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

A new off-roading SUV is entering the scene, known as the Mazda CX-50. We’ve personally tested it and can see how it stacks up against the Ford Bronco Sport or Baby Bronco. Check out how the 2023 Mazda CX-50 compares to the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport. 

2023 Mazda CX-50 vs. 2022 Ford Bronco Sport 

2021 Ford Bronco Sport off-roading
2021 Ford Bronco Sport | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The off-roading SUV segment is growing, and we welcome both the 2023 Mazda CX-50 and 2022 Ford Bronco Sport with open arms. But deciding between the two might be a little difficult. 

Let’s start by comparing prices. You can get started with the 2023 Mazda CX-50 for about $26,800, and the 2022 Ford Bronco price begins at about $28,815. The CX-50 may seem a little more attractive, with the potential to save about $2,000. 

Also, the CX-50 gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and up to 30 mpg on the highway. The Bronco Sport gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and up to 28 mpg on the highway. 

Does the CX-50 or Bronco Sport have a better performance? 

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the 2.7-liter turbo-four engine for up to 256 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.2 seconds

With the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport, you get a standard 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the turbocharged 20-liter four-cylinder engine for 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. It also reaches 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. 

The Ford Bronco Sport can tow up to 2,000 lbs, while the Mazda CX-50 can tow up to 3,500 lbs. So, the CX-50 can pull a slightly larger camper. 

You sit lower to the ground in the CX-50, and it feels much sportier with smooth transmission shifts and excellent cornering. The Bronco Sport feels more confident and stable over rough sections of the trail. 

The CX-50 is a bit smoother on the pavement, but the wind noise is more noticeable at highway speeds. It’s also easier to drift around curves on dirt and gravel roads. 

The Bronco Sport has a ground clearance of 8.8 inches, and the CX-50 has an 8.6-inch ground clearance. We felt more confident cross streams and climbing over obstacles in the Bronco Sport.

The CX-50 has above-average off-roading capabilities, while the Bronco Sport is much more advanced for off-roading with a more robust suspension and more off-roading modes. 

Does the CX-50 or Bronco Sport have better features? 

2023 Mazda CX-50 off-roading
2023 Mazda CX-50 | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 has a more luxurious interior with upscale materials. The 2022 Ford Bronco Sort has a high-quality interior too, but it’s more durable with rubberized flooring and surfaces that are easier to clean. 

The CX-50 provides 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 56.3 cubes total. The Bronco Sport has 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear with up to 65.3 cubes. 

Both SUVs have a standard 8.8-inch infotainment screen, but you can upgrade to a 10.3-inch unit in the CX-50. The Bronco Sport has tech that’s easier to use but doesn’t have a dual-zone climate and a head-up display like the CX-50. 

We rank the rugged Ford Bronco Sport as the better off-roader and adventuring vehicle. But the Mazda CX-50 can still enter the wild and provides a more engaging experience for daily driving, especially with the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. 

While the Bronco Sport has more cargo space and a more practical interior, the CX-50 features more creature comfort. Do you want a luxury experience or more capability?

RELATED: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport Review: From Daily Driving to Off-Roading