In a comparison of the 2021 Ford Bronco vs 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, three models are parked in front of a sunset behind mountains.

Same Breed, Different SUVs: The 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport

Try to think back to a time where a Bronco was the hot new vehicle at the dealership. Having trouble? That may be because it’s been over two decades since its heyday. Have no fear, enthusiasts, while we may be comparing and contrasting the 2021 Ford Bronco vs 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, it does not mean that we aren’t excited for this historic model to be gracing us yet again. Ford has brought back what was once a must-have companion in the 1960s, shattering expectations in the process.


With its combination of off-road capability and functionality, Ford is returning to its roots to showcase the attributes that allowed the Bronco to originally rise to fame. With higher ground clearance on top of better approach, break-over, and departure angles, the Bronco is able to rock and roll over deeper crags and geography than its competitors.

Do you want a Back to the Future meets ultra-modern vibe in your car? Aesthetically, the 2021 Bronco has a retro quality to it. At the same time, however, the design is certainly modernized as well. It’s difficult to pin down why this is, but here is an attempt; the vehicle is clearly designed with keeping the vehicle’s predecessors in mind. However, it also has clearly been updated and modernized by Ford’s design team to catch the attention of new drivers.

A dark blue 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is parked in the sand in front of the ocean and cliffs.

History of the Ford Bronco

Brace yourself for an incredible tale of American craftsmanship and ingenuity. Get ready for the story of how America’s most popular car, the SUV, was born. Over half a century ago, in 1964, the Ford Mustang came into being. The car, on its own, inspired the muscle car movement to sweep the nation. Donald Frey was the concept creator for the vehicle, and he had bigger dreams of creating a multi-purpose vehicle to join his creation.

“SUV” was not a term yet, but Donald wanted to craft a car that could handle sports and utilities. Ford had this concept at the forefront of the design process during the creation of the Bronco. It was a car with a purpose, rather than a car with a purpose assigned to it afterward.

At the time of its creation, the Ford Bronco was more popular than the Jeep Wrangler, its eternal competitor. One reason for the public opinion leaning towards the Ford Bronco was the hardtop provided by Ford, as it was able to protect drivers and passengers from the elements while the Wrangler did not. Its capabilities off-road were highly valued as well, considering it was during a time where off-road racing was picking up in the United States.

The original 1966 model was produced until 1978 due to the oil crisis in the early 1970s stunting research into a newer model. The new model was a massive overhaul once it was released, but was outdated by the time it came out since it was over a decade old before it hit the lots. What we would consider the iconic Bronco aesthetic was formed in the next generation, though, and throughout the rest of the 20th century, small adjustments to safety features and quality of life adjustments were made to the model.

Buyers eventually shifted their habits towards 4-door SUVs. The shift caused Ford to create the Expedition to compensate. This could be why the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is based on the Ford Escape, while the 2021 Ford Bronco maintains its retro aesthetic.

Overview of the 2021 Ford Bronco

Even in its base package, the 2021 Ford Bronco is well-equipped for off-roading. If you plan to take your Bronco off the beaten path, bash plates are included on the front and undercarriage. The 2021 Bronco will also have two tow hooks on the front and one on the back to pull any lesser vehicles out of a ditch or crag.

On the inside, Ford has unloaded a spattering of quality of life features in the standard package. This includes keyless access with push-button start, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, and remote start. The pre-collision assist attempts to avoid accidents for drivers by sounding alarms when the vehicle is approaching another car that is driving slower than the Bronco. It will even initiate automatic braking to prevent accidents.

The 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport also include Terrain Management System (TMS) with five G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Terrain) modes. This system is an enhanced version of the TMS systems found on other Ford trucks and SUVs. The Bronco system tries to account for eight conditions or driving styles that you encounter on and off the road; normal, eco, sport, slippery, sand, Baja, mud/ruts, rock crawl. The 2021 Bronco Sport does sacrifice in the safety category either. Even the base model incorporates many valuable security features, such as trailer sway control, headlamp LEDs, and roll stability control.

An orange 2021 Ford Bronco two-door is following a blue four-door up a rocky, mountain trail.

How the 2021 Ford Bronco and 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Differ

While we are comparing the 2021 Ford Bronco vs 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, they are truly both great off-roading vehicles. While the 2021 Ford Bronco will go on sale at the beginning of 2021, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport will go on sale in late 2020. Style is one of the biggest factors when discussing the differences between the two versions. The 2021 Ford Bronco maintains its retro style with its one-piece grill and round headlight styling. That is unmistakably Bronco.

As far as the frames go, the 2-door and 4-door Broncos will be body-on-frame SUVs. This means that they are built very similarly to a pickup truck, which translates to better off-road and towing capabilities than the typical modern crossover SUV. The base engine on the Bronco will be a 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. There will also be a 2.7L turbocharged V-6, which is good for 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque.

The base transmission on the Bronco will be a 7-speed manual transmission. No, you didn’t read that wrong – a stick shift will be in the Bronco. Furthermore, the seventh speed will be a dedicated crawl gear. This will only be available on the 4-cylinder engine, however. The V6 will be automatic, while the 4-cylinder engine will have automatic as an option.

The Bronco Sport is based on the Ford Escape, so it won’t be as rugged as the Bronco, but it will still be able to hold its own while off-roading. The base engine is a 181 hp, 1.5L 3-cylinder. This can be upgraded to a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 245 hp. An 8-speed automatic transmission is the only option for the vehicle, but an advanced twin-clutch four-wheel drive system is available.


Ford’s decision to reintroduce the Bronco is something that is sure to excite people of all demographics. The vehicle is one of America’s pride and joys and spurred the off-roading movement from its earliest years to now. For many, the Bronco is responsible for a lot of memories and was the industry standard SUV for decades. It was the first of its kind, and it still is able to maintain relevance. While there are differences to note when comparing the 2021 Ford Bronco vs 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, both versions should be welcomed back with open arms for what they are.