In the ever-expanding world of crossovers, Ford’s venture into nostalgia with the Bronco Sport Heritage Limited has certainly turned heads. Launched in 2023 as a tribute to the iconic 1966 original, this limited edition model seeks to blend retro styling with modern functionality. CarBuzz recently took the 2023 Bronco Sport Heritage Limited for a spin, exploring whether Ford’s nostalgia-infused crossover is a compelling choice in a segment brimming with options.
Exterior: Heritage Style That Demands Attention
Ford’s Heritage Edition takes inspiration from the 1966 Bronco, evident in its ’60s-inspired pastel colors and distinctive white wheels. The Heritage Limited, restricted to just 1,966 units for the Bronco Sport’s 2023 model year, boasts a unique charm. The Robin’s Egg Blue variant, coupled with the Oxford white grille, wheels, and roof, creates an eye-catching beach-ready aesthetic. The limited color options contribute to the exclusivity of this homage to the past.
Interior: Retro Styling, Modern Quirks
While the exterior pays homage to the past, the interior introduces a blend of throwback design and modern quirks. The cabin embraces a “rugged” feel with ample hard plastics and wipeable surfaces, maintaining a balance between durability and aesthetics. The throwback technology, however, falls short, with an eight-inch touchscreen featuring last-generation Sync 3 infotainment software. The absence of features like wireless Apple CarPlay and a 360-degree camera may leave tech enthusiasts yearning for more.
Practicality: Cargo Management and Beyond
The Bronco Sport Heritage Limited impresses with practical touches designed for adventure seekers. The cargo area, with up to 32.5 cubic feet of space, features rubberized material for easy cleaning. Ford’s Cargo Management System, available for $195, adds versatility to the cargo space, offering multiple configurations, including a table and trunk divider. The rear seat comes with innovative storage solutions, including pockets for smartphones and additional zippered pockets for larger items.
Performance: A Balance of Off-Road Capability
Built on the Escape platform, the Bronco Sport sets realistic expectations for off-road prowess. Powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine producing 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque, the Bronco Sport offers a decent blend of power and capability. The optional 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the Badlands trim elevates performance, sprinting to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. The G.O.A.T (Goes Over Any Terrain) drive modes provide surprising off-road capability, making it more than just a pavement-dwelling crossover.
Fuel Efficiency: Room for Improvement
While the Bronco Sport delivers a fun driving experience, fuel efficiency doesn’t top the charts. With the three-cylinder engine managing 25/28/26 mpg city/highway/combined and the four-cylinder performing slightly worse at 21/26/23, it falls short of segment leaders in this aspect. The absence of an efficient hybrid model may limit its appeal for eco-conscious consumers.
Pricing: A Steep Nostalgic Journey
The Bronco Sport Heritage Limited’s starting price of $44,655 raises eyebrows, considering its feature set and interior amenities. With competitors like the Mazda CX-50, Subaru Forrester, and Toyota RAV4 in a similar price range, Ford’s nostalgia-laden offering faces stiff competition. The 2024 Bronco Sport Heritage Edition, featuring the three-cylinder engine, offers a more palatable option at $33,700. For buyers seeking a blend of nostalgia and on-road focus at a lower price point, waiting for a tech update might be a prudent choice.
In conclusion, Ford’s attempt at blending nostalgia with modern crossover dynamics shines through in the Bronco Sport Heritage Limited. While its distinctive styling and off-road capabilities are commendable, the pricing and technological aspects leave room for improvement. As the crossover market continues to evolve, the Bronco Sport’s success may hinge on future updates that address these concerns, making it a more compelling choice for those eager to embark on a nostalgic journey.