Ford's new 2021 Bronco Sport proved its mettle off the beaten path before tackling the trials and tribulations of suburban commuting. Although it's not in showrooms yet, it won first place in its category in the 2020 Rebelle Rally.
Organizers split the women-only event into two categories named X-Cross and 4x4. Crossovers like the Bronco Sport are lumped into the former, while SUVs fall into the latter. Shelby Hall and Penny Dale drove the Bronco Sport to victory by beating a 2020 Kia Telluride, a 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, plus two other Bronco Sports also sponsored by Ford. They scored 1,089 points, a result that makes them 14th overall, but their victory is impressive because the soft-roader they drove was unmodified.
Ford chose not to enter its full-size Bronco into the race. If it had, the truck might have won, because first overall went to its arch rival: the 2020 Jeep Wrangler. Kaleigh Miller and Teralin Petereit finished on top of the podium with 1,427 points. Rachelle Croft and Taylor Pawley took second (1,399 points) in a Lexus-prepared LX570, while third went to Christine and Emily Benzie, who scored 1,366 points in an unmodified 2018 Jeep Wrangler.
Held annually in the American West, the Rebelle isn't a timed event, so participants don't need jaw-dropping, rally car-like horsepower figures to win. Instead, beating the competition requires hitting certain checkpoints, many of which are located far away from anything resembling a beaten path, and out of the average crossover's reach. It's described as "a hybrid of serious competition and the ultimate road trip" by its organizers.