A Look at Lighting Options for Your Bronco Sport
If you’ve just brought home a Ford Bronco Sport, and are already contemplating upgrades, it’s very likely that the addition of aftermarket off-road lighting for your new ride will be high on your list. And it’s no wonder — in addition to providing a ton of utility and an elevated level of safety when you get that urge to disembark from the asphalt, well-placed auxiliary lighting just flat out looks cool. So cool, in fact, that you might be tempted to add it even if your plans don’t call for much off-roading in the near future.
(A disclaimer here: If, by chance you do fall into this category, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the regulations involving vehicle lighting, as some of what we’re going to discuss here will involve options that are not intended for the street.)
One of the great things about this upgrade is its ready adaptation to customization. You can not only add off-road lighting to your Bronco Sport based on its anticipated use, but also to achieve just the right look you’re going for. Combine a bar lighting unit with maybe some fog lights and you come away with a Sport that will easily stand out from the crowd. But unlike some of the steps we often tend to gravitate towards in the name of customization, the addition of aftermarket lighting has a thoroughly practical side, as well.
The Practical Side of Off-Road Lighting
Any time that you find yourself in less than optimal sunlight, your off-road lighting will pay dividends. This goes not only for those times when you’re on the trail at night. Getting advanced notice of any rapidly approaching obstacles — rocks, dips in the road, debris, etc. — can often make the difference between narrowly avoiding damage or finding yourself taking the brunt of it. And, since you may well be far away from anyone else when that magnetic pull of adventure-seeking strikes, getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere because you did end up running afoul of an unseen obstacle can be very inconvenient at best and downright dangerous at worst.
Since enhanced lighting will allow you to properly assess what lies before you and respond accordingly, it can undeniably be considered a safety feature. And as a side note, should you ever come across a stranded fellow off-roader on your travels and stop to help, being able to light up the area around you is a big plus.
LED Technology is Now the Most Popular Choice for Off-Road Lighting
As we've discussed previously, through the years the favored off-road technology has shifted quite a bit. Back in the earlier days of off-roading, halogen technology absolutely ruled the roost. It was relatively inexpensive and, though it did have its drawbacks, it did what it was supposed to, so there was a time when its unmistakable warm yellow tint could be seen on trails nearly everywhere.
When BMW introduced HID (high-intensity discharge) on its 7-series sedans in the early ’90s, it was a game changer. The new technology took hold on luxury sedans and off-road vehicles alike. Those crystal-clear beams had a bright white glow that was every bit as intense as its technological name suggested and they were very effective at lighting the path ahead — whether that path was an asphalt highway or a remote mountain trail.
Fast forward to the present and LED technology now dominates the off-road lighting landscape. And with good reason. For starters, LED technology is durable. It can withstand a broad temperature range and is largely both vibration proof and shock resistant.
It also lasts a long time. A VERY long time, in fact — generally between 20,000 and 40,000 hours of use. That’s longer than many people own their off-road vehicles for. LED off-road lighting is also very efficient — put LED lighting side by side with halogen and you’ll find that LED lighting can achieve the same level of brightness as its predecessor while drawing only about 10% of the power.
As additional bonuses, LED lighting also hits its full illumination ability with no perceptible warm-up period and runs cooler than any other lighting technology.
It’s no wonder that LED-powered off-road lighting has gotten to be so popular.
Off-Road Lighting Configurations for Your Bronco Sport
Mounted on your Sport’s roof or bumper, bar lighting is a great multipurpose off-road lighting solution. (Note the emphasis on “off-road” here, as you won’t be able to fire up this type of lighting while on the asphalt.) It’s no wonder why bar lighting units like this Ford Racing 40-Inch Rigid LED Light Bar Kit are nearly always the first lighting upgrade to be considered. They definitely check that curb appeal box and most off-road enthusiasts will end up getting plenty of use out them.
As you’ll see from their design, bar lighting units shine their light in a broad pattern, so in most cases you’ll not only get better illumination of the road ahead but should also get a better view of the periphery to each side as well.
And again, they sure look cool.
Once you have your basic illumination needs covered, you may well seek a solution that, when the situation calls for it, will give you the ability to aim your lighting a substantial distance in front of you —again, effective lighting can really make a difference in identifying and responding properly to obstacles in your path.
This is where spotlight units such as the Baja Designs Clear Squadron Pro Spot LED Light Pods come in. Perched at the base of your Bronco Sport’s windshield, or mounted on its roof for maximum reach, these spotlights send out a focused beam well in front of you, affording you with plenty of reaction time to respond to potentially dangerous obstacles while you’re off-roading.
Just as you might glean from their name, driving lights are a versatile upgrade and, when installed and aimed properly, they’re street legal, too. Ideally located right next to the factory headlights on your Sport’s grille, driving lights amplify the ability of your factory headlights when they’re on high beam mode, lighting a path that projects both much farther and broader than what your standard equipment is capable of.
Even when you’re not out on the trail seeking adventure, driving lights can come in handy to increase your overall visibility — especially when driving at night.
Many people confuse fog lights with driving lights. After all, both are generally street legal in most cases and both are intended to enhance visibility even on well-paved asphalt roads.
There are some distinctions, however. Whereas driving lights will augment your Sport’s factory headlights in order to increase visibility in front of the driver, fog lights serve a different purpose.
Fog lights like the ones included in this Baja Designs Amber S1 Wide Cornering LED Fog Pocket Light Kit are intended to be focused lower relative to the road in order to help guide you forward in adverse conditions without highlighting fog or rain that would actually decrease your ability to see the road. Because of their lower focus, fog lights also don’t tend to interfere with oncoming motorists, although using them in obviously clear weather can lead to an infraction in some jurisdictions. Because of their intended lower focus, fog lights are often mounted on a vehicle’s front bumper, below the headlights.
So for those of you who have just recently pulled a new Ford Bronco Sport — or, for that matter, any off-road suitable vehicle — into your garage, what’s the first lighting upgrade you’ll be considering?