The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Got Slaughtered By the 2021 Subaru Forester on Consumer Reports

While the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport isn’t the real Ford Bronco, it was still a highly anticipated SUV. Its killer styling, competent chassis, and solid four-wheel-drive system have many customers very excited to drive their new Bronco Sport. However, after multiple recalls already and a very stout competition pool, the Bronco Sport might be heading for struggles. Consumer Reports confirm the struggles after the 2021 Subaru Forester absolutely crushed the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. 

A black 2021 Ford Bronco Sport kicking up dirt
2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

Why did the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport do so poorly on Consumer Reports? 

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport was never going to be a show stopper. The whole purpose was for Ford to offer a cheaper alternative to the main attraction: the bigger, better equipped 2021 Ford Bronco. For this reason, it was never going to compete with Jeep Wranglers, 4Runners, or the bigger Bronco. The Bronco Sport has to contend with some of the most popular and best segments in the automotive industry – the crossover and midsize SUVs – like the 2021 Subaru Forester. 

The 2021 Bronco Sport received a 60/100 on Consumer Reports overall rating. As with most cars with a rough overall score, the Bronco Sport got hit hard on its predicted reliability. Ford used the Escape as the base for the outdoorsy off-roader. Unfortunately for the Bronco Sport’s sake, it has inherited the Ford Escape’s poor reliability history. This shows in the fact that the Bronco Sport has already seen three recalls in its short time in the wild. 

How does the Ford Bronco Sport compare to the 2021 Subaru Forester? 

A white 2021 Subaru Forester driving with a bicycle on top crushed it on Consumer Reports
2021 Subaru Forester | Subaru

The 2021 Subaru Forester landed a very impressive score of 89/100 on Consumer Reports. From safety to reliability the Forester killed in pretty much every category. The only real mark against the Forester was that it can be a bit noisy. The little 2.5-liter four-cylinder gets raspy when under pressure in the higher RPM. Although the engine is a bit weak, this crossover SUV still gets 28 mpg combined.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport comes with two engine options: a 181-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, and a 245-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. While these engine options are pretty cool, the best the Ford Bronco Sport can do is 25 mpg. The four-cylinder, of course, is less efficient. 

Both the 2021 Subaru Forester and the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport are nimble for the segment. In fact, the Ford Bronco Sport is based on one of the best-handling SUVs in the market. Although the Subaru can get noisy at speed, the Bronco Sport is annoying in the opposite way. Consumer Reports noted a low rumbling and vibration at idle and low speeds. 

Does the Bronco Sport or the Forester have better four-wheel-drive performance? 

A yellow 2021 Ford Bronco Sport kicking up dirt
2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

Obviously, neither of these cars is sporty or luxurious. Judging them on such things might be a tad fruitless. However, they both come from a long line of 4×4 off-roaders and it is here that they ought to be judged.

The Bronco Sport has the higher ground clearance. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all that much. Consumer Reports mentions that although it is marketed as a hardcore adventure machine, the reality is that the Sport will get in over its roof quickly if it tries to handle more than some light to medium trails. The G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) selector includes five modes that optimize the 4WD system for various conditions, including a specific Sand mode. 

At the same time, the 2021 Subaru Forester is also not meant for rock crawling, but it does have a very smart and capable off-road driving mode known as X-Mode. This setting activates limited-slip programming that keeps all the wheels pulling in the same direction and at the proper times.

Both SUVs have capable AWD systems, but the truth is they aren’t boulder hopping off-roaders in the same way that the Bronco or Jeep Wrangler is. At the end of the day, the 2021 Subaru Forester is more comfortable, reliable, safe, and cheaper than the 2021 Ford Bronco Sport. The Bronco Sport runs from $27,215 – $38,160. The Subaru starts at $24,795 and tops out at $34,895. 

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