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A white 2024 Ford Bronco Sport for sale is shown parked off-road near a campsite.

Clash of the Soft-Roaders: Ford Bronco Sport vs. the Competition

There’s nothing more satisfying than embarking on an epic adventure. Just the thought of it makes your palms sweat with anticipation of what’s in store for you off-road. For those who have the thrill of exploration coursing through their veins, it’s only natural to be captivated by rugged off-roaders like the Wrangler and Raptor models. However, what about the daily drive? Not many drivers can afford to have a vehicle just for adventure purposes. They need something that can do both, which is why the “soft-roader” has emerged onto the scene. One of the best around is the Bronco Sport, and if you’ve noticed a Ford Bronco Sport for sale near you, you may be curious to see how it stacks up to its competitors. Is the Bronco Sport the best soft-roader?

All-Terrain Prowess

Soft roaders tend to offer the perfect blend of everyday driving and off-road exploration, which has contributed to their popularity over the years, especially since everything is so expensive these days. Who wants to overspend on a dedicated adventure vehicle that they can only use on the weekends? In today’s day and age, we need the best of both worlds. Ford knows how to engineer vehicles to perform, and the Bronco Sport is no exception.

With its incredible 4×4 capabilities, which consist of an advanced system with a twin-clutch rear-drive unit, the Bronco Sport delivers the right amount of torque to each wheel for optimum control. It even has G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) Modes to take on any environment with sheer confidence. From sand to mud and from rocks to ice, no terrain is off limits for this skilled traveler. You can compare this to the Jeep Compass Trailhawk’s Selec-Terrain Management System, which adjusts its torque distribution to ensure a controlled ride on any surface, or the RAV4 TRD Off-Road’s Multi-Terrain Select system. The biggest advantage of the Bronco Sport is its powertrain selection, as competitors like the Compass Trailhawk and Terrain AT4 only offer one engine to choose from. Although the Crosstrek Wilderness and RAV4 TRD Off-Road have multiple engines in their lineups, they can’t come close to the power that radiates out of the Bronco Sport, with its 2.0L EcoBoost turbocharged I-4 offering 250 horses to propel you forward on the trails.

Towing Power

If you’re an avid adventurer or an exploration enthusiast, you know how important it is to be able to take everything you need with you on the journey. From campers to cargo trailers, soft-roaders need to be armed with the power to be able to pull these heavy accessories out to the wilderness, the lake, or anywhere else you want to go. This is where the Bronco Sport’s powerful engine comes in to save the day, with the ability to tow up to 2,200 lbs with the 2.0L EcoBoost I-4. Combine this strength with the available 180-Degree Camera with Split View, which enhances visibility on the trails and in other unfamiliar environments by providing unmatched views of what surrounds you.

The competition’s lower engine power affects their towing capability, as similar models like the Compass Trailhawk and the Terrain AT4 can only tow up to 2,000 lbs and 1,500 lbs respectively. The GMC Terrain AT4 does offer High Definition Surround Vision, which comes in handy on the trails, but its lack of towing power doesn’t score it many points with adventurers. The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness offers a 3,500-lb towing capacity when upgraded to the 2.5L Boxer four-cylinder, beating out the Bronco Sport by the numbers. However, Subaru is known for its more utilitarian and practical designs, which may deter drivers who are looking for a bit more excitement in their vehicles. The Bronco Sport has the power and innovation to be able to traverse some of the most dangerous terrain imaginable without having to make any compromises.

A blue 2024 Ford Bronco Sport is shown driving over a dusty trail.

Everyday Ride Quality

What happens once the adventure is over and you go back to your day-to-day grind? The perk of driving a soft-roader is that these rugged explorers can effortlessly switch from exploring to commuting in an instant. The Bronco Sport offers the ideal blend of off-roading and everyday driving, with its ability to ford up to 23.6 inches of water with its 8.8 inches of ground clearance. It’s not so tall that it’s difficult to enter and exit during the workday, like the Crosstrek Wilderness with its 9.3 inches of clearance. This can make it difficult for those who have to regularly don business attire during the work week.

Packing 250 horses under the hood with its available 2.0L turbocharged engine, the Bronco Sport can make even the most uneventful ride to work more exciting. None of its main competitors can come close to this level of excitement, which is a major win for this skilled traveler. Drivers report that the Bronco Sport is agile and controlled on the highway, making for a more enjoyable ride to work. Models from Jeep can often feel a bit rough on the road, while the Terrain AT4 tends to have some trouble navigating curves on the highway.

Ready for Adventure

Anytime you’re venturing off into the unknown, it helps to have a place for all of the gear that’s accompanying you. That is not a problem for the Bronco Sport, with up to 65.2 cu. ft. of cargo space and innovative cargo holds inside its durable cabin space. From under-seat storage to a fold-flat second row, plus a safari-style roof that offers more height and more room for larger gear, the Bronco Sport is capable of hauling more than your average soft-roader. The Compass and Crosstrek severely lag behind, while the Terrain comes close, offering 63.3 cu. ft. of space for camping gear, luggage, and other exploration equipment travelers deem necessary for the trip.

You’ll find that the Bronco Sport, Crosstrek Wilderness, and Compass Trailhawk feature durable interiors, ready to get dirty. Easily maintained and rugged enough to stand up to the elements, most soft roaders are capable of simply being rinsed off and ready for the work week ahead. Perhaps the most intriguing element that sets the Bronco Sport apart is its ultra-cool yet rugged styling, with models like the Heritage Edition showcasing vintage vibes all around. That’s something you can’t get from any of the competitors, with the Compass’ rough looks, the Crosstrek’s practicality, the RAV4’s simplicity, and the Terrain’s upscale appearance. It may not be a true adventure-ready feature, but it’s important to look at the part of a true off-roader just as much as acting like one.

A person is shown loading gear into the back of a white 2024 Ford Bronco Sport.

The Ford Bronco Sport Beats the Competition

Many elements go into defining the best soft-roader. It doesn’t just come down to 4×4 capabilities or functional features. It’s the total package, which is why the Ford Bronco Sport is so highly sought by weekend adventurers near and far. It can effortlessly coast over any type of terrain with G.O.A.T. Modes, tow a camper out into the woods with its exceptional power, comfortably navigate city traffic with its superb ride quality, and offer the features required to conquer every type of adventure imaginable.

None of the competition has all of these features. The Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness, although adept at maneuvering on uneven ground, is down on horsepower and may be too high for everyday travel needs. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk has Jeep’s famous off-road capabilities radiating from its core, but its lack of towing power and rough on-road demeanor can make drivers wary of this particular soft-roader. The Toyota RAV4 TRD Off-Road also lacks power, while the GMC Terrain AT4 may be too upscale for the look soft roaders want to achieve in their explorations. The Ford Bronco Sport’s total package is what makes it one of the best soft roaders of our time, offering the ideal blend of exhilaration, practicality, and durability avid adventurers require, no matter where the road (or trail) takes them.

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