2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks First Test: Are Three Cylinders Enough?

We at MotorTrend might most likely print a thick particular version subject—or fireplace up a standalone web site—that includes nothing however our Ford Bronco Sport coverage, so intense has public curiosity been on this bite-sized trail-bruiser. The one factor left to touch upon now’s how the compact crossover with the large identify compares towards its aggressive set. We’ve pitted a top-spec four-cylinder Bronco Sport Badlands towards its rival Jeep Compass Trailhawk, and shortly we’ll collect a gaggle of much less expensive, much less succesful compact utes for comparability with a extra basic Bronco Sport. We simply acquired the possibility to slap our check gear on a well-equipped 2021 Bronco Sport Outer Banks mannequin with the entry-level three-cylinder engine, so let’s begin by bench-racing it towards its aggressive set.

How Fast Is the 2021 Bronco Sport Outer Banks?



Regardless of its cylinder depend trailing that of practically each competitor, the mainstream, three-cylinder Bronco Sport delivers stable mid-pack efficiency, dashing to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds and on via the quarter mile in 16.Four seconds at 84.5 mph. That’s, for those who enterprise into the setup display screen to disable traction management, set the “GOAT mode” dial to Sport, give it a second of brake torque to spool up the turbo, and launch the brake to impress a second of entrance wheelspin. You solely add a few tenths of a second and knock 1.5 mph off the lure pace for simply mashing the pedal in Eco or Regular mode, as you would possibly from a inexperienced gentle to leap out and recover from to a flip lane.

Evaluating all-wheel-drive utes of comparable measurement and value (the Outer Banks trim begins at $33,655), we discover the Honda CR-V in EX-L trim to be quickest at 7.6 seconds to 60 and 15.9 at 87.7 mph within the quarter, with the two.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder Jeeps mentioning the rear. Low-spec Cherokees with this engine align on value and take 9.5 seconds to hit 60; 17.2 for the quarter. The two.4-liter Compass Trailhawk we ran towards our Badlands mannequin wanted 10.Four and 17.7 seconds.

Within the sibling rivalry class, the two.0-liter four-cylinder Bronco Sport Badlands whizzes to 60 in 6.5 seconds, besting our final Escape Titanium 2.0-liter by 0.Four seconds, although by the quarter-mile mark the Escape was pulling even (15.Three seconds for every) at a quicker lure pace (89.Three versus Bronco Sport’s 87.Eight mph). The one 1.5-liter Escape we’ve examined, a front-drive mannequin weighing 266 kilos lower than our Bronco Sport Outer Banks, was two tenths faster to 60 mph (8.Four seconds) however gave up the identical interval on the quarter mile (16.6 seconds at 84.5 mph).

  Base Value Engine Trans Curb Weight (lb) weight-to-power (lb/hp) 45-65 mph (sec) 0-60 (sec) quarter mile
Honda CR-V AWD (EX-L)  $  33,370 1.5L/190-hp/179-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 Cont var auto  3,449 18.2 3.9 7.6 15.9 sec @ 87.7 mph
Nissan Rogue AWD Platinum  $  34,495 2.5L/181-hp/181-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 Cont var auto  3,613 20.0 4.3 8.1 16.Three sec @ 86.Zero mph
Mazda CX-5 AWD (Grand Touring)  $  32,960 2.5L/187-hp/186-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 6-speed auto  3,694 19.8 4.5 8.3 16.Four sec @ 83.7 mph
Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks  $ 33,655 1.5L/181-hp/190-lb-ft turbo DOHC 12-valve I-3 8-speed auto  3,580 19.8 4.6 8.6 16.Four sec @ 84.5 mph
Subaru Forester Restricted  $  32,445 2.5L/182-hp/176-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve flat-4 Cont var auto  3,531 19.4 4.1 8.3 16.5 sec @ 86.2 mph
Toyota RAV4 Journey  $  34,330 2.5L/203-hp/184-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 8-speed auto  3,640 17.9 4.5 8.5 16.6 sec @ 85.2 mph
Ford Escape SE 1.5T  $  31,950 1.5L/181-hp/190-lb-ft turbo DOHC 12-valve I-3 8-speed auto  3,314 18.5 4.4 8.4 16.6 sec @ 84.5 mph
Chevrolet Equinox Premier AWD  $  34,195 1.5L/170-hp/203-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 6-speed auto  3,566 21.0 4.8 8.7 16.7 sec @ 83.1 mph
Kia Sportage EX AWD  $  29,910 2.4L/181-hp/175-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 6-speed auto  3,616 20.0 5.0 9.0 16.9 sec @ 83.Zero mph
Jeep Cherokee Altitude 4×4  $  32,815 2.4L/184-hp/171-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 9-speed auto  3,754 20.4 5.2 9.5 17.2 sec @ 80.5 mph
Jeep Compass 4×Four Trailhawk  $  32,210 2.4L/180-hp/175-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 9-speed auto  3,803 21.1 5.8 10.4 17.7 sec @ 77.5 mph

How Properly Does It Cease?

