2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage AWD – Bottom Line Review

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: Lite version of un-broken hoof off-roaders wears heritage apparel, starting at $37k, priced as tested at $46k.

UN-BROKEN HOOVES LITE: From urban to the edge of wilderness and beyond the most mechanism for traversing is the rough and tumble upfittable type, like the Ford Bronco. However, for the more urbane experience to and past the trail head the options are more diverse. For its part, Blue Oval has leveraged its storied off road moniker for a new rendition “off road lite” compact crossover utility vehicle. Among the herd, the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Limited can take on most terrains yet remains easier to break in than its bigger sibling.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

WHAT: 2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD = 2 Row, multi-terrain capable,compact crossover sport activity vehicle, with designation CX430. Not to be confused with the body on frame Bronco off-road SUV, the Bronco Sport is unit body derived from the Ford Escape CUV and is assembled on the modular C2 platform which also underpins the Lincoln Corsair and Ford Maverick compact pickup truck.

Standard Power: 1497 cc intercooled turbocharged dual VVT-i DOHC 12V start-stop idle I-3 cylinder = 181 hp, 190 lb-ft net rating

Optional Power: 1999 cc intercooled turbocharged dual VVT-i DOHC 16V start-stop idle I-4 cylinder = 250 hp, 277 lb-ft net rating*

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: optional 250hp 2.0T gas I-4 + 8-speed automatic + AWD = 23 MPG.

Standard Drivetrain: 8 speed torque converter planetary automatic transaxle, w/ steering wheel dorsal shift paddles +

-on demand all-wheel drive, PTU to locking viscous multi-clutch center differential, 100:0% nominal to 20:80% front to rear maximum torque split w/ front ABS torque vectoring open axle, rear single (or dual clutch*) e-locking open axle

*Test vehicle equipped

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: The “Bronco Lite” conveys a mature cubic ruggedness without the full on militarism of its big brother.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: Bronco lite manages boldness.

The deadest giveaway of the kinship with the less tame equine legacy are two large round headlamps. These LED blinkers are in an elliptical housing which curves aft. Twin lateral inboard directionals, split by a DRL bar, meet a multi lateral bar slatted grille with large font raised BRONCO lettering. Bumper covers from mid section and down are industrial dark plastic with twin upper and lower mid section cross segmented radiator inlets. The triple valley hood is clamshell. Consistent with larger Broncs the body flares at an acute beveling from the greenhouse border, so that the dark clad wheel arches don’t bulge. A character crease spans the cheatline and there is a full complement of darkened lower cladding.

Trying for the Removable Top Look: That spill over white contrast colored roof, rising a good inch mid Row 2 seems like a removable top yet isn’t. Gloss black window frames, pillar caps and a wider than typical C to D pillar privacy darkened window imparts a floating roof.

Upright in Back: Settling for tradition rather than styling, the Bronco Sport Heritage liftgate goes all vertical, emphasizing the white contrast spillover roof and privacy glass to gloss black pillar floating effect. Taillamps are a play on a F-Series pickups’ corner wraparound boomerangs. Within the upper lateral liftgate valley, the large block BRONCO name, is merely whispers SPORT, in a half sized font beneath. The lower lateral valley contains the integrated liftgate release grab, while the bumper cover is fully darkened.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: Yellowstone Metallic + White two tone boxy is the word.

Heritage Exclusive: White contrast roof, White grille w/ red lettering, White alloy wheels, Chrome heritage Bucking Bronc horse set in red crown background and “Bronco” in cursive at lower front door forward section,  White liftgate lettering

WHY: Nostalgia themed boxy compact ute earns respected un-broken herd lite off-road name.

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Winter 2019-2020

WHERE: Ford new vehicle dealers

WHERE MADE: Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

WHERE TO: on demand all-wheel drive, ABS torque vectoring; =

-Badlands suspension + optional tire fitment (on test vehicle)

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: 4 off-road modes are but a twist of the G.O.A.Terrain Management knob away.
  • +1 G(o). O(ver). A(ny). T(errain) Management 7: : Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Mud/ Ruts, Sand, Rock/ Crawl w/ corresponding virtual gauge cluster
  • Bash plates, front & rear,
  • Bumper tow hooks, front & rear
  • Wide angle forward view camera (engages in off-road modes)
  • Locking center differential + e-locking rear differential
  • 8.8″-inches ground clearance
  • 17″ Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires
  • Full size spare tire on 17″ steel wheel

HOW ROADWORTHY: Skipping over the base three banger, the Bronco Sport Heritage’s forced inducted inline-4 gas delivers the beans after initial tip in lag. Around town cruising is sporty crossover sedate with ample reserves. The 8 speed automatic swaps ratios smoothly but is wont to upshift, hence the steering wheel dorsal shift paddles. Fortunately start/ stop idle can be easily switched off for it is a nuisance. Fuel economy is quite convincing given the off pavement capability and tire tread.

Despite being less plush riding than its Escape analog, the 2023 Bronco Sport Heritage still delivers a whole lot more civility than the ladder frame Bronco cousin. Still Bronco Sport damping rebound resists haste for a pleasant commute while avoiding traditional truck-like bob and heaving. Steering winding is usefully quick without excessive resistance. Little road feel climbs the steering column, though tracking on the highway requires little corrective input. The brake pedal travel goes long before biting, by which time dive becomes pronounced. A well isolated cabin, however, betrays a few cabin panel creaks.

