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Ford has recently been pitting its small off-road SUV, the Ford Bronco Sport, against other small SUVs in YouTube video comparisons. The Bronco Sport may not seem like a formidable foe for the Subaru Forester, but it does have serious off-roading chops. Which small SUV model is the better buy?

The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is a more affordable Bronco

A blue 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is driving off-road.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

After its long hiatus, the Ford Bronco’s reemergence sent shockwaves through the automotive industry. Old Bronco fans wanted to experience the nostalgic SUV, and new Ford fans wanted to see what the hype was all about. The Bronco was quickly sold out after reservations and pre-orders filled.

The high demand for the Bronco created a strong resale market. Consumers went on auction websites like eBay and placed bids for double the Bronco’s MSRP. The Bronco Sport is a smaller SUV that offers many of the same off-road features and thrills as the larger Bronco model. Many consumers could severely underrate it.

The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport starts a $28,265. It uses a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine to make 181 horsepower. The small SUV achieves 25 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Bronco Sport’s best trim level is the Sport Badlands. Thanks to a suspension upgrade, the Sport Badlands has 8.8 inches of ground clearance. It also comes standard with bash plates, tow hooks, and a more powerful four-cylinder engine that makes 250 horsepower. The small off-road SUV’s final trim level starts at $36,590. It’s the closest thing consumers can get to an actual Bronco model.

The 2022 Subaru Forester is a natural off-roader

The 2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness compact SUV parked on a leaf-covered path within a forest
2022 Subaru Forester Wilderness | Subaru

Japanese automaker Subaru produces SUVs that are known for their off-roading prowess. The Forester nameplate helped build that reputation. The Subaru Forester has been around since 1997. Decades later, it’s still relevant in the small SUV vehicle segment.

The 2022 Subaru Forester starts at $25,395. It uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to produce 182 horsepower. The small off-road SUV achieves 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Forster’s most capable trim is the Forester Wilderness. It has a whopping 9.2 inches of ground clearance. The SUV features Dual-Function X-Mode (a terrain management system), Yokohama GEOLANDAR all-terrain tires, and a front skid plate. It also includes roof tails and a front-view monitor.

The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport vs. 2022 Subaru Forester

The Ford Bronco Sport is 173 inches long, 74 inches wide, and 70 inches tall. The Subaru Forester is 183 inches long, 72 inches wide, and about 68 inches tall. The Forester is the larger SUV.

The Forester is more affordable than the Bronco Sport. The Subaru Forester Wilderness also comes with more off-road features than the Bronco Sport Badlands. When it comes to the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport vs. 2022 Subaru Forester, the Forster appears to be the better buy from a value standpoint.

The Ford Bronco Sport has a lot of attention surrounding it because of the popularity of its larger sibling. The Forester is a safer bet for consumers looking for an affordable and capable small off-road SUV. Motortrend had a “blast behind the wheel” of the Forester Wilderness trim.

Read about Subaru’s amazing off-road vehicle exhibit at the 2022 NY International Auto Show below.


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