Ford’s Bronco Sport Outer Banks Edition Pampers You, Still Likes to Get Dirty

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Ford’s fun new line of Broncos is focused on getting out and getting dirty, but there are some interesting “Sports” variations available too, and I recently got the chance to stack up a few miles in the Outer Banks Edition, which you might say is a lot more. iteration focused on cities and roads. But is it still possible to play on the ground (or sand)? I spent a week using it as a family car, and a few days testing its capabilities from the daily grind.

Technology and Features

My test Bronco Sport was equipped with the Ecoboost 2.3-liter turbocharged Ford inline four, which made 270 horsepower and 210 pound feet of torque. There’s a twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 option, but my four-banger is pretty capable and tied to a Ford 10-speed shifting automatic. While you can get a 35-inch Sasquatch off-road package for any Bronco, mine sported 18-inch engined aluminum wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler tires. Basically, a street-friendly setting.

Inside, the upholstered leather upholstery is heated, and the 10-speaker Bang + Olufsen audio package bathes us in a loud sonic massage (subwoofer, work). My testers had an 8-inch touchscreen and really, I felt it was the right size in terms of looks and sharper response than some of the large screens I’ve used in other cars. The second configurable data screen sits between the analog speedo and the tach. My phone connects directly to Apple CarPlay and the FordPass app for maximum functionality, and charges wirelessly on a small shelf under the dashboard.

A hard top with a large sunroof keeps out rain and noise; I know for a lot of people a Bronco without a removable roof is a kind of blasphemy. When it rains as much as here, I’m fine with the hardtop-plus-sunroof option, plus the roof retains rigidity and better rails to easily lift bikes, kayaks, canoes and rooftop tents. That’s what I would most likely get if it were my money.

Lastly, the Bronco Sport includes a very useful GOAT mode dial, with options for Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, and Normal. Also helpful is Ford’s CoPilot 360 driver assistance package, with lane control, smart cruise, rear traffic warning, blind spot monitor, close object warning, 360-degree camera view, and collision avoidance. Other nifty parts include a heated steering wheel, and a handy 120-volt AC outlet rated at 110 Watts, which is enough to charge laptops, cameras, drones, and the like.

Riding Time

My first few days playing around at Bronco Sport could best be described as mundane: There were things to do, work to do, kids and dogs to haul, groceries to pick up, even stuff to haul in the back. . In that respect, the Bronco is pretty mediocre, and I mean that as a compliment: Get in, start, drive, do something, go home. The Family Truckster 101 stuff, and the Outer Banks setup, with more road-type tires and wheels, a tough top, and a worry-free interior make everyday work easy.

The Bronco feels compact to me to drive but the rear cargo area is spacious with 36 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and when I need to haul home a garage sale closet, the rear seats fold flat and I can fit the relics into the 77 square feet of space and closed the hatch. As a utility vehicle ready to take on everyday life, the Bronco scores high on my mental checklist. Plus, the stereo. Need something in store, honey? I can go now. To any shop. Anywhere…

With a work week on the books, I packed up my teenage son and our doggo to give my better half some alone time while we tested the Bronco’s off-roading abilities a little more intensely than driving on gravel at the dog park. We headed for Gearhart on the Oregon coast, a typical beach burg with the added benefit of allowing beach access to vehicles. Understand that the Oregon coast is all public property and usually, no vehicles are allowed for public safety reasons (and that’s a good thing since most beaches are already downright dangerous). But there are exceptions and Gearhart has miles of accessible flat sand bordered by turbulent waves, steep dunes, deep sand sections and other challenges.

Only got to the Oregon coast is a pleasant ride as only a few highways cross the Coast Range and the weather can change from sunny to rainstorm, depending on which corner you go on the winding highway, usually two lanes. But the Bronco is a great travel companion, and while the turbo power of the V6 would have been nice, I felt the Ecoboost four packed a decent punch (especially in high-rev Sports Mode) and we quickly made our way past RVs and other slowpokes on the steep incline of Highway 26 in the 10-speed box. jump from tooth to tooth. It even returned over 30mpg on our trip despite really never being in Eco mode.

Once on the shoreline, the first test for the Bronco is navigating the very deep and dry sand, which is very fine on this beach and can easily wash up even a 4×4 vehicle. GOAT mode was set to Sand and with a City of Gearhart recovery crew nearby in a tall F350 and a few dozen serious off-road rigs ready to hurl their boos if you got stuck, I pointed the Bronco into powder and slid on the gas.

The Bronco Sport sped forward, rocking and bouncing as it passed through the sandy valley left by other vehicles, and I could hear the underside of the car land on the soft sand as we moved forward on tires that were certainly not designed for this kind of transit. But the progress forward never stopped, and after a minute or two of fright, we clawed at the wet sand at the water’s surface to applause from the audience and thumbs up from the rescue driver in his raised F350. They love it, they love it so much…

Over the next few hours, we rolled on the beach, often in the light waves, the water tower bathing the Bronco in salty water (yes, we washed it after that). We even went back into the deep sand near the entrance again so I could test if the Bronco Sport could stop, then restart progress on the talus. With a few twists of the wheels as the four-wheel drive system works to find the best traction option, the Bronco can walk again without a problem. Amazing.

Back on the sidewalk and with a long drive home ahead in heavy traffic, I activated the CoPilot system and basically let the Bronco drive me home. With cruise set to 55mph and one hand on the wheel, the Bronco technology essentially guides itself for more than 60 miles up and down busy mountain highways, along multi-lane highways and through stop-and-go traffic. go until we get home. I’ve driven “self-driving” Teslas and other cars with a similar system, but I’m impressed with the smoothness, accuracy, and performance of Ford’s CoPilot. It was capable of getting the Bronco from 55mph to jam and back up to speed in highway traffic, and maintaining lane position and distance with minimal jerk, panic moments or other drama. Taking your hands off the wheel produces a look and a tone that warns you to get a grip, and of course, you should always be in control of your vehicle, no matter how good the driver aids are. And in the Bronco, they’re pretty good.


Too soon, I had to return the keys and watch the Outer Banks Bronco go to another tester. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance it provided for my family as a daily driver, and also when we pushed the boundaries of what can be done while wearing street clothes. Overall, the Outer Banks Bronco Sport is a surprisingly effective mix of a family car, urban utility vehicle and comfortable open road warrior with a healthy dose of off-road prowess – just as the Bronco should be.

I’ve driven a Subaru Forester for years (because: Oregon) and the Bronco is definitely a cut above, but at nearly $48,000 as tested, it should be. For what you’re getting, it’s an overkill and handsome to boot. I’d love to get it in the winter, maybe with some more aggressive tires, and take it skiing and down forest trails for some snowy winter camp. It will feel right at home, I’m sure.

2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks 4X4: MSRP: $41,450 When Tested: $47,895

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