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2021 Ford Bronco Sport Overheating Issues: Here’s What Ford Had To Say

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To date, the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has by all accounts proven to be a hot item on dealer lots. But like most new vehicles, it’s also been plagued by at least one issue – a recent recall over an issue with rear suspension modules that may not be fully secured to the subframe. However, it seems that when two journalists were testing the crossover off-road last year, both faced a Bronco Sport overheating issue.

Of the two, the first Bronco Sport overheating issue pertained to the vehicle’s all-wheel-drive system. While attempting to climb an incline, one journalist’s Bronco Sport Outer Banks displayed a “4WD Drive Temporarily Disabled” message. A Ford representative at the event noted that the Outer Banks does not have the liquid-cooled Power Transfer Unit present in the Badlands trim, and letting the vehicle sit for a few minutes solved the problem.

However, a Bronco Sport Badlands driven by another journalist also overheated and went into limp mode after about 15 minutes of driving in the sand. That reviewer did say that she was driving the car “like a freaking idiot,” and after shutting it down for five minutes, the vehicle was good to go. Regardless, Bronco Sport vehicle engineering manager, Eddie Khan, said that there is no issue with either all-wheel-drive unit in the vehicle.

“Khan mentioned three main points in an interview with Jalopnik. “The first was that the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport has met Ford’s internal targets, which are based on projected customer usage. The second is that Ford has made sure that the Bronco Sport is competitive with other vehicles in its class. And third (this one is related to the others) is that Ford has done extreme testing on the vehicle, putting it through conditions far more strenuous than the vast majority of customers will see. All of these are fairly standard in any vehicle development process.”

Additionally, the hill that the aforementioned Outer Banks model overheated attempting to climb is not what Khan considers easy to conquer. “First of all, that’s not a small hill climb,” Khan said. “Would you do that in a normal vehicle?”

Regardless, we’ll be following this issue closely and will report back if there are any developments, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Bronco Sport news and continuous Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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16 Comments

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  1. Khan said. “Would you do that in a normal vehicle?” – wait what? This is being sold as a small OFF ROADER and as capable as such. Stop underbuilding your vehicles. Nothing like driving around wondering when something is going to break because it feels so delicate.

  2. Ford has long had issues with numerous models overheating; here in Australia the Mustang has consistently failed police patrol/pursuit trials when various forces have wanted to add them to their fleet. Go back to the drawing board, spend an extra $50 on better cooling systems and give customers cars that behave as good as other brands.

  3. Although Ford has throughly tested the Bronco, there is no excuse for this vehicle to ever overheat. It doesn’t matter under what conditions Ford tested it to do, we all know when it gets into the hands of some consumers, whom may take it to the limits, it should take them there and back with no issues.
    When I worked for the DOD in vehicle testing, issues like this were unacceptable quickly remedied and retested to perform over and above because a soldiers life may be at stake. Albeit, most consumers will never be in a situation such as a soldier, it would be comforting to know your vehicle, which you paid hard earned cash for, will perform flawlessly.

  4. Yep. Disappointing. While I get it, the vast majority will never take their “Bronco” Sport off road, let alone do any serious off roading , you can’t tout something as being “raised by goats” and give it a “Goes Over Any type of Terrain” if it’s going to have these issues. Maybe 2 with faulty modules/sensors? Time will tell. I don’t suspect it will be a problem with a majority because even a majority of Jeeps don’t go off road. But I’ll bet the enthusiast who buy these will see a good number of failures. Oh yeah, gotta love this statement: “Bronco Sport vehicle engineering manager, Eddie Khan, said that there is no issue with either all-wheel-drive unit in the vehicle.”………Because we would have expected him to admit they under built or failed to execute it properly?? “My bad”… My prediction is Ford will have to reprogram the modules to allow for more heat/wear and hope the cluthes don’t wear out premature to avoid this constantly becoming a problem.

    • Picture it as a baby goat. It’s just not going to be as capable as a full sized adult goat. However, baby goats are still very capable compared to other animals (ex: the Jeep renegade, the Jeep Compass, the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Land Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport.) So compared to those vehicles they’re still very capable.

  5. In the last 20+ years, Ford Engineering is making very serious mistakes with every Vehicle they make. The Biggest is the testing process. Being a Ford Retiree I know for a fact they do not test correctly. The Ford saying on the Floor in the boardroom is always hurry up and get to the dealer we will deal with it then. Ford has made huge engine mistakes. The new 3 cylinder is a joke. Once the word gets out and keeps spreading sales will suffer. Sales have already dropped on the Escape and Bronco’s. Our Local Dealer said everyone who has bought either a Bronco or Escape have complained about the Humming and Vibration noises. Yet Ford Engineering won’t even address the problems. So since sales have dropped tremendously they have had to shut down the plants numerous. times. Doesn’t make sense Ford….fix the problems!! Should have never ever changed the 4 to a 3…..Dumb!!

  6. I have owned the 2021 Bronco Sport Big Bend addition since they came out in January. Let me assure you I have not experienced any overheating issues that are spoke of in this article. In fact it takes a little time to warm up to operating temp for the heat to work. I have already put 4000 miles on my Bronco Sport and must say it’s a pleasure to drive. I am averaging 29.5 mpg in drive mode and find the little 1.5 liter engine to have plenty of power for my needs. I have taken it off road numerous times and was surprised how well it performed. Is it a radical off road baja racer? No.. But it will get you through the snow with ease and look good doing it. My only gripe so far is the turbo seems to howl a little other than that this a solid offering in this class of vehicle.

  7. It didn’t have a liquid cooled transfer case, and that is the end of conversation. You need the to off road. Reviewer should have brought the right model with the right gear, available from Ford.

  8. This happened to me in sand yesterday when I was off roading the first time and I was driving it aggressively in the sand on a hill when it said the 4 wheel drive temporarily disabled and I just backed out of where I spun into the sand and powered it down and back up and sat and it contained the snow covered and Icey water trails we hit.

  9. My son Bought one Tuesday 3/23 the next day while driving back to base from FL to GA it started acting up and said reduced power and four wheel drive malfunction. This was on the highway no sand or extreme anything. Took to dealer they basically turned off the warning lights. Picked it up and same day on was back to base did it again. Has now been at a second dealer since Friday morning 3/26. The first dealer did not have time to look at again. So out of the seven days he has only had two days. The dealer’s service department has put more miles on it then him. And they still have no clue how to fix.

  10. Sorry also being a Ford retiree I do agree about the Bad Engineering. But I have bought my last new 1st tear vehicle from Ford, GM or Chrysler product. I will wait at least two years or buy another make. Its sue sad that now all the ugly bad Ecoboost Design flaws are showing their faces. It sure looking like the Germans know alot more on how to build a correct vehicle than anybody else.

  11. I drive my Bronco less than 50 miles a week & have never taken it off road. My 4 wheel drive warning light goes off all the time. In my opinion the Bronco is a pretty piece of crap. I’ve actually hired a lemon law attorney because Ford refuses to honor lemon law. My Bronco had warning lights going off when I was driving it off the dealership lot.

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