Two people are shown drinking beverages near a blue 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend.

The 2023 Bronco Sport Big Bend Is the Perfect Ride for Fun and Adventure

I was excited when I heard the first rumors about the Ford Bronco making a return; I was thrilled to learn that it would be an incredible off-road machine, and then I was absolutely ecstatic to find out that a smaller Bronco Sport model was joining it. Since its release a couple of years ago, the Ford Bronco Sport has proven itself to be one of the most joyful vehicles on the road. This is the quintessential adventure vehicle, facilitating every adventurous spirit while providing a driving experience that’s simply fun.

In fact, I’d say those two words perfectly encapsulate what the Bronco Sport stands for: simply fun. Ford has delivered something special with this vehicle, and they offer numerous trim levels, which is great but can also make it difficult to get a good sense of what each has to offer. With fun and adventure in mind, I thought it would be enjoyable to take a look at the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend model to see what it offers and how well it delivers on this concept. You’ll see that the Big Bend brings fun and adventure to the road—and off it—while providing a driving experience that’s relaxing and sophisticated.

Bold Power and Impressive Performance

Some folks will try to tell you that powerful engines are only important in specialty vehicles like heavy-duty trucks or sports cars, but I’m one to extol the virtues of a great engine in any kind of ride. The engine is at the heart of your overall driving experience; I don’t care how good the infotainment system is, how large the screens are inside, or how comfortable the seats might be—if the engine is weak, so is the ride. Ford gets this, and the Bronco Sport Big Bend reflects that beautifully.

The 2023 Bronco Sport Big Bend features a 1.5L EcoBoost engine that delivers 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This comes with Electronic Traction Control for excellent ride quality, plus you get 17-inch wheels with 18-inch wheels available if you want something bigger. It’s a great engine that makes the Bronco Sport fun to drive, plus it gets an estimated 25 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway of fuel economy. Fuel efficiency might not seem like a fun spec, but few things are less fun than stopping for gas when you’re having an adventure.

Two people are shown unloading gear off of a blue 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend.

Remarkable Off-Road Capability

Speaking of adventure, the 2023 Bronco Sport is born for going off-road, and the Big Bend model is a great example of just how well it does that. For starters, you get four-wheel drive standard with the Bronco Sport, so no matter what else you choose, you’ll have a crossover that can handle dirt roads and rugged trails. All-season tires are standard, but you can get Continental All-Terrain tires for better grip when you leave the road behind.

Arguably, the most important part of the Big Bend’s off-road qualifications is the Terrain Management System that comes with five Goes Over Any Type of Terrain (GOAT) Modes. These five Modes include Sand, Slippery, Sport, Eco, and Normal. This lets you swap between different settings with the turn of a dial and adjust the Bronco Sport’s handling and traction for different types of conditions and environments. No matter what you encounter on the trail, the Bronco Sport Big Bend can handle it and help ensure you get back home safely from any outdoor journey.

A Rugged Exterior Built for Adventure

There are two things I like about the exterior of the Big Bend: it looks fantastic, and it’s remarkably functional. You have numerous exterior colors to choose from with the Big Bend model, along with a standard Carbonized Gray front grille with white Bronco lettering for a sleek overall look. There’s a manual rear liftgate that features a flip-up window so you can easily open it to grab or stow something without opening the entire gate. The safari-style roof gives you plenty of space inside, even for two bikes standing up, while a roof-rack structure can support up to 150 lbs of extra cargo. Two adjustable floodlights on the rear liftgate make it easy to see what you’re doing after dark, while little details like a conveniently placed bottle opener integrated into the rear hatch are perfect for getting the most from every moment with your Big Bend.

A Luxurious and Innovative Interior

Some brands seem to think that going off-road means leaving all traces of comfort behind (coughJeepcough), but that doesn’t have to be the case. The Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend is the perfect reminder that you can leave civilization in the rearview without leaving the niceties of the modern world with it. For starters, you get electronic automatic temperature control along with Intelligent Access with Push-Button Start. You’ll find unique cloth seating that’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to clean, with a six-way adjustable driver’s seat—heated seats and an eight-way power driver’s seat are both available.

The Big Bend comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment display with SYNC 3 software, making it easy to use and intuitive. You get a six-speaker sound system in the Big Bend with support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with numerous USB ports and a MOLLE Straps system that makes it easy to stash a water bottle, flashlight, and other outdoor essentials. If you want to take things even further, then some gorgeous extras like a power moonroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a wireless charging pad for compatible devices are available. All this comes together to ensure drivers look forward to their time behind the wheel.

The brown and black rear space interior of a 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend is shown.

Advanced Safety On (and Off) the Road

Having fun and going on an adventure doesn’t have to mean living dangerously and rolling the dice on whether you get home safely at the end of the day. The 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend comes with a fantastic selection of standard safety features designed to ensure you end your journey with a smile, not with a tragedy. For starters, there’s a Pre-Collision Assist system with Automatic Emergency Braking designed to help drivers detect and avoid crashes, along with a Lane-Keeping System to ensure folks don’t wander and veer from their lane.

A Blind Spot Information System is standard in the Big Bend, which warns drivers when someone is lurking in the blind spot, along with a Cross-Traffic Alert that detects approaching vehicles while the Big Bend is in reverse. Cruise Control is standard, with Adaptive Cruise Control available that includes Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering, and Speed Sign Recognition functionality to make long road trips (and daily commutes) much easier. Rear Parking Sensors are also available to make it easier to maneuver and safely back up, which is perfect for parking lots and tight spots on trails alike.

A Big Bend for Life’s Twists and Turns

I’m not going to say that the Big Bend is the ultimate expression of the Bronco Sport’s potential because other trims, like the Badlands and Heritage Limited, certainly bring more with them at a higher price. That being said, the Big Bend is a fantastic option that elevates the starting Bronco Sport experience without increasing the cost of this beauty by too much.

For me, any money saved on my vehicle is money I can put toward other supplies or costs for my next adventure, which is exactly what I’m looking for. Ford has nailed it with this model, and you have a crossover that rides beautifully on city streets and the highway while giving you impeccable capability out on the trail. There’s a reason it’s been so hard to track one of these down since it was released and why so many people snatch them up quickly when they find one.