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The Bronco was an iconic vehicle in Ford's lineup for decades. Unfortunately, production of the Bronco came to an end and it disappeared for almost 25 years. Finally, the Bronco makes its long-awaited return in 2021 with two different versions. The Bronco Sport is a smaller counterpart to the full-sized Bronco. It's a compact SUV with room for five people and up to 65.2 cubic-feet of cargo space.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport takes a lot of design cues from the classic Bronco vehicles of the past. Best of all, it offers excellent off-road performance. This is something the original Broncos were known and loved for. All-wheel drive is standard, and there's a high ground clearance with every model. This new compact Bronco also offers plenty of modern amenities and creature comforts.
This little SUV was built with outdoor lovers and thrill seekers in mind. It's rugged, offers impressive capabilities and comes packed with useful design features. There's a lot of flexibility with the cargo area, and all of the surfaces were made for easy cleaning. Ford's Bronco Sport will be available in five different trim levels. We will take a close look at each trim and see how they compare with one another.
Compare the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Base vs Big Bend - What is the Difference?
The Base model combines classic Bronco style with an attractive, modern design. It's a practical vehicle that can also be used for off-road adventures. It's a capable vehicle too, with Ford's Terrain Management System, 4X4 drive and plenty of cargo space in the back.
The next trim level up is the Big Bend. This model gives owners even more practicality and convenience. Like the Base model, the Big Bend also comes ready for the great outdoors. There are rear flood lights capable of illuminating a large camping space. A rubberized floor in the cargo hold and special upholstery make cleanups easier once the adventures come to an end.
Both trim levels come equipped with a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain produces around 181 horsepower. Every trim level gets a 4X4 drive train. The Base and Big Bend both offer four-wheel-disc ABS brakes. On the outside, both trims have a manual liftgate and a safari-style roof.
The Base model comes equipped with LED daytime running lamps that can be configured. The Big Bend adds on LED fog lamps. The Big Bend also gets a heating feature for the exterior mirrors. While both models have side roof rails, the Big Bend can have crossbars added on too. Both Bronco Sport models have 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The Base trim comes with manual climate control. The Big Bend gets Electronic Automatic Temperature Control. There's also an extra air duct in the rear to evenly distribute the heat or air conditioning. Both models come with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology. This includes Pre-Collision Assist and Automatic Braking.
The two starter trims also have Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and a Lane-Keeping System to make sure the vehicle stays safely in its own lane. All trims get Electronic Traction Control. A rear camera helps with reverse parking and backing out of parking spaces. Automatic High Beams kick in when some extra light is needed. There's also a Roll Stability Control System in the event of an accident.
On the inside of the Bronco Sport, the Base and Big Bend have similar infotainment systems. This is Ford's SYNC3 system with integrated voice-recognition technology. There's an AM/FM stereo and six speakers to pump out crystal-clear sound. The system is compatible with the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps. 911 Assist is available in case of emergencies.
There are four USB ports for charging up your phones or other devices. The Big Bend trim adds on a navigation system so that you can always find your destination. It also has a voice-activated touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability. Sirius XM satellite radio and Traffic with Travel Link are both optional for the Big Bend.
Both models have cloth upholstery, but the Big Bend has special, easy-to-clean upholstery. A 6-way manually-adjustable driver's seat and a 4-way passenger seat are standard. The Big Bend gives buyers the option for an 8-way power-adjustable seat for the driver. The rear seats are in a 60/40 split-bench configuration and can be folded down flat for more cargo space.
There are more small-item storage spaces in the Big Bend. You get a few more cup holders, pouches and pockets. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather at this trim level. You can also opt for a power moonroof when you move up to the Big Bend trim. There's a 4.2-inch display on the instrument cluster for both trim levels. This is in addition to the infotainment system's display.
All five trim levels get dual-stage airbags up front. An extra airbag is located around the area of the driver's knee. Ford includes a Tire-Pressure Monitor system for every Bronco Sport. A small spare tire is also included just in case you experience a flat or a blowout. A warning light and sound goes off to remind all occupants to buckle up.
Every 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has a Remote Keyless-Entry System. This system works in conjunction with your key fob. You will also always get a Passive Anti-Theft System and a Perimeter Alarm. The Big Bend trim level adds on a Keyless-Entry Keypad. The Big Bend also offers an optional trailer-towing package.
Compare the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend vs Outer Banks - What is the Difference?
The Outer Banks trim level adds on some extras for both the exterior and the interior. On the outside, there's a blacked-out grille with a white Bronco emblem. The roof comes in a Shadow Black color. The 18-inch aluminum wheels come painted in black as well. On the inside, you will get leather trim throughout.
