Road Test: 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

The Bronco has proven to be quite popular as I seem to see one at every turn these days.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

It is offered in two versions, a larger SUV-style Bronco, and a smaller Bronco Sport, which I recently tested for the first time.

And the tester was quite the head turner, as it was the Heritage version in a baby blue, with white hub caps and trims. Ford says the look is inspired by the original 1966 Bronco models, and it was definitely a conversation starter.

The Bronco Sport has a starting price of $38,194, while ours totalled $48,104 after the options were added.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

The extras on our tester included $600 for the Robin’s Egg Blue paint, Ford co-pilot assist ($1,250), floor liners ($200), Cargo mat ($165), front and rear splash guards ($300) and a cargo management system ($225). There was also the $1,295 Heritage Convenience Package that adds a power moonroof, rear parking sensors, wireless charging for devices, universal garage door opener and an 8-way power driver’s seat.

Powertrain: The all-wheel drive Bronco Sport felt a little underpowered to me. It has a 1.5-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine producing 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Even when in Sport mode and pushed hard to get past some slower traffic on the highway, I felt underwhelmed by the throttle response.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

I also missed the fuel economy mark on the Bronco Sport by a wide margin, with an observed fuel economy of 11.8 litres per 100 kilometres well off the estimate of 8.9 L/100 km.

Exterior: It was hard to miss the Bronco Sport tester in the parking lots with that blue colour – kind of made me think of my youth cheering for the Montreal Expos.

Contrasting the blue are a very basic set of white rims, roof, accent line and front grille with the word Bronco in red.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

I really like the headlight styling on the Bronco Sport, where a horizontal line of light blends right into the centre grille and draws the eye to the nameplate.

The whole body of the Bronco Sport is on the boxy side, including a very flat back end.

The rear hatch can either opened fully, or at the press of a button, you can opt to open only the glass portion to access the cargo area.

Interior: The cabin is a little snug, especially in the back, and the first thing that stands out is the pattern in the seats. In fully transparency, it’s not my personal favourite.

I would have preferred a straight black fabric.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

Despite the Heritage moniker, the Bronco Sport’s interior is complete with all the modern amenities buyers will expect.

That includes wireless charging, an 8-inch central touchscreen, heated front seats, push-button start, and a clean overall layout. Controls are neatly divided into two sections – with the radio controls under the screen, and the ventilation system below a little tray.

In the centre console, you have a rotary selector for the transmission.

The optional cargo management system adds a tray that can divide the cargo area in two, with the added bonus of keeping items out of view below the tray. And you can easily access the area above the tray with the window option.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

The cargo area is not too generous though, as it was quickly gobbled up by gear for my son’s baseball game.

Infotainment: Powered by the Ford Sync 3 system, the infotainment setup on the Bronco Sport is good, featuring clear menus that are easy to navigate. The touchscreen response is good, and it comes with satellite radio, although with only six speakers, the sound quality isn’t as good as I had hoped for.

It is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

Drive: While I was a little underwhelmed by the power of the Bronco Sport when making a passing move, it did deliver an overall acceptable performance as an everyday driver. If you are looking for a bit more performance, there’s a 2.0L Turbo on the Bronco Sport, depending on the trim you choose.

Unlike the bigger Bronco, the Sport is more at home in city streets with its Escape roots, so the ride is pretty composed and comfortable, but not as much as some other models in this category that are less concerned with off-road capability. It does have some off-road ability and can be equipped to tow up to 2,200 pounds.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage

During my time behind the wheel, I heard a few more rattles than I would have expected in a new vehicle, although they seemed to come and go at times, so it was hard to tell where it was coming from.

Conclusion: The Bronco Sport has a nice overall look, and I especially liked the Heritage look.

The model has a few shortcomings – such as space for rear occupants and limited cargo space.

If you are looking for a crossover that is a good compromise between a good city driver but that can still hold its own off-road, the Bronco Sport is worthy of your consideration. And you will definitely stand out among the ever-growing number of crossovers if you opt for one of the Heritage models.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage
Price as tested: $48,104.00
Freight: $2,095.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder EcoBoost/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 181 horsepower/ 190 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (61 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 8.9 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.8 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-50, Subaru Outback, Volkswagen Tiguan
Website: Ford Canada

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