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Are you in the market for a rugged, compact SUV? The 2023 Mazda CX-50 and the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport are the hottest newcomers in this competitive market segment. With the all-new CX-50, the Japanese carmaker seems to be targeting buyers looking for a more sophisticated SUV, emphasizing its crisp handling and off-road capabilities. 

Similarly, the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is targeted at shoppers looking for an ostensibly compact crossover SUV with improved off-road capability. As you can see, both vehicles are pretty similar. So, which is the better off-road oriented crossover SUV between the two? We found the 2023 Mazda CX-50 more compelling in a few areas, and we’ll tell you why. 

1. Better performance with the 2023 Mazda MX-50

A 2023 Mazda CX-50 parked on a bridge over a river near snowy mountains as the sun sets
A 2023 Mazda CX-50 parked on a bridge | MAZDA NORTH AMERICAN OPERATIONS

Both the 2023 Mazda CX-50 and the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport deliver impressive performance on and off the road. The CX-50 comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. However, a turbocharged version increases output to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft, respectively. 

The Bronco Sport comes with two turbocharged options, with the bigger 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine turning in 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. As you can see, the CX-50’s SKYACTIV turbo engine has a significant advantage when it comes to power and torque. It’s also smoother and quieter. 

2. The Mazda has superior fuel economy 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is not only the more powerful of the two engines, but it also delivers better value for your fuel dollars. The CX-50’s standard 2.5-liter engine is rated for 24 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway, with the turbocharged version coming in at 23 mpg and 29 mpg, respectively. 

In comparison, the EPA rates Ford Bronco Sport’s 2-liter engine at 21 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. That’s a significant difference in fuel economy between the two turbocharged engines. As you can see, Mazda’s SKYACTIV turbo engine increases power and torque output with minimum impact on fuel consumption. 

3. The CX-50 provides a better driving experience

An important aspect to consider when shopping for a vehicle is the driving experience. How does the vehicle feel from behind the wheel? While both crossover SUVs are satisfying on the road and on the trail, the CX-50 edges out the Ford Bronco Sport in many aspects. 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 delivers a surprisingly pleasant on-road experience, especially for a vehicle that — according to Mazda — is designed to get the most out of the outdoors. 

4. Competitive pricing of the CX-50 and Bronco Sport compared

Price is often the most significant consideration when making a purchase as huge as a car. You want to get the best value for your money, and, again, the Mazda CX-50 comes out on top in this department. Consumer Reports puts the starting price of the 2023 Mazda CX-50 at $26,800 and the Ford Bronco Sport at $28,815. 

Granted, that’s only a $2,000 difference. However, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 gives you the best bang for your buck if you consider performance and fuel economy.

5. Higher-end tech features and equipment on the Mazda CX-50

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 comes with a plethora of standard or optional high-end features and equipment, even on base model units. These include adaptive cruise control, a self-dimming rear-view mirror, and rain-sensing wipers. Most buyers will appreciate the more upscale tech features and equipment on the CX-50. 

By and large, the Ford Bronco Sport meets the needs targeted by the 2023 Mazda CX-50 — adventure-seeking drivers active in an outdoor, off-road setting. However, with its superior performance, upscale tech and features, on-road driving manners, and better fuel economy, the CX-50 is cut a class above the Ford Bronco Sport. 


Ford Bronco Sport vs. Mazda CX-50: Which SUV Do You Want on the Trails?