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The 2023 Mazda CX-50 was designed to be a little more rugged compared to similar SUVs in its class. Its enhanced AWD technology and motion control make it a great car for any outdoor adventure. It’s also nearly as affordable as the Mazda CX-5, starting at $27,550.

One of the Mazda CX-50’s most popular rivals is the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport. Thanks to numerous production delays, many potential drivers haven’t even had the chance to test drive one yet. That’s why we’re here to tell you three reasons why the Ford Bronco Sport is the superior off-roading compact SUV.

1. The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport has more standard torque

A yellow-gold 2022 Ford Bronco Sport driving off-road through a snowy field near a forest and mountains
2022 Ford Bronco Sport | The Ford Motor Company

According to Ford, the entry-level Bronco Sport’s turbo-three engine makes 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. That comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard 4WD. 

The Mazda CX-50’s base engine doesn’t have any turbo power, though it still generates a healthy 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. AWD is standard, but it comes with a shorter six-speed automatic gearbox.

However, it’s worth noting that the Mazda CX-50’s optional turbo-four engine makes 256 hp and a whopping 320 lb-ft of torque. Car and Driver preferred this powertrain because of its peppy 6.6-second 0 to 60 mph time. Meanwhile, the Ford Bronco Sport’s available turbo-four, exclusive to the Badlands model, makes 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque.

It’s also cheaper to gain access to the CX-50’s turbo engine compared to the Bronco Sport’s. According to Mazda, you’ll pay at least $37,150 for the 2.5 Turbo trim. The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands has an estimated price tag of $41,505.

Of course, the Badlands trim includes a bunch of trail-focused equipment that the CX-50 doesn’t offer. Ford says these models come with an off-roading suspension, two extra terrain settings for the G.O.A.T function, and off-road cuisine control.

Mazda has announced a Mazda CX-50 Meridian Edition with some more adventuring equipment, but it hasn’t been released yet. When it’s available, it will have an MSRP of $39,950.

2. The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has a smaller cargo capacity

According to Edmunds, the Mazda CX-50 can hold over 56 cubic feet of items in the cargo area. If every seat is upright, that total shrinks closer to 31 cubic feet.

When every Ford Bronco Sport seat is in use, you’ll have over 32 cubic feet of storage area. In total, the Bronco Sport has over 65 cubic feet of cargo room. You’ll also be able to use that space more effectively because of the Bronco Sport’s square body structure.

The Bronco Sport is the winner regarding front seat headroom, legroom, and shoulder area. The seats in both rows also have more adjustability options. However, the Mazda CX-50 gives passengers a little more wiggle room in the backseat.

According to Car and Driver, the Bronco Sport’s cargo area also serves multiple uses. Each model has a 400-watt inverter, a bottle opener, and a sliding work surface.

3. The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport has better braking distances

According to Consumer Reports, the Ford Bronco Sport can brake from 60 to 0 mph in 126 ft on dry surfaces. It needs 135 ft to accomplish the same feat on wet pavement, but that’s still very reassuring. Despite some evident understeering, CR was satisfied overall with the Bronco Sport’s handling.

In comparison, the Mazda CX-50 requires 131 ft of stopping distance on dry pavement. Consumer Reports cautions that the CX-50 may need at least 142 ft to brake on slippery surfaces. While it’s still one of the most confident SUVs in the segment, the Ford Bronco Sport offers slightly more utility.


Driven: The Rugged Ford Bronco Sport vs. The Sporty Mazda CX-50