The Ford Bronco and Subaru Forester have a reputation among cross-over lovers for their value proposition and versatility. Even when they don’t always deliver, people often find the proposition of a family SUV durable enough to handle outdoorsy adventuring almost irresistible. Last year’s Bronco and Forester were big successes, and while the 2022 models are likely to do even better, we don’t know how they fair against the most popular competitors in their range– each other. We’re putting them to the test with this review.
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport like all cars in the line before it is heavily influenced by retro Broncos. It has a distinct compact truck-like look that is underpinned by its surprisingly large interior space and design.
The 2022 Subaru Forester sports the compact-truck look, but it’s entirely unlike the Broncos. It had a large grill, powerful accents, big, bright fog lights while still feeling as comfortable and spacious as everyday SUVs. For a sportier flourish, Subaru included a tail spoiler and fin to compliment the relatively take-tame design.
Both vehicles have ample lift, each some 8 + inches above the ground, and on every model aside from the base feature 17-inch tires.
Performance and Transmission
The Ford Bronco Sport has the Subaru Forester beat in pure performance.
On the base models, both SUVs feature engines with similar capacities. The ford has all-wheel drive trains supported by a 181-horsepower, turbocharged 1-5 liter base engine, while the Forester rocks a 182-horsepower 2.5-liter petrol engine with a towing capacity of over 1500 pounds.
But on the higher trims options for both vehicles though, the Ford Bronco dominates the competition with its 245- horsepower turbo 2.0-liter engine. It uses a standard 8-speed automatic transmission, improved cooling, and can tow up to 2200 pounds.
Paired with improved suspensions and better ground clearance, it might look like a clear win for the Bronco, but don’t count the Subaru Forester out yet. It can shuttle from 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds, uses a CVT or continuously variable automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Together, these features make the Forester handle better. It corners like a car half-it’s weight.
Fuel Economy ratings take the front seat in almost any discussion about high-quality crossover SUVs. When the hours on the road pile on, the difference in fuel consumption shows. Luckily, The Ford Bronco Sport and the Subaru Forester have great fuel efficiency.
The Forester EPA- fuel economy ratings in testing nearly match the numbers given by the manufacturer and other popular competitors in its category. It takes 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on highways.
The Ford Bronco Sport was not made with fuel efficiency at the forefront of its design, but it still delivered respectable numbers. It rocks a three-cylinder engine and is rated for 25 mpg in the city and 28 on highways.
Interior, Cargo, and Comfort
The Ford Bronco Sport and Subaru Foresters are set up every differently on the insides. While they are both built for comfort, terrain traversal, and feature large cabins, the execution is vastly different.
The Subaru Forester sports a predictable, safe, and tried-and-tested design. The seats and dash are finished with a mix of leather and high-quality soft-touch material. It has rear foldable seats that can extend into a trunk with plenty of space to cram your personal effects while you’re traveling.
The Bronco Sport swings wildly in the other direction. The inside is not the best we’ve seen, but the car more than redeems itself in other important areas. It has a slightly taller cabin and highly versatile storage options baked into the conventional cargo hold and backseat. The cargo hold can open up into a workspace, with its easy slide-out table. It also has a 400-watt inverter and LED light, and floor upholstery on some models.
Overall, the vehicle leans hard into the off-road and wilderness survival aesthetic, which makes it somewhat rare in its category as an off-road SUV that delivers more than just basic and specifications.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Subaru Forester has a better interface than the standard Bronco Sport. While the infotainment screen is somewhat smaller than what you’d typically find on SUVs in its price range with a simple 6.5-inch screen, more expensive trims — Sport, Limited, and Touring- offer an 8-inch display. It also has 2.1 USB ports and 9-volt adapters scattered throughout the car for easy charging. Advanced Navigation is optional on most models, and the car runs well enough on Apple Carplay and Android Auto. All its internet features are powered by its high-speed Wi-Fi onboard.
The infotainment system is not as robust on the Bronco Sport. All models feature a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen, which supports Sync 3, Ford’s proprietary software. It also comes with basic Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but you can spring for the SiriusXM satellite or a better audio system. It takes screen touch and voice, as well as physical keypresses and knob dials.
Warranty and Verdict
The warranty on both cars is basic, but they work. Car owners can choose between the Limited warranties covering 3 years of travel or 36,000 miles or the Powertrain warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles. There are no complimentary maintenance services that we find on cars like the RAV4 and Sportage.
Overall, either choice is remarkable for what they provide: quality service and performance at a convenient price point. Both cars are far from perfect, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Price and personal preference are what it might come down to, especially with cars like these. The Ford Bronco Sport starts at 28,760, and the basic Subaru Forester starts at $26,320.