By Larry Lark, contributor
Enough time as past, since the OJ slow chase phenomena, for the Ford Bronco to bounce back.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport marks the comeback of this vehicle, and with it signals adventure-seekers a welcome return to roads and trails less traveled.
Bronco Sport is a small SUV equipped for trails with standard four-four-wheel drive, built wild capability, confidence and fun.
“Bronco Sport has the toughness and smarts to help turn off-road novices into 4×4 pros,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development officer. “Bronco Sport embraces the needs of outdoor enthusiasts – every inch of it was designed and engineered with weekend adventurers in mind.”
Bronco Sport is smartly designed to transport two mountain bikes standing up in its cargo area – and two cyclists up front. Four available accessory bundles – in addition to more than 100 factory-backed standalone accessories – let owners easily make the vehicle their own by outfitting it to transport kayaks, skis, camping equipment or whatever gear propels their adventure.
Five trim levels are available, including the Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, Badlands, and First Edition. My tester was the First Edition.
Staying true to the DNA of the first-generation Bronco, the all-new Bronco Sport SUV pays it forward with modern, heritage-inspired style, agile off-road architecture and optimized suspension for better control in all environments.
The First Edition series are powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that produces a best-in-class 250 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque for high-speed off-road performance. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Base, Big Bend and Outer Banks series feature the proven 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine with 181 horsepower and 190 lb.-ft. of torque.
Bronco Sport seats up to five adults and delivered approximately 25 miles per gallon fuel economy in combined city/highway driving.
The Sport model is truly built with off-roader’s in mind. Its suspension system includes uniquely tuned front struts with hydraulic rebound stops designed to provide a quieter, less jarring off-road experience. In addition, 46-millimeter-diameter monotube rear shocks help provide improved response and more comfort off-road, while softer springs and antiroll bars offer greater articulation over obstacles.
Class-exclusive Trail Control technology furthers the vehicle’s off-road prowess. The available feature enables a cruise control-like setting up to 20 mph forward and 6 mph in reverse for vehicle-controlled throttle and braking, letting the driver stay focused on navigating the trail. It also comes with a front, 180-degree camera.
First Edition comes standard with 29-inch all-terrain off-road tires with more aggressive, deeper treads that stretch on to the sidewalls for improved off-road traction.
Creature comforts are not sacrificed, however. The Bronco Sport includes and power moonroof, Bang and Olufsen premium sound system with 10 speakers, power lift-gate, dual-zone climate control, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and a “Cyber Orange Metallic” coat of enamel that’s hard to miss.
Rounding out the Bronco’s comprehensive standard feature package is Ford Co-Pilot 360. It’s a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies standard across the lineup, including Pre-
Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking featuring Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System, Auto High Beam Headlamps and a rearview camera.
Available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist, and voice-activated touch screen navigation.
My Bronco’s week-long journey included a trip with switchback turns to Artist’s Point and Mount Baker. The return trip included a short, off-road excursion to Nooksack Falls. The Sport didn’t even break a sweat.
Base Price: $39,495
Price As Driven: $41,295
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.