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Contrast Story: Ford Bronco Sport vs. Toyota Venza - Which Way With 46K?

We contrast two top-trim crossover SUVs with the same price. The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands and the Toyota Venza Limited. Which is your cup of tea?

How about a fun matchup story between two of the best crossover SUVs on the market today? We won't pretend that these two are similar or serve the exact same purpose, but we bought both over the past six months, so they must have some common elements. The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands and the Toyota Venza Limited are the top trims of their respective model lines, and we paid about $46K (new) for each of them. They are similar in size (but not shape) and they both do some things extremely well. 

Image of Toyota Venza and Ford Bronco Sport cargo areasBronco Sport Badlands Quick Summary
The Bronco Sport Badlands is the most capable off-pavement crossover SUV in its class and price range. However, it’s not a one-trick pony. It’s fun and very practical in almost any situation. The Badlands has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and standard all-wheel drive along with a geared automatic transmission. The powertrain offers quick acceleration and a lot of torque. Folks who buy the Bronco Sport Badlands generally plan to be off pavement and/or in snow quite a bit, and that is me in a nutshell. The Badlands has a legit off-road capability as well.

Ford Bronco Sport interiorToyota Venza Quick Summary
The Venza is similar to its Toyota sibling the RAV4 Hybrid. However, the Venza adds more refinement, a plush interior, a quieter ride, and a different, sleeker exterior. Many reviewers say they are reminded of a Lexus when they test the Venza, and we’d agree with that. All Venzas are hybrids with all-wheel drive. The Venza’s superpower is efficiency. It earns a 39 MPG Combined rating, and our mileage has been very close to that. One side benefit of this high efficiency is range. The Venza can go 500 miles between fill-ups. 

Toyota Venza interiorBronco Sport Badlands vs. Venza Limited - The Drive
Both the Venza and the Bronco Sport are very satisfying to drive but in different ways. The Bronco Sport is punchy in normal mode, and downright quick in Sport Model. It’s also the sort of vehicle that loves to pound down a dirt road, logging road, or trail access path. The Bronco Sport definitely lives up to the Sport in Sport Utility Vehicle. With its trailer hitch and rubberized interior, it is also a great utility vehicle. Heck, it even came with a removable workbench in the cargo area. 

The Bronco Sport rides on Falken WildPeak A/T3W All-Terrain tires, a package upgrade. We figured they’d be loud and sloppy on pavement, but the exact opposite is true. They are ideal for this vehicle, and handling is great. Even with its lifted stance, it is fun to drive fast on paved back country roads. Ride comfort is also excellent, due in part to the meaty sidewall of the Falkens. 

The Venza is the ultimate chill-mobile. It is so quiet and refined inside that you arrive more relaxed after a commute than when you began. The Venza seems to glide down the road. Drive it like an adult, and it also handles nicely. Like the Bronco Sport, it is comfortable over bad roads, but not due to tires. It must be the suspension because it rides on low-profile touring tires. 

The Venza feels quick as well. The Venza adds electric motors to the mix and they add torque. From a start, the Venza can pull away without using the engine at all. The Venza’s all-wheel drive system is modern and high tech, but also simple. It uses electricity to drive the rear wheels, so no driveshaft is needed. In fact, based on watching our power delivery meter, the Venza is more often using its rear wheels under power than is the Bronco Sport, which is basically a FWD vehicle that can shift power rearward when it feels like it is necessary. The Venza almost always uses all four tires to power the vehicle when accelerating. The Venza has an eCVT, but it’s entirely different from the “lousy CVTs” you hear reviewers harp about. Toyota’s eCVT is a transmission with both gears and electric motors. No belts. You have to try it to believe in it. 

The Venza has 219 hp and the Bronco Sport Badlands has 250. The Bronco gets the edge in power, but it also returns about 26 MPG instead of the Venvza’s 39 MPG. That is a tough tradeoff. 

Bronco Sport Badlands vs. Venza Limited - Interior Space, Design, Roofs, Audio
The Bronco Sport looks a lot shorter than the Venza, so you might assume it is “smaller” inside. Nope. The Bronco Sport offers 106 cubic feet of passenger volume, and the Venza offers 98. Both feel roomy up front and both have rear seats that can seat two adults comfortably. The Venza has 29/55 cu ft of cargo volume and the Bronco Sport has 30/61 cu ft. So the Bronco Sport is bigger, but just on the inside!

Under the cargo floor is a full-size spare in the Bronco Sport and a compact spare in the Venza. In our household, we won't own a vehicle without a spare of some type. We’ve had five flat tires over the past half-dozen years, always at a bad time. Spare tires are a safety feature anywhere with harsh winters. 

The Venza’s interior is fancy and feels very high-quality. Everything you touch is smooth in its operation. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wireless. The front seats are ventilated and heated. Toyota’s SofTex material and matte-finish wood make the cabin feel luxurious. A head-up display is the most high-tech feature.

The Bronco Sport, by contrast has a small center screen that offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but wired. We added an aftermarket product to nix the wire. Ford uses perforated leather (we are pretty sure) accented with microfiber suede (we are pretty sure) in the top trim of the Badlands with a premium content package. It also feels high in quality and “rich.” Surrounding that are hard plastics and rubberized panels you can bet are waterproof. It is a different vibe, but it works. 

The Venza has a trick all-glass roof that can be clear or opaque at the touch of a button, augmented by a power sunshade. It’s pretty slick, and we’ve never seen any other vehicle at any price point with a roof this cool. The Brondo Sport Badlands has a huge glass moonroof that opens. It also has a power sunshade. 

Both the Venza’s JBL and the Bronco Sport Badlands’ B&O optional audio systems are very good. Much better than standard audio systems. Neither matches the sound quality of the ELS system found in Acura’s RDX, but few do. 

Bronco Sport Badlands vs. Venza Limited - Safety Scores
The Bronco Sport earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick + designation, and the Venza has earned the Top Safety Pick designation. Both come with a wide range of standard active safety features. 

Image of 2024 J.D. Power Dependability StudyBronco Sport Badlands vs. Venza Limited - Reliability
Reliability is the foundation upon which Toyota built its empire. In the most recent 2024 J.D. Power Dependability Study, the Toyota brand was number two behind only Lexus. Ford was ranked in the bottom quarter of brands. Consumer Reports rates the Bronco Sport just 32/100 for predicted reliability. The Venza scores 72/100 and earns the Recommended nod from CR. 

Bronco Sport Badlands vs. Venza Limited - About Pricing
When destination charges and dealer doc fees are added in, we paid approximately $390 above MSRP for the 2024 Venza Limited and about $1,700 above MSRP for the Bronco Sport. They both came to within a few hundred dollars of $46K. Both were purchased new from dealer lots in the Metro Boston area. 

Bronco Sport Badlands vs. Venza Limited - Which Is Right Depends On Your Personal Priorities
The Bronco Sport Badlands and Venza Limited are apples and oranges in many ways, but they are also both five-passenger crossover SUVS priced almost identically. Here is a quick checklist we have created that indicates which model is best at what. We’ll leave the choice to our readers. 

Bronco Sport Best At:
Off-Pavement and Off-Road Driving
Sporty Driving
Roomiest of the Two

Toyota Venza Best At:
Fuel Efficiency & Range
Interior Comfort
Infotainment and Technology

Image. of Ford Bronco Sport Badlands and Toyota Venza Limited by John Goreham.

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can connect with John on Linkedin and follow his work at our X channel. Please note that stories carrying John's by-line are never AI-generated, but he does employ Grammarly grammar and punctuation software when proofreading.