Looks can be deceiving.
Steel wheels are often the go-to wheel of choice for automakers looking to keep costs down on their entry-level models. The utilitarian look and oval cut-outs are iconic, and while they may not win any design awards, there are few arguments against their durability. That’s what made it surprising to see them on the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport because they weren’t on the entry-level trim.
Now, thanks to a new report from Ford Authority, we know the Bronco Sport’s steelies aren’t made of steel. Ford’s consumer-facing site has the 2021 Bronco Sport configurator up and running where you can choose the Badlands trim. There, Ford gives customers the option of selecting 17-inch carbonized gray-painted low gloss aluminum wheels that look like steelies. They’re a $300 upgrade, but add a healthy dose of ruggedness to the crossover’s otherwise subdued boxy styling – well, subdued compared to the regular Bronco.
Gallery: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport
Ford introduced the Bronco Sport alongside the bigger Bronco, which has garnered a ton of press over the last few months. However, early indicators show the Bronco Sport isn’t afraid of getting dirty and showing off how capable it is. Ford gave the smaller off-roader 8.8 inches of ground clearance and over 30 degrees for its departure and approach angles. Ford also gave the Bronco Sport two powertrains choices – a 181-horsepower (135-kilowatt) turbocharged 1.5-liter or a larger 245-hp (183-kW) turbo 2.0-liter mill. All-wheel drive is standard.
The Bronco Sport’s steel wheels are a neat visual trick that works well on the Badlands trim. The rugged-looking wheels fit the trim’s overall tougher appearance thanks to the raised ride height and other off-road goodies Ford added to the package. So, if you see a Bronco Sport with steel-looking wheels, know it’s not the base model, but the upgraded Badlands offering.