The casual adventurer’s off-roading SUV choices used to start and end with a few crossovers from Jeep and Toyota, and outdated Ford Broncos and Subaru Outbacks, but with the off-roading SUV trend rapidly picking up steam, legendary car lines are making a comeback, and the average buyer has never had more choice.
The Ford Bronco sport and Subaru Outback 2022 are the latest offerings from Ford and Subaru. While both cars technically don’t belong in the same category– the former being a compact SUV, while the latter is a station wagon– they are often compared because of their similar price and performance. So which Off-road SUV is the best? Find out in this comparison.
Both cars rock refreshes of their 5th generation designs, retaining the boxiness, high roof, ground clearance, and other visual cues customers loved on the previous generation. The Ford Bronco Sport still features the bold wide grille, and the Subaru’s entire front is one large air intake vent.
From a quick look at both cars, you’ll notice that the Ford Bronco Sport is smaller than the Subaru Outback. The Bronco Sport is 172.7 inches long and 70.2 inches tall, while the Outback is 191.3 inches by 66.4 inches.
Both cars come with LED lights and Fog lights, though the Outback is likely to be more rugged on the trail with 9.5 inches of ground clearance on its best model. The Ford Bronco Sport comes at 8.8 inches in comparison.
The Subaru spares no expense on its interior. Nearly every inch is covered in high-quality leatherette or soft-touch material. The Bronco Sport shares the same interior design as the Ford Bronco, favoring hard rubber and plastic over leather. The car is designed to come apart and so waterproof material is the right choice, though it might put off people who don’t dig the rugged Ford look.
Both feature flexible five-seat arrangements that can fold down to accommodate more gear, though it’s at the cost of extra legroom.
Sitting at the center of both’s cars’ dashboards are their infotainment system, which contains navigational features, premium audio support, and give access to air conditioning, climate control, drive modes, and so much more.
The biggest difference between both infotainment systems is that the Outback’s screen is considerably larger, 11.6 inches to be precise, on every model up from the base. The Bronco Sport maintains the same 8-inch screen across all trims and feels lacking, in comparison. This might not be as much of a problem if you prefer physical buttons for switch drive modes and climate control.
Performance and Handling
Continuing with the trend, the Subaru Outback outshines Ford Bronco Sport in performance. Its 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder, 182-hp capable engine has a towing capacity of 2700 lbs and is miles better than Ford’s 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower with a towing capacity of 2000 lbs.
The Transmission is also better on the Subaru Outback. It uses a CVT auto with 8 modes and a torque split system to determine which wheel can benefit the most from the available drive.
The Ford Bronco Sport sticks to the standard 8-speed automatic transmission and relies on a variable Go Over All Terrain system to handle shifts in the environment. The system shines both on the road and outbacks, but it still comes off feeling fairly stiff. The Subaru, on identical tracks, had a similar turning radius.
The fuel efficiency on both cars is respectable, with the Subaru Outback, again, outperforming the Ford Bronco Sport. It is rated for 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway, while the Ford Bronco sport does 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on highways.
The manufacturer’s MSRP for the Bronco Sport and the Subaru Outback mirror their value offering thus far. The Subaru starts at $27,215 and the Ford Bronco at $26,945 on base trims.
For optional upgrades and trims, the price shoots up significantly, but the Bronco Sport is still the cheaper choice. The Badlands trim, which comes with an upgraded 245-turbo -four engine and upgraded power plants start at about $35,430.
The Outback offers 6 trims; the most expensive being the Touring XT that starts at $41,000. However, you don’t have to pay nearly $12,000 more for a better engine. Subaru offers an optional 260-hp engine upgrade for $6000 extra for every other trim except the base. This way, you can mix and match until you find the features that are right for you.
Neither car win extra points with their warranties. They both offer the standard Limited warranty that covers up to 3 years or 36,000 miles and the Powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles on all their trims. Neither provides complementary or scheduled maintenance.
The Ford Bronco Sport and Subaru Outback are very different cars designed for broadly similar audiences. The Bronco Sport is a compact SUV for Ford lovers and car enthusiasts looking for something not quite as expensive as the Bronco but versatile and powerful enough to service most of their camping and adventuring needs. In contrast, the Subaru Outback is a rugged crossover with tons of space and a great engine to handle your off-roading needs.
If you have your mindset on camping, hiking, mountain biking, or adventuring, then the Subaru Outback 2022 is the better choice for the $3000 to $4000 extra.