The Bronco is based on the Escape platform, which isn’t a bad start. But Ford’s other compact crossover has zero off-road aspirations and would easily be defeated by anything more severe than a muddy gravel road. Therefore, the Bronco Sport requires an entirely different suspension setup and a more advanced traction control system. The Bronco’s suspension allows for more articulation than the Escape, which also has a four-wheel independent suspension. Couple that with a higher center of gravity, and you get exactly what you expect. It’s not unsafe, but it’s also nowhere near sporty. If that’s what you’re looking for, Ford has at least three other models that do it much better.
The steering is devoid of any feel, but the compact dimensions of the Bronco Sport make it easy to drive and park. Thanks to the more supple suspension setup, the Bronco is much better at soaking up bumps than the Escape. If you live in an area with bad roads or regularly travel down dirt roads, the Bronco Sport is the way to go.
As for off-roading, you get the GOAT system as standard. It’s an acronym for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain, which is a bit ambitious in this particular model. Think of it as Ford’s version of Terrain Response. The driving modes on the Base, Big Ben, and Outer Banks are Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Sand. The 2.0 EcoBoost model gets all of the above modes and adds Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl.