Heritage Limited a Special Bronco Sport

CHATHAM, Mass. – Ford celebrated its iconic Bronco brand for the 2023 model year with a unique Heritage Limited Edition version of both its full-size off roader and the subcompact Bronco Sport.

The company produced 1,966 examples of each model — commemorating the birth year of the original Bronco – and we spent an enjoyable week in a Robin’s Egg Blue Bronco Sport version.

Based on the more off-road-capable Badlands model, the Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition was fully equipped (a $150 optional cargo-management system the lone option) at $44,650 including a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, navigation, 13.2-inch touchscreen and Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Most powerful, capable Bronco Sport

The 2.0-liter, turbocharged, intercooled four-cylinder EcoBoost engine produces 277 pounds-feet of torque in addition to the 250 horsepower. It puts this power through an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard full-time all-wheel drive system with a twin-clutch rear-drive unit incorporating a differential lock which can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel.

In addition, the G.O.A.T. (Go Over Any Terrain) Modes system includes seven modes (two more than the other Bronco Sport trims):  Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, Sand, Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl. Minimum ground clearance is 8.8 inches, an inch higher than the other Bronco Sport models.

Ford equips the Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition with its High-Performance Off -Road Stability Suspension (H.O.S.S.). The components include independent MacPherson strut-type with coil springs, stabilizer bar, twin-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks with hydraulic rebound stops, steel subframe with aluminum lower control arm, and cast knuckle up front and independent double lateral link semi-trailing arms with unique springs, stabilizer bar, and monotube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks Isolated steel subframe with unique cast knuckle in the rear.

The power-assisted, anti-lock (ABS) equipped brake system features 12.1-inch, ventilated rotors up front, 11.9-inch solid ones at the rear, both with single-piston calipers.

The wheels are throwback-design white-painted aluminum 17-inch ones shod with Falken WildPeak A/T AT3W, 235/65R-17 104H M+S tires.

Setup for dealing with off road challenges, the Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition acquitted itself very nicely during my on-road driving.

The EcoBoost provided strong performance backed up by the numbers. For example, Car and Driver recorded 0-60 miles per hour times of 5.9 seconds, a performance-car-like figure in a high-riding, small sport utility.

This performance came with good fuel efficiency. My aggressive driving still resulted in 24.5 miles per gallon in daily driving, better than the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s 23 mpg overall rating (21 urban, 26 highway).

Ford Co-Pilot advanced driver-assistance systems

The Heritage Limited Edition includes an extensive list of advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), most under the Ford Co-Pilot360™ and Co-Pilot360 Assist umbrella. These include lane-keeping system; pre-collision assist with automatic-emergency braking (AEB), pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning and dynamic-brake support; rearview camera; intelligent adaptive cruise control with stop & go, lane centering; speed-sign recognition; evasive-steering assist; voice-activated touchscreen navigation.

Additional ADAS includes rear-parking sensors, blind-spot information system and auto high beams.

Technology, comfort and convenience on the interior

The Bronco Sport Heritage Limited might be designed for off-roading adventures, but its interior comes with the features more common in a premium vehicle.

The leather-trimmed/vinyl seats are power adjustable and heated up front (the driver’s with memory function), with heating also for the steering wheel which is tilt/telescopic adjustable.

Occupant comfort is aided by the automatic dual-zone climate control system which is operated by either easily accessed and intuitive on-dash buttons and dials or through the touchscreen (which displays the climate settings when the dash buttons are used).

Comfort for the mind and soul can come through the Heritage Limited Edition’s standard Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker, including subwoofer, B&O Sound System audio amplification of the infotainment system.

The heart of the infotainment system is the eight-inch touchscreen with sources like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio and streaming Bluetooth from a smartphone. Voice activation along with both steering-wheel and dash controls making volume and channel/station tuning simple, as well.

Mobile-device connectivity and charging is facilitated by USB-A and C ports front and rear as well as a wireless charging pad in the console.

And capping off the occupant luxuries is a panoramic moonroof overhead.

A lamb in mountain goat clothing on a daily basis

The Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Limited Edition, in Robin’s Egg Blue (virtually identical to Ford’s Arcadian Blue (and white roof) which adorned vehicles like the original 1966 Bronco and 60s-era Thunderbirds), might look like a docile, seaside surfer’s throwback wheels, but it has serious off-road tools to complement its premium, comfort-producing modern features.

I never felt like the ride, handling or daily operation of the Bronco Sport was compromised by any of these off-road features; the five-person compact SUV (think Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4 size) delivered real-world functionality with the promise of more if I wanted to challenge it against nature.

As mentioned, the comprehensively equipped Heritage Limited SUV had but a single option, $150 carpeted floor mats, which produced a price of $46,400 (including $1,595 destination & delivery charge). The 2024 Bronco Sport Heritage has a $33,700 base price and you could build a version very close to the as-tested, fully equipped model I sampled – and if you want the combination of daily, efficient SUV motoring with the ability to go off road, it would make a great choice.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.