Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A yellow 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is shown at night as people set up a roof tent.

2022 Ford Bronco Sport: Brand New and Fresh

The chance that you’ve heard of the Bronco is more likely than ever. Younger generations had only heard stories of the venerable Bronco, and speculation of its return was at an all-time high. While its return has been a hot topic amongst old-school enthusiasts, we’ll be focusing on the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport today. Designed alongside the Bronco, the Bronco Sport is a street-focused crossover that shares its name and several features with its older sibling. That’s not to say that the Bronco Sport is void of off-roading capabilities. If you do your shopping correctly, your Bronco Sport can be an off-roading champion if you need it to be, so you can rest assured that the versatility factor is alive and well.

One of the first distinctions that you’ll notice is the size of the vehicles. The Bronco Sport is noticeably smaller than the Bronco since it’s a crossover SUV, so if the traditional model is too large for your liking, this should be more your thing. There are several similarities between the Bronco and this new Bronco Sport, but ultimately they are two different beasts entirely. With that out of the way, let’s get started on a few key areas that you’ll want to know for the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport.

A red 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks is shown towing dirt bikes on a dusty trail.

The Trim Levels

Every trim level for the Bronco Sport is directly from the Bronco’s list of trims. At the base level, the Base trim not only has a clever name, but it’s generally feature-packed. This trim level gives the Bronco Sport its starting MSRP of $27,415. The Big Bend is the following trim level that focuses on driver convenience in a few ways. Our favorite features that this trim brings with it are the cloth seats made with a far easier to clean material, and the floor of the cargo bay is designed with durable rubber to prevent scratches and dents.

Have a particular taste in music and can’t stand your local radio stations? The Big Bend comes with an included SiriusXM Radio subscription with over one hundred radio stations, each accessible anywhere in the country. One last feature that the Big Bend has over the base model is an integrated Push Button start, which ditches those old sets of keys that you’d turn to start the vehicle. In its place, a keyfob that allows you to start the vehicle at the push of a button.

Before we move on, there are two more trim levels to discuss. Firstly, the Outer Banks is the fashion statement of the Bronco Sport; every vehicle needs one. The 18-inch wheels are complemented by distinctive exterior badging. To the benefit of the vehicle occupants, the Outerbanks swaps out the cloth seats for leather ones, which are a far more comfortable option. Lastly, this brings us to the final trim level, the Badlands. We know that we previously called the Bronco Sport a “street-focused” vehicle, but the Badlands trim begs to differ.

Every trim level supports G.O.A.T. modes. This stands for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain, and these modes can be switched between when needed. The Bronco Sport Badlands comes with seven modes right out of the gate. Any trim beside the Badlands and Outer Banks will have five G.O.A.T. modes. The five modes include Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal. As you can see, these modes are conveniently labeled. This way, you can quickly switch between them as needed. The two extra modes in the Badlands include Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl, which are perfect for off-road traversal, as you’d expect. However, that’s not all because the Badlands also includes a more capable twin-clutch 4×4 system that can shift power laterally between the rear wheels.

Everyday Power

Like its sibling, the Bronco, the Bronco Sport utilizes EcoBoost turbocharged engines to get its power. Whereas the regular Bronco uses an I-4 and a V6, the Bronco Sport uses an I-3 and an I-4. Both of these engines come paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which may upset some manual enthusiasts. Luckily for that crowd, the I-4 inside of the full-size Bronco can come with a 7-speed manual transmission. However, for Bronco Sport buyers, the 8-speed automatic is an ideal match, and the result is a smooth ride that feels punchier to drive.

Starting with the base engine, the Bronco Sport comes standard with a turbocharged 1.5L I-3, bringing 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque to the table. For everyday travel and even the occasional adventure, you won’t find issues with this I-3, and you’ll also have a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. The chances are that you’re not looking for a dedicated towing vehicle, but you can at least get a bit of towing power out of this engine. Our main takeaway from the Bronco Sport’s I-3 engine is that it does a fantastic job with fuel efficiency. More specifically, the I-3’s EPA-estimated ratings are 25 MPG city and 28 MPG highway, which is better than anything else the Bronco can offer, Sport or not.

If you want a Bronco Sport that performs closer to the full-size Bronco, then the available turbocharged 2.0L I-4 is the answer. With this engine, the Bronco Sport will instead produce 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. These specs are far more comparable to an engine such as the turbocharged 2.3L I-4 that comes with the larger Bronco. That engine has 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque on 87 octane, so it’s not too different–especially when you consider that its powering a much larger vehicle.

The two powertrains for the Bronco Sport are rather comparable in regards to towing performance. With a maximum towing capacity of 2,200 lbs, this upgraded powertrain won’t make a world of difference in this respect. You may be wondering, though, does the substantial increase in horsepower and torque result in a less fuel-efficient ride? Well, yes and no. Yes, this powertrain configuration is less fuel-efficient than the base level, but it isn’t as drastic of a decrease as you may expect. This powertrain will still give you EPA-estimated ratings of 21 MPG city and 26 MPG highway.

A man is shown driving a 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks.

The Start of A Legend?

At first, we were intrigued by the announcement of an all-new vehicle to complement the return of the legendary Bronco. Now that we’ve had the chance to look at it, it solidifies that we can wholeheartedly recommend the Bronco Sport to just about anyone. Crossover SUVs are popular as is, and by sharing its namesake with the venerable Bronco, it’s been on the list of many potential shoppers.

Unlike the Bronco, the Bronco Sport is easier to recommend to the average driver, and that’s because of its phenomenal performance for everyday travel. The Bronco, by comparison, is a clear winner for a dedicated group of drivers. For the crossover fan, the occasional off-roader, the family driver, or the commuter, the Bronco Sport fills in the blanks in the places where the Bronco may fall flat for some. This year marks the first year of the Bronco Sport, but we feel as if this is the start of something legendary, so you won’t want to miss this.