This specific Bronco Sport is kitted for optimum braking and turning, because the Outer Banks mannequin will get the lineup’s solely commonplace 18-inch wheel selection (they’re non-compulsory on Huge Bend). They arrive wrapped in 225/60-series tires versus the remainder of the lineup’s commonplace 225/65R17s. As such it whoas to a halt from 60 mph in a extremely constant 115 toes (simply Three toes separated our 5 panic stops). Among the many aggressive set we’re contemplating, solely the Kia Sportage EX and Nissan Rogue Platinum brake shorter at 114 toes. It’s fascinating to notice that the Ford Escape SE 1.5 on 225/60R17 variants of the identical tire mannequin (Michelin Primacy A/S) wanted 128 toes to cease, rating it subsequent to final within the class. Brake really feel can be exemplary on the brand new Bronco Sport. The Badlands mannequin on non-compulsory, knobbier, extra off-road-oriented 235/65R17 Falken Wildpeak A/T tires wanted 123 toes—similar as our Escape Titanium on 225/55R19 Bridgestone Ecopias.

SUV 60-Zero mph braking dist (ft)
Kia Sportage EX AWD 114
Nissan Rogue AWD Platinum 114
Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks 115
Subaru Forester Restricted 117
Honda CR-V AWD (EX-L) 118
Chevrolet Equinox AWD 120
Jeep Cherokee Altitude 4×4 121
Mazda CX-5 AWD (Grand Touring) 123
Toyota RAV4 Journey 126
Ford Escape SE 1.5T 128
Jeep Compass 4×Four Trailhawk 129

What About Cornering?

Right here once more we count on this instance to be the fleetest dealing with Bronco Sport, owing to its grippier, lower-profile tires and its lighter and barely higher distributed weight. Sadly, our wintry week with the check automobile in Michigan saved our skidpads damp or lined in snow all the time. We sought out the flattest freeway cloverleafs we might discover and measured grip within the 0.83–0.85g vary, however all of them nonetheless included at the very least a pair levels of banking. This has to have elevated our measured lateral-g consequence, most likely by greater than the ample coating of salt mud decreased it. Nonetheless, it’s protected to say that the consequence ought to be at the very least a bit higher than that of our lighter Escape SE on the identical mannequin of taller-sidewall tires (which required extra space to cease from 60 mph). An informed guess of 0.79g would put the Bronco Sport as soon as once more in the midst of its pack.

SUV Lateral Grip (g)
Nissan Rogue AWD Platinum 0.84
Honda CR-V AWD (EX-L) 0.83
Kia Sportage EX AWD 0.83
Subaru Forester Restricted 0.82
Toyota RAV4 Journey 0.81
Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks 0.79
Jeep Cherokee Altitude 4×4 0.79
Mazda CX-5 AWD (Grand Touring) 0.79
Chevrolet Equinox AWD 0.78
Ford Escape SE 1.5T 0.78
Jeep Compass 4×Four Trailhawk 0.75
*Estimated, as snow prevented lateral-g testing in Michigan.

So What Do the Numbers Inform Us?

It’s attainable that I, like many others, harbor an unconscious bias towards three-banger engines. They sound humorous, and like three-lug wheels, they only appear improper, inadequate. The numbers counsel in any other case, slotting the entry Bronco Sport powertrain comfortably into the higher center of its extremely aggressive class by way of straight-line acceleration, and within the decrease center of the category for gas financial system. So don’t purchase it primarily based on both of those standards; purchase it as a result of it appears cool, incorporates myriad shock and delight options all through, and since it’ll enterprise farther off the overwhelmed path than many of the opponents we’re contemplating right here.

EPA Gas Econ (mpg)
SUV metropolis hwy comb
Honda CR-V AWD (EX-L) 27 32 29
Subaru Forester Restricted 26 33 29
Ford Escape SE 1.5T AWD 26 31 28
Toyota RAV4 Journey 25 33 28
Nissan Rogue AWD Platinum 25 32 28
Chevrolet Equinox AWD 25 30 27
Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks 25 28 26
Mazda CX-5 AWD (Grand Touring) 24 30 26
Jeep Compass 4×Four Trailhawk 22 30 25
Jeep Cherokee Altitude 4×4 21 29 24
Kia Sportage EX AWD 21 25 23
2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks
BASE PRICE $33,655
VEHICLE LAYOUT Entrance-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 1.5L/181-hp/190-lb-ft turbo DOHC 12-valve I-3
TRANSMISSION 8-speed computerized
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,580 lb (57/43%)
WHEELBASE 105.1 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 172.7 x 74.Three x 70.Three in
0-60 MPH 8.6 sec
QUARTER MILE 16.Four sec @ 84.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH 115 ft
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 135/120 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.74 lb/mile
*Estimated, as snow prevented lateral-g testing in Michigan.

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