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A Robin Egg's Blue 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition and a yellow Heritage Limited Edition are shown parked in a field.

Homage to a Classic: The Ford Bronco & Bronco Sport Heritage Editions

If you’re looking to buy a 2023 Ford Bronco or 2023 Ford Bronco Sport, you’ll find some special editions sprinkled among the usual trim levels. Instead of a Base or Outer Banks model, you can get a Heritage Edition or Heritage Limited Edition. What are these new editions, and what makes them so special? Let’s dig in and find out how these unique trims celebrate Ford’s past and what they have to offer to modern drivers looking to buy a Bronco or Bronco Sport today.

Ford Bronco History

Since these special editions are paying homage to the Bronco’s past, let’s start by taking a quick look at the vehicle’s history. The original Ford Bronco made its debut back in 1965. Its inspiration came from Ford’s efforts in making vehicles for soldiers during World War II. Ford was one of the three companies that worked together to develop the original Jeep during wartime. After the troops came home and Eisenhower established the US Interstate system, Ford noticed a market for a more comfortable vehicle than a utilitarian Jeep but one that could still handle rough outdoor excursions.

When the Bronco first came out, it was available with three different body options: the Wagon, with two doors, a tailgate in the rear, a full top, and seating for up to five; the Sports Utility, with a short top, bench seating for two or three, and a pickup bed for carrying bulkier cargo; and the Roadster, an open-air model where doors and a roof were optional add-ons. Beyond what came standard on these models, there were plenty of factory-made accessories for drivers to choose from, most of which were geared toward off-roading and outdoor recreation, like tow hooks and two-way radios for keeping in touch off the grid. Practical features like snowplows and a front-mounted winch were also available.

The Bronco made a name for itself in the outdoor off-road racing scene. In fact, racer Bill Stroppe had access to a Bronco before it was even available to the public so that he could prepare it for competition. The preparation paid off when the Bronco was named the overall winner of the 1967 Riverside Four-Wheel Drive Grand Prix. Broncos went on to claim victory at several different races throughout the ’60s and ’70s, from the Mint 400 to the Mexican 1000.

A red 2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Edition is shown parked in the desert.

Few changes were made during the Bronco’s early years on the market. Then, in 1973, the vehicle got several modern upgrades, gaining power steering, automatic transmission, and a new standard engine. The second generation Bronco came along in 1978, now based on the popular F-Series platform. This gave it a longer and wider body, providing drivers and passengers with a smoother and more comfortable ride. It also had an improved interior, now featuring an AM/FM radio and air conditioning. During the ’80s, a more compact version of the Bronco—known as the Bronco II—was produced, although it was discontinued in 1990 as the Ford Explorer took its place.

The Bronco itself was discontinued in 1996. As trends were changing and drivers’ tastes were shifting away from the two-door SUV, Ford decided to halt production of the Bronco and move its focus to the four-door Expedition. Bronco fans didn’t get any new models for over a decade, but the end of the model turned out to be an impermanent situation. For the 2021 model year, the Ford Bronco made a comeback, along with the more compact Ford Bronco Sport. Appealing to long-time fans, the Bronco featured plenty of throwback features, including a manual transmission option and a familiar-looking square body style. The Heritage Edition and Heritage Limited Edition take this old-school nostalgia even further, giving fans a way to pay tribute to the original Bronco.

Bronco Heritage Edition

The Heritage Edition is available on both two-door and four-door Broncos, so you don’t have to let your preferred body style keep you from having fun with this retro styling. The most prominent thing about the Heritage Edition is probably its two-tone paint, with a white roof and other white accents providing contrast with the five available color options, including throwback hues like Robin’s Egg Blue and Yellowstone Metallic. Step inside and you’ll find stylish plaid cloth seats as well as a bright white instrument panel and exclusive badging.

On the practical side, the Bronco Heritage Edition comes standard with Ford’s Sasquatch Package, which includes a number of features designed for off-roading. These include electronic-locking front and rear axles, Bilstein dampers and fender flares, and large 35-inch tires that can grip just about any terrain. For the powertrain, you’ll get a 2.3L EcoBoost engine, with the option to upgrade to the more powerful 2.7L V6, and a seven-speed manual transmission, with the option to upgrade to a ten-speed automatic.

Bronco Heritage Limited Edition

The 330 hp V6 engine and ten-speed automatic transmission are standard on the higher-tier Bronco Heritage Limited Edition. The seating in this trim is leather/vinyl instead of cloth, but it still has that distinctive plaid design. Ford’s High Package comes standard, too, so you’ll get a large 12-inch touchscreen, 360-degree camera, and additional sound deadening for a nice, quiet ride.

Bronco Sport Heritage Edition

The Bronco Sport may be further removed from the original Bronco than its larger counterpart, but it still gets in on the fun with a Heritage Edition of its own. The iconic styling, with retro color options and white accents, is similar to the Heritage Edition of the Bronco, with one difference being that the Bronco Sport Heritage Edition wears the word “BRONCO” across the front in bright red letters where the Bronco Heritage Edition says “FORD” instead. You’ll still get the unique plaid seating inside, in addition to a special touch unique to the Bronco Sport: a micro suede armrest/center console with bold red contrast stitching that’s a classy navy blue, pairing nicely with the coloring of the seats.

A Robin Egg's Blue 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition is shown parked in a field.

Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition

Like its Bronco counterpart, the Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition is a step up from the Bronco Sport Heritage Edition. Unlike the Bronco Sport Heritage Edition, this Heritage Limited Edition model comes standard with front tow hooks, metal bash plates to protect the vehicle’s underbody, and an off-road-tuned suspension. It also comes standard with more modern technology, like adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and speed sign recognition, and the seating is leather-trimmed and vinyl instead of cloth.

Craving These Special Edition Trims

Style is the biggest difference between the Heritage or Heritage Limited editions and other trims offered on the Bronco and Bronco Sport. Aesthetic taste is pretty subjective, so you really have to decide for yourself whether these special editions are right for you. Some people just want a vehicle that blends in with others on the road, while others prefer to stand out with a unique look. If you like to make a bold statement with your vehicle, then the retro design of one of these Broncos is likely right up your alley.

Ford enthusiasts and long-time fans of the automaker will probably also be drawn to the look of the Heritage and Heritage Limited. Whether you fondly remember the look of vintage cars or just appreciate the era of the original Bronco, these new trims are a great way to show off your love of classic Ford. If you love the off-road capabilities of the Bronco and Bronco Sport but aren’t particularly drawn to white accents and plaid interiors, there are plenty of other trims to choose from that will nevertheless give you the features you desire for your next adventure—and all in a more modern-looking package.