#sportsscores | 2021 Bronco Sport SUV crushes its crash test, receives perfect score

Don’t underestimate the little brother.

The Bronco Sport 4-door SUV — often called a baby Bronco — has scored a coveted perfect crash test score from the independent, nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

This is a pretty big deal.

The 2021 Mustang Mach-E earned a Top Pick, which is a strong rating.

But the Bronco Sport is perfect with a Top Pick+ rating.

When it comes to crash test evaluation, the Bronco Sport ranks among the best in the small SUV category along with the Mazda CX-3, Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, Volvo XC-40 and Volvo XC-40 Recharge. All of these are 4-door models.

“In our studies, safety is the second most important factor as shoppers consider vehicles to buy,” with reliability being first, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for the online marketplace autotrader.com. “Ford has delivered on safety wrapped in a cool package that has proven to be very popular.”

The Bronco Sport rated higher than the luxury Lexus UX and Lincoln Corsair, as well as the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sportage, Kia Seltos, Toyota C-HR, Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Prime and Toyota Venza. All vehicles listed are 4-door models.

Engineers researched impact on the driver side, passenger side, roof strength, head restraints. Vehicles in the Top Safety Pick+ category have headlights that meet top safety standards on all available models.

“Some doubted Bronco Sport but we have crazy smart engineers that created a badass baby mountain goat for trails and have done it again with Top Safety Pick+,” Mike Levine, Ford North America product communications manager, told the Free Press on Sunday.

While a big crash test list was released in September, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) updates results as new products are released. The headline on the homepage touts the Bronco Sport for its “stellar ratings for crash protection and crash avoidance.”

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In the beginning, all buzz focused on the 2021 Ford Bronco returning to dealerships after a 24-year absence. Delivery of the much-anticipated SUV has been delayed.

Meanwhile, the smaller Bronco Sport quietly arrived on the scene late last year and immediately delivered a bright spot amid grisly fourth quarter sales.

In the months since December, customers have reported getting unexpected attention from admiring strangers who ask to take pictures.

Dealers say the SUVs are selling well. Ford sold 23,356 in the first three months of this year.

In February, Esquire magazine raved about the Bronco Sport and named it the 2021 Best Compact/Midsize SUV.

“You may initially find yourself apologizing to the curious who ignore social distancing rules to get a closer look. Yeah, sorry, this is the Bronco Sport, not the Bronco you thought it was,” Esquire said February 4.

“Don’t apologize. The Sport is a bulldog of an SUV that is perfectly sized for adventure and parallel parking in a crowded city, and as confident and poised on the highway as it is on a dirt trail. What it lacks in the big Bronco’s presence and mystique it makes up for in real-world usefulness,” wrote Kevin Sintumuang in Esquire.

More: Bronco Sport designer follows in footsteps of the Jackie Robinson of car design

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On Saturday, Kentucky Derby viewers saw Ford ads for the 2021 Ford F-150, all-electric Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport. The Bronco Sport ad with actual goats highlighted the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) moniker often applied to the classic Bronco.

“The Bronco Sport feels like a well-executed, high-quality product with better off-road capabilities than expected from a car-based SUV,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com, a car listing and data site. “Garnering the highest safety rating from IIHS further validates how thorough Ford was in the Bronco Sport’s design and engineering.”

It starts at $28,155 including $1,495 in destination fees.

The Bronco Sport is built at the Ford plant in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

More: 2021 FordBronco Sport scores with surprising off-road ability, striking looks

More: The Ford Bronco is back: Ford reveals 2021 Bronco SUV, Bronco Sport

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2021 Bronco Sport SUV crushes its crash test, receives perfect score

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