This trim level features the same engine, transmission and drive train as the previous two trims. Mechanically, there isn't much of a difference here. On the outside, all of the lights are the same with the addition of some LED Signature Lighting. A de-icer is added on to the windshield wipers.
Moving on to the interior, the Outer Banks upgrades to a Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control setup. There is now a remote-start system that will come in handy on cold days. The interior gets some nicer, ambient lighting as well. In addition to the USB ports, this trim now offers wireless charging for your smartphone.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel now comes with a heating feature. The seats are also heated at this trim level. An 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat and 6-way passenger seat are installed for the Outer Banks models. All windows get power operation with one-touch up-and-down functionality.
All of the previous safety features and driver-assist technology return for this model. The Outer Banks gets some extra rear sensors to help out with reverse driving. The same alarm system from the Big Bend trim is included here as well. The gauge cluster gets a bigger 6.5-inch display screen. Buyers can also add on a Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with 10 speakers and a subwoofer.
Compare the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks vs Badlands Trim Level. What Is the Difference?
The Badlands model offers the best off-road performance in the Bronco lineup. It gets advanced 4X4 with Ford's Trail Control and seven G.O.A.T. modes. G.O.A.T. is short for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain. Each mode optimizes the Bronco Sport's performance for different conditions and terrain types. On the outside, there are metal bash plates and a set of off-road tires.
The Badlands is the first trim level to come with a different engine. This model gets a 2.4-liter I4 that can produce 250 horsepower. This engine features Ford's Auto Start-Stop Technology. The upgraded powertrain is just one more thing that helps the Badlands model plow through and over rough terrain. It provides for much better acceleration and passing power on paved roads too.
This trim level comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The suspension system is upgraded and there's a Twin-Clutch Rear Drive Unit for the 4X4 system. In addition to the standard rear-view camera, the Badlands also has a front 180-degree camera with a split view. This helps to navigate over obstacles and gives the vehicle better rock-crawling capabilities. The camera also has a washer to prevent mud and debris from blocking your view.
There is a set of front tow hooks to help get you out of trouble during off-road excursions. On the inside, this trim gets some extra storage space underneath the rear seats. The infotainment system and audio options are the same. Many of the controls, however, now come mounted on the steering wheel for easy access. The stock seats are the same, but the Badlands offers optional leather-trim upholstery with perforations.
The rubberized floor for the cargo area found on previous trims is extended to also include other areas here. Overall, the interior has been designed for easy cleanups. This is an SUV, after all, that was engineered for off-road terrain, mud, sand and even water fording.
Compare the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands vs First Edition. - What is the Difference?
The First Edition gives you the same great off-road performance as the Badlands trim. It then adds on all of the best convenience features and luxury appointments that the Bronco Sport has to offer. It also has a unique exterior with Shadow Black decals and a Carbonized Gray grille with a stylish Bronco logo.
This model gets the same 2.4-liter I4 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. The transmission now offers overdrive and an auto-manual feature that allows you to manually shift through the gears if you prefer. The upgraded suspension system and all previously mentioned driver-assist features are included with this trim.
The previously optional crossbars for the roof racks are automatically included here. Privacy glass is included for the rear window over the liftgate and for the rear side windows. The rear-view mirror now comes with an auto-dimming feature. Wireless charging is now a stock feature.
The rear windows have the same power, one-touch features as the front windows at this trim level. The previously optional Bang & Olufsen sound system is just standard for the First Edition. The leather-trimmed seats are now included automatically as well. All of the safety features and alarm systems make a return here.
One major upgrade for the First Edition is the Class II Trailer-Tow Package with Sway Control. This great feature limits excessive movement of your trailer. The package can increase the Bronco Sport's towing capacity up to 2,200 pounds. While this is the luxury model of the lineup, it still comes rocking a set of all-terrain off-road tires.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport makes a great choice for anyone looking for a new compact SUV. The flexible cargo area and comfortable interior make it well suited as a family hauler and daily driver. It's quite the practical vehicle in a number of ways. It's also a fantastic vehicle for the adventurous types who want to explore nature or engage in some off-road fun.
If off-road performance is your primary reason for considering a Bronco Sport, the Badlands trim may be your best option. It offers the best off-road performance alongside of the First Edition model, but at a cheaper price. Off-road purists aren't going to miss the extra luxury appointments and convenience features of the First Edition.
If you want a do-anything SUV for daily driving and the occasional adventure, the First Edition may be worth the extra cost. For budget buyers who will mostly stick to the road, the Base trim should work out fine. It's still packed with plenty of convenience and safety features. It can also still handle some rough terrain if you should ever need it to.