Glance at any automotive brochure or television ad these days, and you’ll see attractive people laughing their way through some outdoorsy adventure. The small crossover out in the woods, that truck at the base of a rock climbing camp—perhaps more so than ever, adventure is the hot sales pitch. The campaign presents a vehicle that’s an integral part of the adventure rather than a simple transportation apparatus.
Ford has spent countless hours burnishing the rough-and-ready halo around the forthcoming Bronco and Bronco Sport. We recently had the opportunity to get our hands on a Bronco Sport during a safe, socially distanced media event outdoors at the Holly Oaks ORV Park in Holly, Michigan. As of this writing, we can’t share any driving impressions, but we’re free to share a smattering of fun details tucked into the “baby” Bronco. Here are six of our favorites.
Nothing is worse than forging through the woods and arriving at the perfect campsite only to realize you’ve no way to crack open those cold ones. Ford decided to help you out by installing a bottle opener in the inner frame of Bronco Sport’s rear tailgate. Yes, you’re likely to have a minimum of 11 other instruments with which to remove that cap—lighter, Swiss Army Knife, teeth—but this is still a thoughtful detail.
Moveable lights on the rear hatch
The way Ford sees it, the cargo area of the Bronco sport is as important as the cockpit. Think about how many times you’ve popped open your vehicle’s rear hatch and sat on the bumper while you unclipped your ski boots in the dark parking lot or tried to assemble a finicky camp stove. The lights in the back of the Bronco Sport’s tailgate swivel in their mounts, illuminating close-range objects and even projecting light up to 30 feet behind the car itself. Brilliant!
Cargo divider that doubles as table
That camp stove is gonna need somewhere to sit, so Ford designed the Bronco Sport’s cargo divider to double as a fold-out table. Thanks to a few different attachment points in the cargo area, you have multiple places to mount the table. The Bronco Sport isn’t the first vehicle to have a built-in table in its boot—Honda fans are shouting “first-gen CR-V!” at their screens right now—but the fold-out contraption is a creative adaptation of an otherwise ordinary cargo divider.
Adventuring is rarely a clean activity. If you and yours are using the Bronco Sport as Ford intends, you’ll track dirt and mud all over the SUV’s interior. That’s why Badlands and First Edition Bronco Sports come with rubberized floors throughout the vehicle for easy cleaning, à la the Honda Element. One caveat: Unlike a Jeep Wrangler, the Bronco Sport does not feature interior drain plugs—that level of convenience is reserved for the real-deal Bronco.
MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, a system popularized by the military that’s now quite common among the overlanding community. The seat backs on the Bronco Sport offer MOLLE straps to corral everything from a mess of climbing carabiners to a flashlight and hammock bag. We know Ford wants to woo the overlanding community; baking in common aftermarket modifications from the get-go is a smart way to show that it’s serious.
Specially-designed mountain bike rack
Ford partnered with popular rack brand Yakima to develop a special rack that fits inside the Bronco Sport. The rack is a factory-backed, dealer-installed accessory (one of over 100 such items offered at launch) that can swallow two 27.5-inch (one of the two most common wheel sizes in the mountain-biking world) bicycles standing upright with only the front wheels removed. Admittedly, we don’t foresee internal storage overtaking the roof-rack method as the norm in bike transport. The interior rack is still a neat concept, though, and may offer more security compared to the traditional exterior setup.
Ford isn’t the first company to execute these adventure-friendly details. However, in an age of global pandemic, it’s the perfect time to introduce a vehicle so tailored to outdoor activities—even if most Bronco Sports will spend more time on paved streets. Ford’s thoughtfulness in sweating these details bodes well for prospective Blue Oval customers.
Stay tuned to read our first driving impressions of the Bronco Sport on December 7.