You can’t think “sport utility vehicle” without thinking “Ford Bronco.” It’s been a mainstay in the consumer-friendly SUV world long before SUVs started outpacing cars in the US auto market. Today, SUVs and trucks make up about 80% of all new vehicles sold here in the US, while in 2010, this number was barely over 50%. We’re not saying the additional growth in sales is because Ford rebooted the Bronco a few years ago, but also… have you met the new Ford Bronco? It’s the perfect blend of power, performance, and utility that competitors can’t keep up with. When it comes to the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport vs 2022 Jeep Renegade, just look at the Bronco’s history and how the 2022 Sport version takes its own page in the book. You’ll soon see why the Bronco Sport is, as they say, “Built Ford Tough.”
The Strength of the Past
Since 1896, Ford has been redefining transportation. Bronco was the name given to Ford’s first SUV built for the 1966 model year. The original Ford Bronco was designed as a compact off-roader, built on a unique chassis. It’s no surprise that this pioneering conception came from the brain of the man who also created the Mustang, Paul G. Axelrad. The original Bronco came in a two-door wagon, half-cab pickup, or open-body roadster body style. There were few amenities; this was a utility vehicle, but depending on what type of work you were using it for, you could add optional tools like a snowplow and posthole digger.
Despite its serviceability as a work truck, as soon as it was introduced, race car builder Bill Stroppe used the Bronco in long-distance off-roading competitions like the Baja 500 and what’s now known as the Baja 1000. So the Ford Bronco had both power and performance from year one. The first three years of the Bronco saw three different motor changes, initially from a 170-cubic-inch inline-6 with 105 hp in August 1965 to a 289-cubic-inch V8 with 200 horses the following March. For the 1969 model year, the jump was to a 302-cubic-inch V8 with 289 hp. 1973 was the first year you could get an automatic transmission, and the new standard was a 200-cubic-inch inline-6, but the larger V8 remained an option for a few more years.
A decade after its creation, the Ford Bronco was expanded to a full-size SUV based on the short version of the F-series pickup. While other vehicles were minimized in the mid-70s, the Bronco added a foot in wheelbase, which added 28 additional inches in length, 11 inches in width, and four inches in height. This supersized SUV was so popular the waitlist was several months long. To stay relevant to all kinds of buyers, 1982 introduced the separate Ford Bronco II, a compact SUV based on the shortened Ranger pickup base. Its smaller size was a throwback to the original Bronco.
While the Bronco grew in size and popularity, the idea of the Bronco Sport was always around. For 1967, Ford introduced a Sport option package to the Bronco wagon. This package had chrome accents on the exterior trim, wheel covers, and red Ford lettering on the grille. A few years later, in 1970, The Bronco Sport became its own freestanding model and not just an option package. The mid-90s saw an XLT Sport trim with additional colors, including red, as a nod back to that original 1967 option package.
Enjoying the Present
All that history is well and good, but what does that mean for the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport, and how does it compare to the Jeep Renegade? First, it’s important to note that the Ford Bronco, and now the Ford Bronco Sport, have always been exclusively 4×4. These are vehicles with off-roading built into their DNA. Yes, you may have to drop the kids off at school or get groceries, but they’re made for the big haul.
When it comes to big hauls, size definitely matters. While the Bronco Sport counts as a compact crossover SUV, it has nearly 15 more total cubic feet of storage space than Jeep’s smallest offering, the Renegade, which is 65.2 cu.ft. vs. 50.8 cu.ft., respectively. Even with passengers in the rear seats, you’ll find 32.5 cubic feet of storage space in the Bronco Sport, compared to just 18.5 in the Renegade. Those 15 extra cubic feet are enough storage space for five medium-sized suitcases.
Where does that extra space come from? The Bronco Sport is 172.7 inches long, while the Renegade has 166.6 inches of length. However, the wheelbase on the Bronco Sport is only 92 inches, while the Renegade is 101.2 inches. Normally, a longer wheelbase translates to more cabin space, but, as we’ve already seen with the cargo area, it doesn’t hold in this case as the total length of the Bronco Sport is greater. Those extra six inches of length don’t equate to more cargo room; they also translate to a bit more space for people in the Bronco Sport. Granted, there’s not a massive difference in those dimensions between the two vehicles, but the extra inches here and there contribute to the overall comfort of the Bronco Sport.
We’ve seen how the first few years of the original Bronco had multiple engine changes until they decided on the perfect blend of power and performance. For 2022, the Bronco Sport has a standard 1.5-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine with 181 hp. If you go for the top-of-the-line Badlands model, you’ll get an upgraded 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder with 250 hp. Even on the highest Limited model, the standard 2022 Jeep Renegade engine is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder with 177 hp. EPA-estimated gas mileage is similar to the 4×4 Renegade, but, again, the Bronco Sport has a slight edge with a combined 26 MPG compared to the Jeep’s 25 MPG combined rating. Like the inches here and there in legroom, these small differences can add up over time.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Represents Ford’s Exceptional Past, Present, and Future
The original Bronco was Ford’s first SUV, and the new Bronco Sport builds on all that history and know-how. Despite being a compact crossover, it has plenty of room for hauling everything from lumber to suitcases; you can even transport two mountain bikes standing up in the rear. In addition, the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport has the power to hit the trail with ease, while your passengers in the rear seat ride in comfort. There is a lot of competition on the trail, including the Renegade, but when you need off-roading capabilities plus a passenger-friendly vehicle suited for daily driving, you’ll want a Bronco Sport. It’s backed with all the history and experience the Ford name has to offer with that classically cool name and a retro design that harkens back to the original. The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is an excellent addition to the compact crossover market. It’s got all the comfort and space needed for running errands and all the off-roading chops you need for, well, not running errands. Whatever challenges your daily travels bring you, the Bronco Sport is ready for them, on and off the pavement.