Consumer Reports Hates the 2022 Ford Bronco but Loves the Ford Bronco Sport

Many Ford fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of the Bronco. The new 2022 Ford Bronco has arrived to compete with the popular Jeep Wrangler, among others. The team at Consumer Reports checked it out and found it to be a better daily commute vehicle than the Wrangler.

However, that was the nicest thing the CR team had to say about the new Ford Bronco that they consider mediocre at best. They love the new Ford Bronco Sport model, though. So, what’s going on here?

2022 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco midsize SUV prototype with a gold yellow paint color and donut doors
Ford Bronco prototype | The Ford Motor Company

The team at Consumer Reports took a look at the new 2022 Ford Bronco. Compared to Jeep Wrangler, the team preferred the Bronco’s ride comfort and handling. They also found it could hold its own off-roading against Wrangler. On predicted owner satisfaction, they gave it a 5/5 rating.

However, that’s where the accolades end. For an overall score, CR gave the 2022 Ford Bronco an underwhelming 47/100. It only managed a 55/100 on the rigorous road test and got a low 2/5 on predicted reliability. So what did Consumer Reports find fault with?

During testing in an Outer Banks model, the reviewers found the new Bronco competitive off the pavement but not so much on it. The Bronco’s stopping distances were among the longest the team had seen in years. On dry pavement, it took 149 feet to stop from 60 mph. On a wet road, it needed 168 feet to stop. There are full-size pickup trucks that can stop at shorter distances.

The CR team also wasn’t impressed with the new Bronco’s fuel numbers either. The test model had an optional 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 engine with a power output of 215 horsepower. It also came with four-wheel drive, which is standard across the lineup. This contributed to the Bronco getting an overall 18 mpg in during testing.

Lastly, Consumer Reports explained that excessive wind noise hurt Bronco’s road-test score. It couldn’t compete with other two-row SUVs in its class that were more effective in managing noise. Off-road, the noise level was on par with peers like Toyota 4Runner, Land Rover Defender, and Wrangler. 

2022 Ford Bronco Sport

The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport was a different story for the Consumer Reports team. CR gave the new Bronco Sport an 82/100 overall score and 75/100 on its road test and gave it a coveted recommendation. Like the Bronco, the Bronco Sport got a 5/5 on predicted owner satisfaction. Unlike the regular Bronco, the Bronco Sport earned a 5/5 on predicted reliability.

CR also liked the Bronco Sport’s “outdoorsy character.” The review team found its controls easy to use, the cabin spacious and found its handling agility to be pretty good. It had a few flaws but minor ones. For example, you’re limited on how much you can adjust the driver’s seat, the standard engine vibrates in lower gears, and it has a firm ride.

Under its hood, the Ford Bronco Sport has a three-cylinder turbocharged engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It has an output of 181 horsepower.

Why the Bronco Sport is the winner

The Ford Bronco Sport’s biggest advantage over the regular Ford Bronco is predicted reliability. Consumer Reports estimates that the Bronco Sport will hold up better over its ownership with fewer trips to the shop for expensive repairs. It gets better fuel economy, too, with an overall 25 mpg rating during testing. The regular Ford Bronco only got an overall 18 mpg.

The Bronco Sport offers enough power for day-to-day driving. You get a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with most trims. It gets 181 horsepower with some vibrations at lower RPMs. CR preferred the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood of the top two trim levels. It offers more power with 245 horses and is more refined with less vibration and improved power delivery.

The Bronco Sport also gets points for comfort. CR explains that while it can be a little choppy over road irregularities, it keeps most of the blows of the road out of the cabin for an enjoyable ride.

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