2021 Ford Bronco Sport vs. Subaru Crosstrek: The More Capable SUV Is Clear

Choosing an SUV is harder than ever thanks to a crowded segment. Considering SUVs’ and trucks’ wild popularity in the past couple of years, it’s no surprise automakers are coming out with new models every chance they get. Subaru and Ford are no exception. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and Ford Bronco Sport have plenty in common, including unibody construction.

But on the flip side, their many differences can also make choosing one a tough decision. So, which is the better crossover SUV?

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

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The Subaru Crosstrek has been around for a while and has amassed a loyal following. In fact, few drivers complain about their Crosstrek, putting this compact SUV in a league of its own.

Let’s start with the pros. The 2021 Crosstrek starts at $23,295. Add in standard all-wheel drive, and this makes the Crosstrek one of the cheapest AWD SUVs. Sweetening the deal is its strong resale value.

The Crosstrek also boasts plenty of choices, including a continuously variable automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. A 2.5-liter engine comes exclusively on the Sport and Limited trims, offering plenty of power. And for anyone who wants to save gas, a hybrid option is available. 

Now for the bad. Autotrader calls the base 2.0-liter flat-four engine “noisy and strained when accelerating.” Another problem is that anyone who chooses the stick shift can forget about getting the Subaru EyeSight driver-assist features that come standard on every other model. 

Plus, the back seat is roomy enough, but the cargo space is a little lacking. 

2021 Ford Bronco Sport

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The Ford Bronco Sport is the new crossover on the block, and it’s making a huge splash. Its rugged good looks and cool exterior colors make it pop in an already crowded segment. 

Like the Crosstrek, the Bronco Sport comes with AWD. It also offers two engine options: a 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 250 hp and a 1.5-liter turbo-three making 181 hp. Each pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

The $28,155 starting price puts a real damper on the Bronco Sport because fewer people can afford it. And that’s just the base price. For anyone thinking of upgrading to the Outer Banks or Badlands trim, the price rises accordingly. 

The rear cargo space is superior to the Crosstrek’s. Autotrader even praises the Bronco Sport for its ability to haul two mountain bikes upright with the rear seats folded.

Which is the better crossover SUV?

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When it comes to off-roading, neither of these SUVs is the king of the trail — far from it. They can hit some lighter off-road terrain, but the Crosstrek and Bronco Sport can’t go hard. 

Though Ford has portrayed the Bronco Sport as the real deal, many drivers who’ve put it through its paces have had their fun ruined when the Bronco Sport overheats and leaves them temporarily stranded.

Regardless, the Ford Bronco Sport is a crossover for anyone who wants more of a true SUV feel and look. Though there’s no denying Subaru knows how to make a fun crossover, there’s something to be said for the Bronco Sport’s tough looks and cargo space. For anyone with an adventurous spirit, the Bronco Sport is the obvious pick, as long as you aren’t planning on any hardcore rock crawling.