The SUV wars get more interesting every year with all the new models manufacturers are producing, and since Ford released its new Bronco Sport lineup, the battles are getting fierce. Few SUVs can live up to the sort of capability that the sport utility vehicle originally provided, especially with so many people buying crossovers that often aren’t any more than hatchbacks with all-wheel drive. Case in point: the Honda CR-V is a great SUV for the road, but it hardly qualifies for rugged trails in the wilderness. Perhaps it won’t be fair to compare the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport vs 2022 Honda CR-V, but it will reveal the similarities and differences so potential buyers can make an educated decision about which SUV is better for their lifestyles.
All-Wheel Drive vs Four-Wheel Drive
Let’s start where the rubber meets the road, literally. The 2022 CR-V has available all-wheel drive across the trim levels, and the system has the capability to send torque to the rear wheels when needed. Generally, all-wheel drive systems are great for driving on the road. The torque management system moves power to the wheels with the best purchase in order to keep the vehicle moving forward through slippery snow or over wet pavement. In the case of the CR-V, the system will also shut down power to the rear wheels when roads are clear, and torque isn’t needed. This can save on fuel, which is preferred for large vehicles like SUVs.
In contrast, the 2022 Bronco Sport is outfitted with standard four-wheel drive. Depending on the model, the Bronco Sport can come with either standard on-demand engagement or a more sophisticated twin-clutch system for added torque control. The additional GOAT terrain modes can be selected manually according to terrain, adding more capability. Either system can be used on roads for managing bad weather and improved handling or handle the sort of off-roading that more conventional SUVs like the RAV4 cannot handle.
Choosing between AWD and 4×4 may seem like a hard decision, but the reality is that the 2022 Bronco Sport offers the best of both worlds with the automatic on-demand all-wheel drive system available. This gives you all-wheel drive for better traction on the pavement and four-wheel drive capability for serious off-roading like rock crawling—or even water fording if you purchase the Badlands trim. On the flip side, if you only plan to drive your SUV on the road and never plan to drive on rough terrain, then the 2022 CR-V with all-wheel drive is probably enough for you.
More Cargo Space vs Better Cargo Management
If you’re in the market for an SUV, you probably like the idea of having lots of space for stuff. That can be one of the better aspects of owning an SUV, particularly because of the flexibility of space when you can fold down seats in a number of ways. The 2022 CR-V has a large volume of cargo space for its segment, and the seatbacks actually fold flat for better use of the load floor. It provides 39.2 cubic feet in the rear area with the seats in place and 75.8 cubic feet with the seats down. That’s a lot of room for a small SUV, and Honda does provide standard tie-downs in the rear for securing cargo if you like.
The carpeted expanse of the Honda couldn’t be more different from the 2022 Bronco Sport’s available rubberized flooring that can be scrubbed after a messy camping trip. Ford really took cargo management seriously with the Bronco Sport, starting with the standard safari-style steel roof that can accommodate bikes in the cargo area and has the capability to support a rooftop tent for those off-road excursions. Though the rear seats don’t fold completely flat, the cargo area has carabiner tie-downs and loops for more options to secure cargo or even hang items for storage or drying wet things. An available cargo management system has a folding table and configurable shelves so you can organize a camp kitchen or stow items more securely in the rear.
Add into the mix that Ford also offers a MOLLE system for the seatbacks, and the 2022 Bronco Sport is a ready-made vehicle for adventures in the outdoors. If you aren’t familiar with MOLLE systems, the easiest way to describe it is a lattice of straps to which you can Velcro, tie, or use carabiners to secure small items so you can easily keep track of necessities like pocket knives, flashlights, or a compass. Even though the cargo space is smaller in the Bronco Sport compared to the CR-V, it’s taller. The rear area with the seats in place has 32.5 cubic feet of space, and folding the seats down expands that to 65.2 cubic feet. Though the Bronco Sport’s cargo space is smaller, it’s far more flexible, especially if you plan to bring a lot of cargo. The CR-V is better for road trips that stay on the road.
Technology for Fun and Safety
Technology for some people is the bane of their existence, while others can’t live without it. However, technology is here to stay, and having an infotainment system you can understand and easily operate will make daily driving less of a hassle. Honda has long been dinged by critics for its frustrating infotainment system, which can be difficult for some people to learn how to use. Worse is that Honda gives the base trim of the CR-V a tiny five-inch screen and little more than Bluetooth for pairing your smartphone for hands-free use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can take some of the pain out of using tech in a vehicle once you set it up because they mirror your phone’s screen on the infotainment screen. Sadly, you don’t get this feature until the second trim level in the CR-V.
Other missing features in the base trim of the CR-V include a lack of charging ports, with only two ports in the front seat, and no available connected services until the second trim. The largest touchscreen available for the 2022 CR-V is just seven inches, and the best sound system you can get is not made by a brand that specializes in sound quality. Swivel over to the 2022 Bronco Sport, and the situation is vastly different. You get standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-inch touchscreen, enhanced voice recognition, and even connected services that come with WiFi. What’s even better is that Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is standard on all trims, and it is widely regarded as one of the most intuitive and easiest to use. Add to that the four standard charging ports for smartphones and the option for a Bang and Olufsen sound system, and the 2022 Bronco Sport pretty much tramples the CR-V when it comes to technology.
If you move into driver-assist safety tech, you might think that Honda would win a direct comparison with almost any manufacturer, but the 2022 Bronco Sport got the same five stars for safety from the NHTSA as the 2022 CR-V. Standard driver-assist features aren’t exactly the same, but both SUVs have excellent standard features for avoiding accidents on the road. Ford and Honda both offer pre-collision systems with automatic emergency braking and a lane-keeping system. Ford gives the Bronco Sport a standard Blind-Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert and a Post-Collision Braking System. Honda puts Adaptive Cruise Control and Auto High-Beam Headlights into the CR-V. Depending on what you value most, both offerings are excellent.
Boiling Down the Facts
At the end of the day, the 2022 Bronco Sport and 2022 CR-V both have similar warranty coverage, two engine choices, and offer the same safety rating, but differences in how you plan to use your SUV will determine which SUV is for you. If you plan to stick to the pavement and won’t be tossing messy cargo into the hatch, the CR-V might be best. Then again, the standard off-road capability, cargo management, and technology in the Bronco Sport far outweigh what you find in the CR-V. Those features are worth the extra thousand you pay for the Bronco Sport, especially since the Ford will also offer comfortable ride quality on the highway.