magicbus

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Let me preface this by saying I drive three 8 hours shifts a week in an F-150 or 250 patrolling 18 miles of soft, deep sandy trails and beaches in a refuge where the public can get permits to drive. I finally got the time (and courage) to take my Bronco Sport Badlands out for a day and thought I'd share my findings.

Ground clearance - The refuge has a requirement of 6" minimum ground clearance. After dropping air pressure from my stock Pirelli Scorpion tires down to 13# I lost two inches and ended up at a hair under 7" clearance. All good there except that I did feel the bash plate level out the tops of some of the deeper ruts, but my Wrangler used to do that too so it didn't bother me.

Four Wheel Drive - To get a permit to drive on the beach and trails the vehicle must have locking 4 wheel drive. Newer vehicles must have this indicated on the dash by a light, while older ones can be by practical demonstration. Up until last year AWD vehicles could get a permit if they had the ground clearance, but with the many types of AWD they are now all banned because they get stuck too often. Right or wrong, only FE or BS trim levels are permitted on the refuge.

On the beach - Since this was my first time in the BS I knew how I wanted it to handle based on my experience with the F-150 I usually drive. But rather than doing what I wanted I decided to stick with Ford's plan, so I selected the G.O.A.T. Sand Mode and also turned the Advanced Traction Control off (we require all drivers to do this as vehicles handle better in the sand and save their brake pads). The BS actually handled a bit better than the F-150, probably because it is lighter. It could jump from on track to another much more easily (see the photos below). The only time I felt it want to spin was reversing across tracks in a U-turn, but I just feathered the gas and it locked right in and moved across.

What I didn't like - My only complaint is that in G.O.A.T Sand Mode the shift to a higher gear is delayed.... a lot. I found running at 3000 RPM and 14 MPH annoying so I mostly stayed at 12 MPH which was 2500 RPM (still annoying). I have never tried the manual gear management on the F-150 and didn't want to try it on this trip in the BS because I had nothing to compare it to.

In summation - When we packed up and left the beach I forgot to put it into G.O.A.T. Sand Mode and simply drove off. The F-150 stays in 4WD after shutting it off but does turn Advanced Traction Control Back on. The BS reverts to Normal with ATC on. After hopping across a couple of tracks and driving fine I noticed and put it in Sand Mode and turned ATC off. Honestly, except for it downshifting and higher PRMs I didn't notice any handling change.

Takeaways - I think that when tires are properly aired down to 13-15#, the G.O.A.T. Normal Mode on all trim levels will handle 95% of all beaches. I would not want to tackle ours without the locking 4WD. Also, I think I am done with G.O.A.T Sand Mode and next week when we go out again I will simply hit the 4WD and ATC buttons and go for it. While I realize the higher RPMs drive more cooling to the Badlands clutch units, I don't think it will be an issue... unless I get the dreaded "Off Road Capabilities Disabled" message!

Beach1.jpg
Beach2.jpg

 

Osco

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You have those extra high rev’s in sand mode for a reason.
That being the engine works far less @ 3,000 rpm’s as opposed to 2500 while in deep sand. Sand unlike mud grabs a bunch a tire and tries its best to keep it from rotating.
I can’t imagine how much of an unnecessary strain you put on your motor, If any.
Next time out before you get into deep sand come to a stop and hit the Low button then Goat to Sand. Tell us if that helped.
Only had my BS in deep sand once and I held just above 3,000 rpm, say 3,400.
Everything seemed fine
Note to self: never buy a used Bronco sport.
 
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Osco

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I’d buy a used Jeep or a Used Bronco.
But not a Sport, It’s just an Escape on Steroids, very good steroids but still.
 
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magicbus

magicbus

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I’d buy a used Jeep or a Used Bronco.
But not a Sport, It’s just an Escape on Steroids, very good steroids but still.
Maybe that’d work for you. I traded my fifth Jeep, a 2016 2-door Wrangler because I was really tired of getting beat up and bounced around. I wanted a unibody instead of body on frame, and something a bit more refined. I almost went for the Bronco, but it is really too big for our streets and it is body on frame. My only real off-road requirement was the beach, and it seems to have worked, even if I’m relying on steroids :sunglasses:.
 


thekingprawn

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Thanks for the review. I'll get my own try at it in July when I'm headed to the Wa coast.
 

Glamdring70

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I had nearly the same experience on our west coast sand. I don't bother to air down though. The Badlands drives fine at 32-35lbs but I do have the Falken option, not the standard factory tires.

The Sand goat mode just revs too high and is unnecessarily loud and rough. With the Badland/FE advanced controls, you can just leave it in Normal and hit the simple TC-Off button or the 4W lock button. The car drives fine as long as you're going basically straight and level. If you want to climb a dune or, like here, the egress point is fairly steep hill and pretty chewed up from the people that bomb it, then you can drop to Sand mode there and drive right through. Without the advanced drive system of the upper trim, I probably would do something different. The one advantage of the Sand mode is that the front camera goes active. You can manually engage it in Normal but the car shuts it off when you get moving fast enough.
 

Osco

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All I’m saying is I’d always use the sand mode in deep sand.
 


Osco

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[You can manually engage it in Normal but the car shuts it off when you get moving fast enough.]
I know why this happens.
Bunch’s guys out drinking in the woods, one is bound to come up with it.
“Hey boyz I got a great idea!
We can leave the windshield shade in place and drive to the liquor store all hunched down using the front camera ! That way the police won’t se us !!”
 

fourthgear

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I use Sand mode & low also in deep Sand , works fine .The first time I didn't take traction control off & the factory air in the Michelin m/s Tires was 41# & still had no issues .
 

Mark S.

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I think the 1.5 has a low where ours has a M on the shifter .
Ahhh. I think you're right. From the Manual:

Low(L)
With your vehicle in drive (D), press the low (L) button to activate low mode.
  • Provides maximum engine braking.
  • You can shift the transmission into low (L) at any vehicle speed.
  • Is not for use under extended or normal driving conditions and results in lower fuel economy.
It doesn't say what gear it keeps the transmission in, but my guess would 2nd. Anyone know?

 

 
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