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

The last thing you want to face when you’re deep in the wilderness is regret over your vehicle purchase. Of course, if you’re already deep in the weeds, the SUV that got you there should also bring you home. Should you drive the Ford Bronco Sport or the Mazda CX-50 when you want some time on the trails? Which of these rugged off-road-ready SUVs is good between the lines? Let’s find out.

2022 Ford Bronco Sport2023 Mazda CX-50
Price Range$28,265 – 36,590$26,800 – $41,550
Engine Options1.5-liter EcoBoost four | 2.0-liter EcoBoost four2.5-liter four-cylinder | 2.5-liter turbo four
Horsepower 181 horsepower | 250 horsepower187 horsepower | 227 horsepower
Torque190 lb-ft | 227 lb-ft186 lb-ft | 310 lb-ft
Transmission8-speed automatic6-speed automatic
MPG Rating25/28 mpg | 21/26 mpg24/30 mpg | 23/29 mpg
Data from Autoguide.com

How much room does each SUV offer in the cabin?

Front Dash Area 2023 Mazda CX-50
Front Dash Area 2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

Autoguide.com tells us the new Mazda CX-50 is three inches wider than the previous CX-5 and seven inches longer while sitting lower. That lower stance is a bit of an enigma because the CX-50 has better ground clearance than the CX-5. You’ll find 41.7 inches of front legroom and 39.8 inches for rear passengers.

Turning to the Ford Bronco Sport, we see 40.8 inches of front legroom with 36.9 inches for the rear passengers. The headroom is much better in the Ford, with 3.1 inches more clearance for rear passengers.

What if you want a bit of style in your SUV?

If you’re looking for the more stylish cabin of these two, you’ll want to go with the Mazda CX-50. The Ford Bronco Sport is rugged and attractive, but Mazda brings its reputation for premium cabin elements to the CX-50 to give you a high-quality place to enjoy your ride.

Can the Mazda CX-50 carry more gear than the Ford Bronco Sport?

This Loaded Bronco Sport is handling the  Towing
Bronco Sport Towing | Ford

The maximum tow rating for the CX-50 is 3,500 pounds, and the cargo area measures 31.4 cubic feet behind the second row. This space expands to 56.3 cubic feet with folded rear seats. The Mazda has a lower load floor than the Ford, making it a little easier to access.

Turning to the Bronco Sport SUV, we see a cargo area that measures 29.4 cubic feet and a tow rating of 2,200 pounds. The rear cargo area expands to 60.6 cubic feet with the seats folded. The Bronco Sport also features an available built-in workstation counter secured in the tailgate to give you extra surface area for your outdoor camping or cooking needs.

Which SUV has the tech advantage?

Mazda CX-50

A 2023 Mazda CX-50 compact crossover SUV driving on a dirt road as dust trails around it
2023 Mazda CX-50 | MAZDA

Standard models receive:

  • Rain-sensing wiper
  • Self-dimming rearview mirror
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Two USB ports
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Push-button starting
  • 7-inch infotainment display

Upgraded trims offer:

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Dual-zone climate control
  •  Heated mirrors and wipers
  • Power liftgate
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Bose audio system

Ford Bronco Sport

A Dark Green 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Out on the Trails
2022 Ford Bronco Sport | Ford

Standard models feature:

  • Built-in bottle opener
  • Ambient liftgate floodlights
  • 4.2-inch digital gauge cluster
  • Dual USB ports

Upgraded trims feature:

  • MOLLE strap equipment holder system
  • Automatic climate controls
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • 110-volt power inverter
  • Additional power outlets
  • Up-sized display screen
  • Bang & Olufsen sound system

Should you drive the Mazda CX-50 or the Ford Bronco Sport?

The Mazda starts at a lower price and comes with more tech and power for your daily driving pleasure. That said, the Ford does have some impressive on-road manners and equipment you want on the trails, like the MOLLE strap.

If you know you’ll spend a lot of time in the wilderness, the GOAT mode off-road driving system of the Bronco Sport delivers more capability on the trails. On the other hand, when you only head to the wilderness occasionally, the daily comfort, quality, and power of the CX-50 could make it the right SUV for you to drive.

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