Don't call this a soft-roader.

Off road fans currently have their attention focused on the new Ford Bronco. The reborn SUV doesn't go on sale until the summer, but if you really want a Bronco in the garage, the smaller Bronco Sport is available right now. It's not as rugged as its big brother, or is it? Simply swapping the tires for something more aggressive makes a world of difference, but how big can you go on the baby Bronco?

That's a question the folks at Alphaequipt wheels set out to answer. With the Bronco Sport filtering out to new owners, the aftermarket is starting to heat up but custom off-road wheels are in short supply. The Bronco Sport runs a rather uncommon  5 x 108mm bolt pattern, so Alphaequipt created a new set of 17-inchers and mounted up a set of BF Goodrich 245/65-series tires. According to Alphaequipt Sales Director Kristopher Serrano, this wheel-tire combo fits under a stock Bronco Sport without any rubbing issues, including lock-to-lock turns on the front wheels.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Custom Wheels

Photo Credit: Kristopher Serrano

By comparison, the Bronco Sport Base model also rides on 17-inch wheels, but it comes with a set of street-focused 225/65-series all-season tires. The Bronco Sport in these images is a snazzy Outer Banks model; arguably the best-dressed of the bunch with leather-trimmed seats though it does have some off-road chops with Ford's Terrain Management System and five GOAT modes. It rides on 18-inch wheels with decidedly street-ready 225/60-series tires.

Dropping back to 17s makes room for the taller tires, but unless you opt for the Outer Banks, all other Bronco Sports get 17-inch wheels standard. The largest tire size from the factory is a 235/65, optional on Badlands and standard on the First Edition, so there's space for just a little more rubber on a stock Bronco Sport. Still, it's amazing how that small upgrade makes such a dramatic visual difference. In Badlands trim with seven available GOAT modes, we suspect this would be a surprisingly capable machine off the beaten path.

Gallery: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Drive

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