If you stop by your local Ford dealer, you’re sure to spot the new 2024 Ford Bronco Sport sitting on the lot. It’s a slightly smaller version of the regular Ford Bronco, but it comes with plenty of capability and a sportier look. It should not be confused with being a trim of the Bronco, either; it has its own personality and design.
The Ford Bronco Sport is a peppy model with up to 245 hp, and it can dominate off the road as much as on it. The Bronco Sport is only in its fourth year, meaning those who buy it will have a novel vehicle on their hands; there is no doubt that within a few years, those who bought the early models will be able to say they were ahead of the trend.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Bronco Sport has nothing to do with its considerable performance, though. Today, we want to talk about how the Bronco Sport has clear allusions to former Ford vehicles and yesteryear’s muscle cars—and we don’t mean ones from the last decade, either. Some of the Bronco Sport’s exterior designs harken back to the more muscular Ford vehicles of the 1960s and early 1970s, just before the fuel crisis changed the way automobiles were structured.
While a far more capable—and especially far more fuel efficient—option than those historical models, the Bronco Sport clearly wants to remind consumers of what many consider to be the golden age of driving.
What’s the Attraction to 1960s Throwbacks?
A number of recent vehicles have bragged of offering a style that reflects the past. Some, like the Chevy Camaro, just rely on the name alone to do it, while others, like the Nissan Z, bring back an older look. Yet, either way, it’s a curious choice. What makes the cars of the 1960s so remarkable? Why would manufacturers use this as part of their marketing?
There are a few factors. One, older drivers tend to have more disposable income, and they are likely to be attracted to cars that reflect their youth even if said cars cost a bit more. (This is not always the case for the Bronco Sport, as it is very affordable for its class.) Nostalgia can have a powerful allure.
Another factor is that the 1960s marked a point when cars became more powerful and fast, and owning one thus went from practicality to enormous fun; it suddenly didn’t take much time to go from zero to sixty. The fun hasn’t stopped since then, of course, but in the mind’s eye, cars from the 1960s continue to speak to that sense of fun for many generations. That may well fade as Gen Z takes over more of the car market, but for now, models that reflect the designs of the ’60s will come with a layer of cool that’s hard to compete with.
Lastly, fuel efficiency did not stand as a major concern in the 1960s, so the structure of vehicles did not have to adapt to as many standards and consumer expectations. That meant looking cool was the only real rule, hence the muscle car craze. Who doesn’t want to go back to a time when gas prices were hardly a worry? As technology has advanced, manufacturers are able to go back to some of those classic designs without any of the pitfalls that originally came with them.
The Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Trim
Ford is definitely playing into the Bronco Sport‘s classic look. While all trims of the Bronco Sport have historical elements, the Heritage trim really indulges in it. The Heritage trim has a more muscular build to it, but that muscular build is both carefully and intuitively crafted, so it doesn’t come with added fuel costs. Drivers of the Heritage are afforded the sense of classic style without the “classic” damage at the pump; the Bronco Sport actually comes with a very competitive fuel economy of 23 MPG combined or 26 MPG combined, depending on the engine.
This trim comes with unique side decals reminiscent of those from the ’60s, particularly owing to the font used. The Heritage’s white roof is likewise a throwback and adds to the trim’s sense of timeliness. The various colors—like Robin Egg Blue or Cactus Grey—you can choose for the exterior reflect the paint choices of classic boulevard cruisers. Altogether, these touches add to the Ford Bronco Heritage, featuring exterior highlights that harken back to the ’60s without losing modern fuel efficiency and technology. (No one was attaching their iPhone to their touchscreen in 1969.)
There is, however, one extra element that really stands out beyond these fun touches: the wheels. The tires on this trim are designed to not just look like ones from the 1960s but to specifically remind onlookers of the Ford Bronco from that era. And in addition to looking great, these wheels are also high quality. Once more, the Heritage trim merges the looks of the past with the successes of the present.
Then there’s the front grille, which is a bit of an outlier as it expands our focus. The Heritage’s front grille naturally has a throwback look, but here’s where it gets interesting: every trim of the Ford Bronco has that look in its front. No matter what trim you opt for, you’re going to have a front that’s reminiscent of a 1969 Bronco, albeit modern and sleek.
Old School Grille & Headlights
Perfectly circular headlights that look like wide-open eyes. A narrow front grille. The brand name is proudly stamped in bold lettering. Now, are these descriptions of the 1969 Ford Bronco or the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport?
If you’ve guessed correctly—and you probably have by this point—these descriptors match both vehicles. By no means are the grilles exact replicas; for one, the headlights on the Bronco Sport are more advanced and work better in fog, but they have similar vibes, which is exactly Ford’s goal. When pulling up to the spot, the Bronco Sport’s grille and headlights will capture plenty of attention.
You are surely better off with the modern Ford Bronco Sport, but it has a mission similar to the original Bronco. In fact, the original Bronco recently featured in a Ford commercial with actress Sydney Sweeney, who had refurbished one she personally owned, further raising interest in the classic car and no doubt having consumers wonder about modern alternatives. Lucky for them, there’s the Bronco Sport and its Heritage trim, right?
If you were to travel back in time and pick up the brochure for a classic Bronco, you’d notice that the classic Broncos of the ’60s have selling points quite like the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport. Both brag about the ability to tackle some rougher terrain, whether that’s for work or for outbacking with the family… Both have towing ability in addition to cargo space… Perhaps most importantly, both promise to expand what the modern American family can do on and off the road.
Beyond just aesthetics, there’s a clear continuity between the classic Bronco and the Bronco Sport. While the classic didn’t have infotainment abilities or Ford’s advanced safety systems, it did set new standards for what vehicles can do and allowed drivers to head off the beaten path. It’s clear that Ford hopes the 2024 Bronco Sport will do the same.