HOW FAR: 23 combined miles per gallon rated, 450 miles highway range

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: 5 Occupant seating, 2nd Row provides 2 average size grown-ups enough space; +1 Roof rises mid-way through 2nd Row for added headroom & taller cargo fitment.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: roomy 2nd Row

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage by comparison:

HOW USEFUL: 60:40 split flat folding 2nd Row tilting seatbacks; Plentiful cabin storage ; Cargo bay bag hooks x 2; Raised roof aft of 1st Row for taller cargo loads;

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: sliding, folding worktable

 

  • Liftgate glass backlight opens
2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: liftgate glass lifts open
  • 2nd Row right side sub-bench storage
  • Dual front seatback aft Molle™ elastic accessory loops & zipping map pockets
  • Folding, sliding, locking HD plastic work bench w/ ruler and collapsing legs
  • All-weather rubberized flooring + 2nd Row aft seatbacks
  • +1 Deep center armrest; Large lower center stack wireless device tray; Large door pocket; Overhead sunglass bin
  • -1 Distant reach to glove box; -1 No remote cargo bay 2nd row seatback fold releases

HOW SAFESTANDARD: +1 IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus; 8 airbags; Rear camera w/ predictive grid; Audible rear park assist; Roll mitigation; MyKey restrictive access; Ford Co-Pilot360 Blind Spot, rear cross traffic Warning; Post collision S.O.S. alert; Lane Departure Warning & Steer Prevention; Forward collision, pedestrian detection warning w/ avoidance braking;

  • View Outwards: +1/- FORE: Low cowl, sail panel wing mirrors; + SIDE: Thin head rests, B-pillars; +1/- REAR: adequate backlight

AVAILABLE (included in tester)

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: fore + rear cameras, park warning + BSW viewing
    • Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist Plus: Full adaptive cruise control; Emergency evasive steering
    • Automatic high beam headlamps
    • Forward camera

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY:  Civilized crossover SAV cabin fare found inside the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage is unknown to any regular Bronco. Instead, the interior instruments, displays, switchgear and furnishings are amply viewable and informative, sensibly placed and spaced volume Euro car quality Escape and Maverick donations. Cabin heritage treatments avoid tackiness. The absence of dust displaying gloss piano black trim panels is welcome, and Ford has upped their dark hard plastic grain.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: contemporary cockpit w/ 12.3″ color TFT variable gauge cluster + 8.0″ touch LCD Ford MySync 3

Heated, leather sport front bucket seats, 10-way power driver’s; Tilt & telescoping, cross-stitched leather wrapped steering wheel; Automatic climate control; Easy access left lower dashboard dimmer & rotary light switch; Keyless entry, ignition; Power windows x 4, 1st Row express down; 2nd Row privacy glass; Cupholders x 4, Door bottle holders x 4

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: tan leather seating w/ heritage plaid inserts.
    • +1 Wind & road noise isolation; Row 2 60/40% split seatback recline

Cool Gizmo(s): 12.3″ Drive mode variable color TFT virtual gauge cluster, with mountain range welcome, corresponding to drive modes; aft front seatbacks Molle™ elastic accessory loop strip + zipping map pockets

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: Molle outfitter accessory strips + zipped map pockets behind front seats

Details Done Right: Soft dashtop, door arm & hand area inserts w/ contrasting panels; Pebble tan leather seating surface w/ heritage plaid inserts;  Blue-green night switch illumination;  Variable color cabin door, foot-well and console ambient illumination; Sun-wash resistant gauge binnacle; +1 Center console “Established 1966” Heritage Edition Bronco metal plaque simulates the front end.

Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Scuff prone cargo area dark hard plastics; Driver’s door window switches located too far forward

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: Dash-top 8.0″-inch Sync3 3-pane capacitive touch LCD infotainment screen; GPS cloud based native Navigation w/ voice commands, guidance; +1 Large icons; +1 Extensive voice commands; Voice learning hands-free communications; peaky loud 10-speaker, 560 W B&O Play w/ streaming audio & HD radio; Mobile powered Android Auto/ Apple Car Play application & navigation overlays; FordPass Connect remote key & tools; MyFord Apps Pandora streaming music mirror application; USB-A x 1, USB-C x 5, 12V x 2, 110 VAC @ 400W x 2 (2nd Row + cargo bay)

2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: wired smart phone projection

By Subscription:

    • Sirius XM (90 day trial); Sirius TravelLink traffic, weather, sports scores, movie listings, fuel prices, ski conditions apps (5 years); AT&T 4G LTE Wi-Fi (2GB trial)
2023 Ford Bronco Sport 2.0T Heritage Limited AWD: Sirius XM TravelLink by subscription
    • +1 Illuminated smart USB ports; Versatile voice commands
    • -1 Hasn’t been fitted with the next gen MyFord Sync4

HOW MUCH: $46,400 = 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Limited All-Wheel Drive

WHAT’S MISSING: Power lifgate, Hybrid powertrain option

ANY COMPETITION: Jeep Compass Trailhawk : the more compact one; Subaru Forester Wilderness: the trendy one;   Toyota RAV4 TRD Off Road: the larger one.

FINAL WORD: Bronco Lite, lathered in nostalgia, holds its own both in town and off-road.

Leave a Reply