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Introduction:

To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks 4X4

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Gasoline
70
 overall score
Category Ranking: 29

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $32,160
Price as Tested: $36,045

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 16
EPA City mpg25
EPA Highway mpg28
EPA Combined mpg26

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Driver Monitoring [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

Most small crossover-based SUVs possess none of the rugged, goanywhere DNA they try to project. The compact Ford Bronco Sport is a notable exception, however. The Sport’s capability starts with a reasonably fuel-efficient 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine (181 hp) mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and a standard AWD system. (A gutsier 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder that puts out 245 hp is available.) Towing capacity, at 2,200 pounds maximum, is modest. Depending on the model, the Bronco Sport can be surprisingly capable off road. Our Outer Banks version test vehicle came equipped with goodies that include additional ground clearance, a locking rear differential, and GOAT (go over any terrain) modes designed to make motoring through challenging terrain easier. Other trims are reasonably at home off pavement, but don’t assume you’ll be bashing along any particularly gnarly trails in the Bronco Sport. On the road, the 3-cylinder engine is noisy and a little anemic. Ride quality is on the firm side, and steering and handling feel trucklike. Inside, there’s comfortable seating for 4 and a cargo area that can haul lots of camping gear or even a couple of mountain bikes. The cabin’s design is attractive but doesn’t get the highest marks for fit-andfinish. Zippered front seatback pockets and a rubberized cargo area are nice touches.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Rugged styling inside andout
  • Suspension absorbs bumpswell
  • Spacious interior, with goodheadroom and cargo space
  • Many advanced safetyfeatures are standard

Weak Points

  • Underpowered, noisybase engine
  • Overly firm ride
  • Steering feels vague
  • Cheap interior fit andfinish

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3560.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 172.7 / 74.3 / 70.3
Wheelbase (in): 105.1
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Michelin Primacy A/S
Front and rear tire size: 225/60 R18
Max towing capacity (lbs): 2000
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Auto 8-speed
Drivetrain type: Four wheel
Engine/motor: 1.5L 3-Cyl. EcoBoost
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 6000

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:

8.70

Fuel Efficiency:

4.44

EPA Emissions Score:

7.00

Acceleration:

3.37

Braking:

6.82

Handling:

6.36

Ride Quality:

7.14

Interior Size:

3.73

Easy of Entry and Exit:

7.05

Visibility:

6.62

Interior Noise:

6.41

Cargo Capacity:

2.99
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