2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Edition Road Test | Orange is the new Bronco Leave a comment

For good reason, we’ve written gobs about the new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport — from its reveal back in the depths of the pandemic last July, to our first driving review on-road and off and our second crack at it in the off-road-specific Badlands trim, and on to our summary of everything you need to know about the tough-but-cute ute. We even discovered it’s surprisingly capable at stowing cargo, can be festooned with aftermarket swag, and just last week we discovered that some Ford dealers are so delirious about the Bronco Sport and its big brother Bronco, they’re building separate Bronco showrooms to display them.

So what’s left to say? Just this: Damn, Cyber Orange Metallic is a great color.

Now, I’m prone to an orange crush, which should be apparent from a glance through the Autoblog staff’s personal cars, a roundup that includes my Grabber Orange Mustang. But around the office, we all think Cyber Orange looks great on the baby Bronco.

Area 51 and Cactus Gray are also appealing. But the way the Bronco Sport’s black roof and trim set off the orange is particularly snappy. This Bronco Sport was a First Edition, which means black wheels and some additional dabs of black striping and badges. Picture how a modern Ford Mustang looks in Twister Orange when devoid of black bits — it’s unrelentingly too orange. On the Bronco Sport, think of the orange as the plutonium in a nuclear reactor, with the black parts as the graphite control rods that are preventing a visual meltdown.

Because this was a First Edition, the interior is only available in the same combination of Navy Pier blue leather and gray cloth that’s otherwise exclusive to the Outer Banks trim (basically, the First Edition paired a Badlands exterior color with an Outer Banks interior). There are blue Bronco seats and blue armrests on door panels that are otherwise black. The materials are nice enough, but the blue in this case seemed out of left field, without a visual tie to the exterior. The blue bits look great with other exterior color choices, though. And if ever Ford paired Cyber Orange with blue exterior trim, the seats would fit right in — a pairing that would please Syracuse alum Zac Palmer. It’s both a quibble and moot: First Editions are all spoken for. The Cyber Orange Bronco Sport in Badlands trim can be specified with ebony seats trimmed in either orange cloth or brown leather that should look a little more cohesive. 

Cyber Orange plays an important role in the retro vibe of the Bronco Sport. First, it brings to mind Grabber Orange, which evokes Ford’s past, particularly the muscle-car era and the racing career of Parnelli Jones. (Though G.O. was not a metallic finish like Cyber Orange.) But more to the historical point, Cyber Orange links the Bronco Sport to the heritage of the early Broncos, which over the years came in such colors as:

  • Chrome Yellow, which was closer to orange than the Empire Yellow also offered (1967-78)
  • Bold Orange, shown below (1974)
  • Burnt Orange (1974 — three oranges that year!)
  • Parrot Orange (1975)
  • Mecca Gold (1976)
  • And just plain Orange (1977)
  • Other offerings were close on the color wheel, such as Light Caramel (1980-81), Bittersweet Glow (1981-82) and an assortment of coppers.

Other than the color, I had a nice couple of days in the Bronco Sport. It seems like a capable little rig and is one of those cars you can’t help but glance back at as you’re walking away. The 2.0-liter is a good match with plenty of pickup, and it seemed frugal on gas in my brief time with it. The interior feels roomier than the SUV’s dimensions would suggest, though you wouldn’t say there’s a surplus of legroom. The exterior is right-sized; it’s not a big lummox that overwhelms a parking space. All the off-road touches, such as the tow hooks and Wildpeak tires, give it a scrappy look and the capabilities to back it up.

There’s a lot of nice cabin storage, such as zippered seatback pockets to stow things like iPads out of view. Instrument panel gauges for pitch, roll and steering-wheel angle are on display no matter what GOAT mode you’re in, to remind you of its off-roading intentions. There are better-sounding systems in more expensive vehicles, but the B&O stereo was pretty good. And the Bronco Sport has a feature that should be on every SUV: rear glass that opens by itself or as part of the entire tailgate, which is sometimes the perfect arrangement for hauling long items or grabbing a piece of gear. Finally, the rear seatbacks and cargo floor are clad in easy-clean rubberized armor, and beneath the floor mats is plastic floor liner that likewise would be a snap to wipe down. The Bronco Sport practically invites you to muddy it up.

And here’s something to look forward to: Cyber Orange will also be available on the full-fat Ford Bronco when it finally rolls out.

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