Ford reintroduced the Bronco nameplate to much fanfare earlier this summer and, along with it, an adjacent model called the Bronco Sport. To be clear, the two vehicles share little more than the fact they roll on four wheels – the Bronco is a Wrangler competitor with removable doors while the Bronco Sport is based on the compact Escape and seeks to take on vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee.
It’s rare for an entry-level vehicle to actually have ‘Base’ as its model name, but here we are. Hey, at least its refreshingly honest. Priced at $32,199, the cheapest Bronco Sport looks broadly similar to more expensive trim, which is not a bad thing. Styled with a t-square, it plays an excellent foil its Escape cousin which is heavily rounded and looks like a visual tribute to the noble lungfish.
Four-wheel drive is standard, along with the brand’s quintet of GOAT driving modes, a too-clever acronym for Goes Over Any Terrain. A 1.5L EcoBoost four banger is under the hood, producing 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. This is all hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Wheels 17-inches in diameter contribute to the ‘hey, that’s not bad’ level of ground clearance which measures very nearly 8-inches.
Bronco Sport Base shares a good number of exterior styling cues with more costly trims. LED headlamps with signature lighting are present and accounted for, as are the so-call ‘safari style’ roof and BRONCO billboard in its front grille. The latter is moulded in black, a sure-fire telltale that this is the Base model, though it does share its black door handles and sideview mirrors with the next-level Big Bend trim.
It emphatically does not share its colour palette, though, offering only four hues all of which are on the greyscale. Barring entry-level customers from cool paint shades infuriates your author to no end. At least Bronco Sport looks good in Shadow Black, shown here. Interior accommodations will look familiar to anyone who’s been in an Escape in the last couple of years, featuring a single-zone manual climate control and tablet-style infotainment screen. Driving aids like lane-keeping and automatic emergency braking are also standard.
What We’d Choose
It is always tempting to recommend the gnarliest off-road iteration of any model – the Badlands, in this case – but its $8,000 price walk is no small consideration even if it does come standard with a larger engine. Considering the next-rung-up Big Bend trim adds just a few features for an extra $2,000, we’d take a good look at the Base before laying out any extra cash.