Have you ever felt like your life could use a pop of color? Looking around any given streetscape presents us with grey buildings, grey pavements, grey clothes, and of course, grey cars. Well how’s this for an antidote? Ford has revealed a Bronco Sport compact crossover that’s wearing the shirt of a Free Wheeling F-150 from the ‘70s and it’s absolutely killing it.
If you aren’t familiar with the original Free Wheeling Fords of the ‘70s, they were technicolor trucks and vans for a post-’60s decade of cultural hangover. There was still a whole lot of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll going on, but it was less contained to the college student hippies of the peace decade. If these stripey Econolines were rocking, don’t come knocking.
With a disco state of mind, Ford broke out the vinyl and went to work on the Bronco Sport, giving it more stripes than the average tiger. Crimson, vermilion, pumpkin, tangerine, and yellow stripes blanket the body sides and hood, while shockingly orange wheel inserts cap off the exterior’s ‘70s look. It’s outlandish, but exactly the sort of outlandish we need. If Kia can sell a crossover that looks like it’s face was eaten for the sake of being bold, why not fight back with something more cheerful than aggro?
Wonderfully, Ford hasn’t left the inside alone, instead investing in similarly-stripey seat inserts, colorful stitching and orange dash trim to make an otherwise dark interior feel bright and energetic. It’s just all so fun, such a breath of fresh air in an era obsessed with all-black accents and greyscale paint.
However, beneath the fantastic ‘70s throwback livery, there is a slight problem — the Free Wheeling Edition Bronco Sport is based on the three-cylinder Big Bend trim, and you really want the Badlands trim for the best Bronco Sport experience. Swapping out the 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine for a two-liter turbocharged four-banger picks up the refinement and pace substantially, and the extra off-road goodies like an electronically-variable locking rear differential perform superbly on seriously slippery surfaces. The standard powertrain is adequate, but the Badlands engine makes the Bronco Sport much more competitive.
Still, since the Bronco Sport Free Wheeling Edition is a special edition model that’s likely to only stick around for one year, you’re more likely to see one on the roads than drive one, so does the powertrain really matter? It looks cheery, iconoclastic, and extroverted, a rare combination on today’s roads. Oh, and if none of that sounds like your cup of tea, Ford also has a 2024 Bronco Sport for you.
Dubbed the Black Appearance Pack, it does exactly what it says on the tin — blacks out the compact crossover’s roof, badges, and wheels, and adds a matte black hood graphic. I’m sure I’d find it great if I was 17 and “murdered-out” was still an aftermarket look, but in 2023, it just feels a bit boring. My advice? If you really want a Bronco Sport and are able to get a pop of color, take it.
[Editor’s Note: I gotta hand it to Ford for its fun colors on the Bronco Sport. I went off-roading with a Heritage Edition Bronco Sport, and I was into the color scheme:
(Photo credits: Ford)
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