Confusion in the marketplace is a term that is often associated with trademarks. One person has a successful brand name for a product, and then someone else comes along with the same type of product sporting a similar name. This happens with soft drinks, designer clothing, and even audio equipment. The aim of the second person is to confuse the public into buying their products, thinking that they are actually buying the more famous ones, which are often of higher quality. But what happens when a company introduces two products with similar names in the hopes of capturing two distinct market segments like Ford with the 2021 Ford Bronco and 2021 Ford Bronco Sport?
That’s right, these two similarly named vehicles are two different re-imaginings of the great Ford sport utility vehicle. Both SUVs have a great deal in common, but there are some critical differences to keep in mind when you decide to buy one. While the names sound the same, there are some distinct characteristics that make each of these Ford Broncos unique.
The New Bronco Harkens Back to the Roots of This Classic SUV
The decision to bring back the iconic Ford Bronco was one of the biggest automotive stories of the past year. The original Bronco debuted in 1966 with an eye toward off-roading. However, by the end of the Bronco’s fifth generation in 1996, the SUV had lost its course and turned into just another suburban land cruiser. Ford has changed all that with the sixth generation of the model.
Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer, remarked that “Like the original, the all-new Bronco family is engineered to take you to epic places, with capability to deliver confidence on any type of terrain.” In other words, the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport are 4X4 standard. Most other manufacturers produce their SUVs with a standard front-wheel drivetrain and then expect you to pay extra for either an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive system. This is not the case with Ford.
Whether you buy a 2021 Bronco or 2021 Bronco Sport, you will be getting an SUV that really can go anywhere and do anything. A four-wheel drivetrain is ideal for off-roading, providing greater traction and mobility than a two-wheel drive. The fact that it is standard on all models of the Bronco and Bronco Sport means that you do not have to pay extra for this critical off-road feature.
The other feature that is standard to all models is the G.O.A.T. Modes Terrain Management System. This is taken from the nickname of G.O.A.T. given to those first Broncos by Donald Frey, the Ford President at the time. The phrase stands for “goes over any type of terrain,” but it can also mean “greatest of all time” since there is nothing quite like this Terrain Management System. The five G.O.A.T. Modes include sand, slippery (for inclement weather), sport (for highway driving), Eco (to boost fuel economy), and normal. Some models even have two additional modes, mud/ruts and rock crawl, or will replace the Sport mode with Baja. All of this capability is there for you at a simple turn of the Terrain Management System’s knob.
Every model of the 2021 Ford Bronco and Ford Bronco Sport also features a standard H.O.S.S. suspension system. This stands for High-Performance, Off-Road, Stability, Suspension system. This is not some standard suspension system slapped onto an SUV. The H.O.S.S. suspension is designed specifically for all Bronco models to provide the suspension you need when tackling some of the toughest things nature can throw your way when you are off-roading. There are front struts with hydraulic rebound stops to provide better support when off-roading, as well as monotube rear shocks to provide a better response. Whichever Bronco you choose, you will have capabilities like no other midsize SUV on and off the road today.
Different Styling for Two New Broncos
The first thing you may notice when looking at the two different Broncos is that they have very different outer styling. The 2021 Bronco Sport has a more conventional SUV look, like a more rugged version of the classic Ford Bronco. The most prominent feature of the Bronco Sport is its safari-style roof with its pair of roof rack rails. This roof is not for show but is designed to carry tents and other items you will need during your adventure, providing additional space to the Bronco Sport’s roomy trunk.
The 2021 Bronco is an entirely different beast. With its easily removable roof and door panels, the Bronco gives you the ability to run wild in the sun. Don’t worry, though; it can also handle itself well in cold weather. The other thing you are sure to notice beyond its rugged looks is that the Bronco gives you the option of two or four-door models. The four-door Bronco has more room in the rear seat and trunk, while the two-door model has an overall tighter wheelbase.
Both the Bronco and Bronco Sport have a front grille that proudly displays the Bronco name in bold, block letters. However, the Bronco adds a boxier grille with circular headlights, while the Bronco Sport has a more traditional rectangular grille with oval headlights. Still, each model has the aggressive stance that you’d expect from an off-road warrior.
Two Powertrains to Choose from With Each Model
The other thing that sets the Ford Bronco Sport apart from the Bronco is the powertrains, which are smaller in the Bronco Sport. The standard engine on the Bronco Sport is a 1.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I-3. Don’t let the fact that this engine has only three cylinders scare you. It is incredibly powerful, with 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. The larger engine option is a 2.0-liter EcoBoost Turbocharged I-4 that can produce 250 horsepower and generate 278 lb-ft of torque. All 2021 Ford Bronco Sport models are equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Bronco Sport is also very fuel-efficient. When equipped with the 1.5-liter I-3 engine, the Bronco Sport can get 25 miles per gallon in city driving and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The larger 2.0-liter I-4 engine also delivers a solid fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. This is very surprising for a vehicle like the Bronco Sport that is designed with off-roading in mind and a 4X4 drivetrain.
The 2021 Bronco features a pair of larger engines when compared to the Bronco Sport. The base engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I-4. This is paired with your choice of a 7-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic transmission. It produces 270 horsepower and generates a best-in-class 310 lb-ft of torque. The optional engine is a 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 gas engine with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. Just like the other engine, it provides a class-leading 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. These engines are so powerful that the Bronco is rated to be able to tow up to 3500 pounds.
Plenty of Trims to Choose From and a Price That Can’t Be Beat
Ford has made the Bronco and Bronco Sport not just rugged, dependable, and fun to drive but affordable as well. Whether you choose a Bronco or Bronco Sport, you will have plenty of trims to choose from, each with its own unique features. The 2021 Bronco has a base MSRP of $28,500 and comes in the Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, and Wildtrak trims, as well as the First Edition, a special limited edition just for 2021. The 2021 Bronco Sport has a base MSRP of $26,820 and offers the Base, Big Bend, Outer Banks, and Badlands trims, and also has a First Edition just for 2021.
While others may have thought that having two new SUVs with very similar names would create confusion in the marketplace, Ford has shown that you can build a brand with the name Bronco. There is nothing to be confused about with either model, as you will get a G.O.A.T. that can go anywhere and do anything at an amazing price. The 2021 Ford Bronco and the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport are both shaping up as a force to be reckoned with.