The Bronco name revived after 24 years, Ford has completed the line-up by introducing a more lifestyle focused version dubbed the Bronco Sport.
As with its Jeep Wrangler rivalling sibling, the Sport has made countless appearances online via leaked images and details over recent months, but now makes its debut as not only the spiritual successor to the short-lived Bronco II from the 1980s, but which strikes a balance between off-road and on-tar usage.
In a departure from the full-size Bronco, the Sport swaps the Ford Ranger derived T6 platform for the C2 used by the Focus and Kuga, but with extensive updates carried out to up its off-road credentials.
Despite eschewing the four-wheel-drive system for a conventional all-wheel-drive configuration, the Sport retains the Terrain Management system with five G.O.A.T (Go Over Any Terrain) modes; Eco, Normal, Slippery, Sport and Sand, a unique twin-clutch rear drive system with a locking differential on Badlands models, an equally novel Trail Control system that keeps the speed to 32 km/h on rough terrain, front and rear independent suspension and on the Badlands only, four steel bash plates, 28-inch all-terrain tyres, two off-road modes; Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl, 46 mm mono-tube rear shock absorbers, softer springs and anti-rollbars plus hydraulic rebound front strut stops. Claimed wading depth is 600 mm.
Styled to resemble not only the Bronco but also, from some angles, the first Escape and even the first generation Explorer, the Sport’s interior falls more in-line with that of the Kuga and aside from an extensive accessories catalogue, features a SYNC 3 eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a washable rubber boot floor on the Badlands, a 400-watt inverter, LEDs integrated into the split opening tailgate, cloth seats and enough space to accommodate a pair of mountain bikes standing upright according to Dearborn.
Safety comes in the form of Pre-Collision with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Auto High Beam Assist, Dynamic Brake Support, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and from the options list, Adaptive Cruise Control, a surround view camera system, Lane Centering, Traffic Sign Recognition and Evasive Steering Assist.
Measuring 4 386 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 2 669 mm, height of between 1 783 mm to 1 889 mm and width of 2 088 mm, the Sport is taller, shorter and narrower than the Kuga with its approach and departure angles being rated at 21.7 degrees and 30.4 degrees, breakover at 18.2 degrees and ground clearance at 198 to 201 mm. On the Badlands, the mentioned degrees are 30.4, 33.1 and 20.4 respectively with the ground clearance being higher at 224 mm.
Up front, the Sport comes powered by two versions of the familiar EcoBoost engine; the 1.5 that produces 135kW/258Nm and the 2.0-litre rated at 182kW/373Nm. Both are however mated to a rotary dial eight-speed automatic gearbox with the all-wheel-drive system being standard. Reserved for the 2.0 EcoBoost though is a secondary transmission oil cooler.
As with the Bronco, the Sport will also be built at the Wayne Plant in Michigan in a choice of ten colours; Oxford White, Cactus Grey, Shadow Black, Area 51, Kodiak Brown Metallic, Iconic Silver Metallic, Carbonised Grey Metallic, Alto Blue Metallic Clearcoat, Rapid Red Metallic Clearcoat and Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat.
In total, four trim levels will be offered; base, Big Bend, Outer Banks and Badlands with only the latter using the mentioned 2.0 EcoBoost engine. Pricing kicks-off at $28 155 (R472 048) and ends at $34 155 (R572 644), but like the Bronco, the Sport, sadly won’t be made in right-hand-drive.