How Does the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Compare to the Escape?

  • We tested both the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands and the Ford Escape 2.0T AWD Titanium.
  • These two crossovers are similar but there are notable differences in their test results.
  • Here, we examine these Ford SUVs’ performance, fuel economy, and interior space.

    The Ford Bronco Sport may look like an entirely new animal, but it’s more similar to the familiar Ford Escape than you might think. The two crossovers have different missions but share many mechanical components, including their basic underpinnings and their powertrains, and are fairly close in price and size. Now that we’ve tested a 2021 Bronco Sport Badlands, we wanted to see how it stacks up against the Escape in our usual battery of instrumented and static testing. So we pulled the numbers on the most equivalent Escape we’ve tested, a 2020 Escape 2.0T AWD Titanium, to see how the siblings stack up in terms of track performance, fuel economy, interior space, and more.

    Acceleration and Handling

    We’re comparing top-of-the-line powertrains here, as both the Bronco Sport and the Escape we tested were equipped with the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that’s optional on both models (a turbo 1.5-liter inline-three is standard). They both had an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

    The Escape was slightly quicker, getting to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, 0.2-second ahead of the Bronco Sport. That gap continued through the quarter mile, with the Escape nudging the Bronco again by 0.2 second.

    Despite wearing chunkier Falken WildPeak all-terrain tires, the Bronco Sport stopped shorter than the Escape, which was equipped with more traditional all-season rubber. It went from 70 mph to zero in 163 feet, 5 fewer than the Escape’s 168 feet. We weren’t able to perform our normal skidpad testing on the Bronco Sport since our Michgan skidpad was covered with snow, but the Escape circled the skidpad and provided 0.85 g of grip.

    2021 ford bronco sport badlands

    Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

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    Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

    Fuel Economy

    You’d probably guess that the boxier Bronco would be less efficient than the sleeker Escape on the highway, and you’d be right. The Escape achieved 32 mpg on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, while the Bronco got just 24 mpg in the same test. The Escape beat its 31-mpg EPA highway rating, while the Bronco Sport fell short of its 26-mpg rating.

    Cargo Space

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    Escape

    Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

    The Bronco Sport’s squared-off shape pays dividends inside. Despite having a shorter overall length than the Escape, it held more carry-on suitcases in our test. It accommodated 11 cases with the rear seats raised, 3 more than the Escape, and 22 cases with the rear seats folded, 1 more than the Escape. But the Bronco’s extra height does mean that you’ll have to lift items a bit higher to get them into the cargo area. Its liftover height of 30.6 inches is 2.5 inches higher than the Escape’s.

    We also measured the Bronco Sport to have more small-item storage space than the Escape. Combining the various front and rear cubbies and stowage areas, we fit a total of 606 ping-pong balls into the Bronco versus 511 balls in the Escape.

    2021 ford bronco sport badlands

    Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

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    Marc UrbanoCar and Driver

    Front and Rear Visibility

    Based on our testing, which measure how much the pillars block your view, it’s easier to see out the front of the Bronco but easier to see out of the rear of the Escape. But the Bronco’s advantage in forward visibility comes with a caveat, too: because of its long, square hood, more of the road ahead of you is blocked compared with the Escape, at 25 feet of obscured road for the Bronco versus 17 for the Escape.

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