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The new Ford Bronco lineup that debuted for the 2021 model year has been a huge success. It consists of two SUVs: the Bronco and Bronco Sport. The Bronco is a traditional off-road SUV that rivals the Jeep Wrangler. Meanwhile, the Bronco Sport is a more road-friendly crossover with good off-roading chops.

The two Ford SUVs are popular, having sold hundreds of thousands of units since their launch. However, 2024 Bronco Sport owners are much more satisfied in one area than Bronco drivers.

2024 Ford Bronco Sport owners report having a better driving experience

2023 Ford Bronco Sport trims: Heritage Edition
2023 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford Motor Company

Owner surveys reveal the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport provides a better driving experience than the Bronco. In J.D. Power’s rankings, Bronco Sport owners ranked this SUV as “great” in the Driving Experience category, scoring 86 out of 100. The Bronco received only an “average” 78.

The data analytics firm says this score is based on “owners’ evaluation of the vehicle’s design, performance, comfort, functionality, safety, and technology.”

So, performance isn’t the only factor at play. If it were, the Bronco would probably get a better score. The standard engine in most 2024 Bronco Sport trims is a turbocharged three-cylinder, making only 180 hp. It’s adequate for daily driving but not exactly thrilling. However, the more exciting Badlands trim packs a 250-hp turbo-four.

By contrast, every engine in the 2024 Bronco is more potent than the most potent powerplant in the Bronco Sport. The Bronco’s base engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder producing up to 300 hp with premium gas. The available 2.7-liter turbo V6 generates 410 hp, while the mighty Bronco Raptor harnesses 418 hp.

How does the 2024 Ford Bronco Sport give owners a better driving experience?

Because the Bronco has stronger engines than the Bronco Sport, why do owners give the weaker SUV a better driving experience score? It’s likely because the Bronco Sport has a more car-like ride, and the Bronco drives more like a truck.

The Bronco Sport has unibody construction, which gives it a smoother, quieter ride, with the trade-off of compromised off-road capability. Because the Bronco is primarily an off-roader, its truck-like body-on-frame construction gives it a rougher ride on the pavement. The Bronco is also noisier on the highway.

The trade-off in the Bronco is worth it for off-road enthusiasts who don’t mind the harsher ride quality. However, for the average driver, the comfier Bronco Sport is more tolerable to live with daily.

A red 2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Edition retro-styled two-door SUV
2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Edition | Ford Motor Company

The Ford Bronco and Ford Bronco Sport are very close in sales numbers. Recent reports show the Bronco Sport has sold 96,375 units in 2023, while the Bronco has sold 91,468. However, at this time last year, the Bronco outsold its sibling.

In addition, the many SUV shoppers choosing the Bronco over the Bronco Sport will enjoy better resale value. According to J.D. Power, the 2024 Bronco gets a “great” resale score of 82, but the Bronco Sport has an “average” 76.