It’s been two years since the Bronco Sport entered the market. Though still confused with the full-sized Bronco, the Bronco Sport has earned a place in the compact crossover segment as a popular contender.
The 2023 Ford Bronco Sport sees new color options, a few changes to optional equipment packages, and gets a new Black Diamond Off-Road package. The Heritage and Heritage Limited editions are special options of which Ford will only be making 1,966 units. The number 1966 being the year the Bronco was first introduced.
1966 was a watershed year into which the Ford Bronco was thrust. The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Monkees were formed. The best-selling album was The Sound of Music. Batman starring Adam West hit televisions, as did Star Trek with William Shatner. Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In the Night was a long-running top hit, and the Bronco was joined by the Toyota Corolla, the Dodge Charger, and the Porsche 911 on the car scene.
Paying homage to those times, the Heritage Editions of the Bronco Sport are based on the Big Bend and Badlands models. Both add a lot of exterior design throwbacks to the original Bronco of the 1960s, including the Oxford White accents on the roof, grille, and other points. The Race Red “BRONCO” lettering to complement the white grille is also included. As are the Oxford White 17-inch aluminum wheels made to look like the original steelies of the 1960s models.
Interior touches on the Bronco Sport Heritage models include plaid cloth seating, Navy Pier instruments with Oxford White accents. Those same accents are seen on the door and storage bin. Race Red and Robin’s Egg Blue accent stitching is also found on the interior upholstery and dash. Other accents to the straps and zipper lines complete the interior look.
The 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition is based on the Big Bend model with its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. That outputs 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet or torque. The more aggressive Bronco Sport Heritage Limited is based on the Badlands edition, which has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that outputs 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.
There are some drivetrain differences between the two Heritage options as well. Both use an eight-speed automatic transmission, but the standard all-wheel drive of the Heritage Edition isn’t changed. The Heritage Limited Edition, however, with its upgraded engine, also has an upgraded four-wheel drive system with a different rear differential, more underbody skid plates, and Trail Control for off-road cruise speeds.
The great look of the Bronco Sport Heritage Editions is hard to ignore. It’s really, really likeable. More so with the knobbier tires and better off-road capability of the Heritage Limited. We especially liked the yellow-and-white motif of our test drive in Yellowstone Metallic. Other great options include Robin’s Egg Blue and Peak Blue for the Heritage Limited. The Heritage model has Robin’s Egg Blue as well as most of the standard colors of the Bronco Sport, adding the white accents and top.
The Bronco Sport Heritage models begin at about $34,500 plus delivery. Like many Ford models, you will likely have to order it and likely have to wait for delivery. Popularity has its cost and the exclusiveness of the Heritage models means they are basically order-only.
Outside of their unique looks and appeal, the 2023 Bronco Sport Heritage Editions are the same as the other Bronco Sport models. Which means they’re comfortable, roomy, more upscale than probably expected, and have a lot of cargo space. Rear seat legroom is a bit cramped, but headroom is good throughout.
The Bronco Sport comes standard with a suite of driver assist and advanced safety technologies. With either engine option it drives well and handles nicely on the road. Even if it’s a bit disconnected for the driver at times.
Off-road, however, the Bronco Sport is better than many of its rivals, but not really an off-pavement beast. It will do dirt roads and light trails easily, but that’s about it. With the additions given in the Bad Lands and Bronco Sport Heritage Limited models, though, that capability increases closer to the mid-level in capability, giving even the Jeep nameplate it’s competing with a run for its money.
The 2023 Bronco Sport Heritage is one of our favorite drives so far this year. It’s a great throwback in look, is fun to drive on the daily, and it got compliments on the regular. Pretty cool!