When we learned Ford had plans to release the Bronco Sport alongside the full-size SUV, fans were understandably skeptical. A small compact crossover built on a unibody platform isn’t something traditionally associated with off-roading prowess, and enthusiasts worried the Bronco Sport might be a bit of a dilution to the nameplate. However, Ford is adamant that the baby Bronco is a tried and true off-roader, and has sent the Badlands version out to the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab, Utah to prove it.
In this recent clip uploaded to the Bronco Nation YouTube channel, we get to watch as a Bronco Sport Badlands Series takes on one of the most famous trails at Moab. For those who are unfamiliar, Hell’s Revenge is chock full of difficult obstacles such as the Escalator and the Tip Over Challenge that test even the most capable machines. The Bureau of Land Management lists the 6.5 mile trail as “extremely difficult, and recommended only for very experienced drivers with advanced equipment”. A perfect place then for the Bronco Sport to prove to fans that it deserves to bear the legendary name.
The Bronco Sport Badlands Series is the most capable of the lineup, and comes with a host of hardware upgrades geared for taking on the trails. Under the hood is the larger 2.0L EcoBoost engine, which produces a best-in-class 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. That power is routed through Ford’s eight-speed automatic transmission and a trick all-wheel drive system, which features a twin-clutch rear-drive unit and locking rear differential. This proved vital on Hell’s Revenge, helping the SUV regain and maintain traction in several places.
The Badlands Series also features a totally unique suspension layout, which works in conjunction with the 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 28.5-inch all-terrain rubber. It’s a fairly complete off-roading package, especially for a base price of $34,155.
So then it appears Ford may have us finally breathing a sigh of relief. The Bronco Sport was able to show it is a capable SUV on one of the most famous trails in America’s off-roading kingdom. The Bronco brand may bring us more exciting vehicles just yet.