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2021 Ford Bronco Sport fuel economy: Escape's rugged cousin is slightly less efficient

But it looks so much better than an Escape, and the minor MPG dips are tradeoffs I think many will take.

If you're looking for frugal, look at an Escape.

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While the 2021 Ford Bronco won't be here until next spring, its little brother, the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, is hitting dealers soon. And now we know just how efficient Bronco Jr. is out on the road.

The EPA hasn't posted the results on its own website, but Autoblog reported Tuesday on the figures after discovering anyone can pull the results up on the Bronco Sport's window sticker via Ford's official website. Without further ado, the Bronco Sport when equipped with its standard 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-three engine and eight-speed automatic returns 25 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.

I don't think anyone expected the Bronco Sport to be more efficient than the slippery and chic Escape (the two share a platform and powertrains), but for comparison's sake, the Bronco Sport is not the more fuel-efficient choice. The Escape with the same powertrain and all-wheel drive returns an estimated 26 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Escape and Bronco Sport are targeting different groups.

We looked at a couple of the Bronco Sport's rivals in the segment as well to see how it stacks up, specifically the Jeep Compass and Chevrolet Trailblazer. The EPA rates the Jeep for an estimated 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined with a 2.4-liter inline-four and nine-speed automatic transmission. The two are essentially dead even. The Trailblazer, meanwhile, returns an estimated 26 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined. Overall, it's slightly more frugal.

But, the Bronco Sport also offers a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, just like the Escape. For those that select the upgrade in more premium trims, the tiny off-roader returns an estimated 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. While those figures definitely come on the lower side of things for the segment, the engine also produces a lot more power -- 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. The little three-cylinder engine muscles just 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque.

I'm eager to take a spin in the off-road SUV, even if it's just an appetizer for the main course coming next year.

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