It's Bronco week here at Autoblog thanks to finally being able to drive the most eagerly anticipated new vehicle of the past two years. If you haven't already read Byron Hurd's Ford Bronco review, do so now, and come on back here for a deep dive inside the Bronco's baby brother.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport you see here is an Outer Banks trim, the version that skews a bit more to the luxury end of the spectrum. That's not to say it's luxurious, per se, but it does have snazzy blue leather trim, lots of comfort/convenience equipment, and isn't as hardcore in terms of appearance or off-road equipment as the Badlands above it in the hierarchy.
Although the general feature content and materials quality isn't that different from a Ford Escape, the Bronco Sport really sets it apart from its corporate cousin and other compact crossovers with its many clever storage solutions throughout. Basically, it's like Ford intended the Bronco Sport to be sold in an REI rather than a car dealership. Let's take a look at what you get, keeping in mind that some of this isn't available on all trim levels.
All trims but the base level get this unique seatback storage. There's a zippered pocket big enough for an iPad and/or a magazine.
There are MOLLE straps you can clip whatever you want to, such a metal cup or flashlight. I'm honestly not sure how useful the placement of these is, but it sure seems like a neat idea.
There is a pocket on the side of the front passenger seat that's good for storing a phone.
The Badlands adds an extra storage bin under the back seat. My Outer Banks did not have this.
These clips on either side of the cargo area are another clever storage solution, as they go beyond a simple hook. Unfortunately, the plastic seems quite brittle, and I wonder how long they'd last.
Note the button in the middle there ...
The button turns on these two, bright lights intended for a camp site. Now note those two, big, chunky grab handles. Ford thought these would come in handy for hanging things, such as wet clothes or a post-surfing wet suit.
Since we're back here, the entire cargo area, including the seat back, is covered in a robust rubber material.
And if you're wondering how much will fit back there, check out our Ford Bronco Sport luggage test.
In customer research, Ford found that outdoor adventurists lamented that their expensive mountain bikes were vulnerable to theft when mounted outside. As such, Ford went out of its way to design the Bronco Sport interior so it could accommodate bikes inside. The stepped safari roof is part of that. An accessory bike rack then seals the deal. Having that rubber floor definitely helps here as well, both in terms of scuffing and cleaning.
To get into the cargo area, you can pop the hatch entirely, or just the glass. This used to be an SUV staple, but sleeker, raked rooflines make them impossible.
This Easter egg explains how the separate pop-up glass might be useful.
Here are the roof rails. They're big, strong, chunky things that'll make mounting racks very easy. Flush rails, which are becoming increasingly common, require specially sized racks that clamp on to the rails, likely meaning they can only be fitted to one car. Raised rails like these make moving your equipment between different vehicles easier — much as I found when reviewing the Yakima CBX and Grand Tour cargo carriers on an Audi Allroad, BMW X5, Subaru Outback and Subaru Crosstrek.
Let's now move up front to small item storage.
Above left: The Outer Banks has wireless charging, and there's plenty of extra space in here for extra stuff as well. There are also USB-A and USB-C ports, plus a 12V outlet.
Above right: The bin under the Sync 3 touchscreen can hold a phone, too, or whatever you might need closer at hand. The bottom is rubberized, to help prevent whatever from flying out.
The cupholders are big enough to hold my sizable Yeti water bottle, and keep it firmly in place. As in other Fords, there's also a little Red Bull-sized middle holder.
The Yeti did not fit in the back door bottle holder, and there's minimal storage in it. The front doors are more useful. There are cupholders in the back seat's fold-down center armrest.
And finally, there's a bottle opener inside the liftgate jam. Nifty.
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