Written by Colin Ryan
The small SUV is fun, although some competitors can be more difficult. Pricing starts at $31,230.
Standard all-wheel drive, excellent safety ratings, modern-yet-retro styling
The second layer is more difficult than the others
The free version of Driving Wheels The original cutting edge has been discontinued
Instead of the usual SUV suspects in the mall, the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport may go further. Pricing starts at $31,230.
Indeed, Ford (F) uses the value of the big Bronco and its history. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the Bronco Sport is a good car. And it is, for the most part.
The Bronco Sport has only been around since the 2021 model year, and is based on the Escape, which arrived 12 months or so earlier. That means the technology is new, and the safety features are up-to-date. There are only a few trade-offs in the chassis between what works best on a dirt track and what works best on paved roads.
However, if buyers are excited to get that modern, square SUV style (which keeps coming around) and bask in a bit of light reflected from the Bronco, then we say go for it.
The big 2024 Ford Bronco is reviewed separately.
What’s new for 2024
The Free Wheeling version does it first. It’s basically a Big Bend design with color graphics on the side. We dig. The original base Bronco Sport has been discontinued, so now comes the entry-level Big Bend.
More: 2024 Ford Maverick review: A powerful pickup that’s good for work and play.
2024 Ford Bronco Sport Price
The 2024 Ford Bronco Sport starts at $31,230. That’s for the Big Bend version with all-wheel drive as standard, plus invisible tracking.
Bronco Sport Big Bend $31,230 Bronco Sport Heritage $33,700 Bronco Sport Free Wheeling $33,730 Bronco Sport Outer Banks $35,915 Bronco Sport Badlands $38,390
These are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices and do not include a $1,595 factory-to-dealer delivery fee (destination charge).
Stronger competitors in the small SUV class can also be interesting, like the Mazda CX-50 (MZDAY), from around $30K. The Subaru (FUJHY) Forester is more in the $27K region, though the Wilderness off-road trim sells in the mid-30s. Or there’s the TRD Off-Road version of the Toyota RAV4 (TM) in the high 30s. A big Ford Bronco is close to $40K.
Before you buy a new Bronco Sport SUV, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to find out what you should pay. The Subaru Forester tends to enjoy great resale values - we don’t expect the Bronco Sport to change that.
Power, transport and handling
Most versions of the Bronco Sport SUV have 181 horsepower from a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine. That’s about the same as the Subaru Forester and about 20 horsepower shy of the Toyota RAV4. As long as the ruggedness of the Bronco Sport’s style is the main attraction, then this one will do the job.
In the context of Bronco Sport, GOAT does not mean “greatest of all time.” But the tongue-in-cheek memory is kind of fun. Rather, it refers to the ability of this SUV to “go over any terrain.”
That’s a bit optimistic, but it’s more possible in the Badlands thanks to its advanced all-wheel drive system, which comes with the GOAT’s five driving modes in its all-terrain mode. This is a unique pairing for the most powerful of the two engines available, a 250 horsepower 4-cylinder unit.
We found ride quality not as refined as conventional SUVs like the Honda CR-V (HMC) and Kia (KR:000270) Sportage that have no real intention of straying off the pavement. Instead, the Bronco Sport is more serious, especially the off-road oriented Badlands.
See: 2024 Kia Sportage review: an impressive blend of sport, luxury and technology in one of the roomiest SUVs in its class.
The turbocharged 3-liter 3-cylinder engine achieves 26 mpg (25 city, 28 highway). That’s exactly the same as the Subaru Forester Desert. The Forester and RAV4 trims have better fuel economy. The 2.0-liter engine in the Badlands makes an unimpressive 23 mpg combined (21 city, 26 highway).
Plastic has a big presence inside the 2024 Bronco Sport SUV, but it’s not just to reduce costs. Like the cloth upholstery on the lower parts, it is meant to be easily cleaned after a trip through the mud.
Every version has an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, though the top spec brings navigation and pinch-to-pull functionality.
Rear legroom is 36.9 inches — not as good as the Subaru Forester (39.4 inches) but almost acceptable. Cargo space is more of a mixed blessing. The Bronco Sport beats the Forester for cargo space behind the rear seats: 32.5 or 29.4 cubic feet (the more advanced all-wheel-drive system and 2.0-liter engine take up extra space), compared to 28.9. With the rear seats folded, the Forester enjoys 74.2 cubic feet (Base trim) or 69.1 cubic feet, while the Bronco Sport makes 65.2 or 60.6 cubic feet.
Retro inspired design still has its place as long as the source of inspiration is cool. In the case of the Ford Bronco, cool is an understatement.
The squared-off lines of the classic SUV feature on the 2024 Bronco Sport. They make sense from a practical standpoint because it’s easy to gauge where the corners are when driving off-road.
The Bronco and Bronco Sport both seem to have sprung from the same pen. Each car has the word Bronco written on the grille in large letters. But the Bronco Sport doesn’t have a removable roof or removable doors.
The rear door window opens differently. That is very convenient for leaving something in the cargo area without lifting the whole thing.
The new 2024 Freewheeling kit adds red/orange/yellow stripes along the sides in a sunset (or sunrise) style, along with alloy wheels with red accents. The Heritage offers Robin’s Egg Blue, the same color offered by the old Bronc. This is equipped with white highlights, including the wheels and the roof.
Check out: 10 new SUVs coming soon—and they’re worth the wait
Features and technology we love
Safari-style roof The high roof of the 2024 Bronco Sport SUV not only provides generous room for passengers, it also allows for the installation of an optional internal bike rack that can hold several mountain bikes upright (with their front wheels removed).
Roof Rack This small feature can support up to 600 pounds – when the Bronco Sport is parked. That’s strong enough for a roof tent, which is part of the optional Camp Outfitter package.
Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ We think this option package is worth considering. It includes dynamic and lane-sensitive cruise control, as well as steering assist. It also adds voice-controlled navigation and pinch-to-zoom screen functions.
180-degree front camera Off-road driving can be difficult and challenging, and there’s always some obstacle that’s hard to spot. This wide-angle camera takes a lot of stress out of the experience. It is a level on the Badlands model.
B&OBang & Olufsen equipment is more often found in luxury cars like Audi or Aston Martin. So finding one in Ford is a joyous event for audiophiles. This B&O 10-speaker/560-watt sound system is specially tuned for the Bronco Sport. It is optional in the Outer Banks and Badlands models, standard in Heritage Limited.
Dog Outfitter bundle Every member of the family can come together. This optional package includes a storage shed for the cargo area, a cargo mat, and seat covers.
Engine and transmission
In four of the five trims of the 2024 Bronco Sport SUV, propulsion comes from a turbo-liter 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. The Badlands model has a turbo-liter 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.
These output figures are available for premium gasoline, but regular gas may be used.
Both engines are connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission; All-wheel drive is standard across the range. The 3-cylinder engine can tow up to 2,000 pounds; the largest unit can carry 2,200 pounds.
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Ford’s new car warranty lasts three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Powertrains are covered for five years or 60,000 miles, which includes roadside assistance. This is common among conventional manufacturers.
The Bronco Sport has won the top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and earned the highest 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and automatic high beams.
KBB vehicle inspection method.
This story ran on KBB.com.
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