronco Sport has become a proper gateway for not only the brand, but for those looking for adventure in their lives.
Credits: CarSoup Editors