The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is a new all-wheel-drive model with a new engine and upgraded suspension for improved performance and off-road ability. Along with the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco, both are aimed at buyers with active lifestyles. How does the Bronco Sport compare with the Crosstrek Sport?
The Bronco Sport is different than the new Ford Bronco and shares more mechanically with the Ford Escape riding on a car-based platform. The new model comes in four outdoorsy-themed trim levels including base ($28,155), Big Bend ($29,655), Outer Banks ($33,655), and Badlands ($34,155).
Like the Crosstrek Sport the Bronco Sport plays up the off-road image and is geared for the outdoor enthusiast who will also use it as a daily commuter. Neither the EPA nor Ford have released any fuel-economy ratings for the Bronco Sport. The Crosstrek Sport gets an EPA estimated 27/34 city/highway mpg and 29 combined mpg.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Sport is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft is available on the top trim Badlands. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard, with upper trim levels offering a more sophisticated AWD system with a twin-clutch torque-vectoring rear differential.
At 172.7 inches long and with a 105.1-inch wheelbase, its footprint is similar to the Subaru Crosstrek at 175.8 inches long and 104.9-inch wheelbase. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport ($27,545) is powered by a 2.5-liter Boxer engine producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with a Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission. Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive is standard.
Ground clearance measures 7.8 inches for the Bronco Sport base trim and 8.8 inches for the Badlands. The Bronco Sport models offer a choice of drive modes including Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery, and Sand, while the Badlands trim adds Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes.
The Subaru Crosstrek Sport offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance and comes standard with a dual-function X-Mode with Hill Descent Control, with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings. They optimize all-wheel-drive performance in severe weather and off-pavement conditions over the standard Crosstrek.
The Ford Bronco Sport has a total cargo volume go 65.2 cubic feet and a tow rating of 2000 lbs with the 1.5-liter engine and 2200 lbs with the 2.0-liter engine. The Crosstrek Sport has a total cargo volume of 55.3 cubic feet and has a tow rating of 1,500 lbs.
Which outdoor model would you buy?
Just like no one ever buys the base Crosstrek trim, few if any buyers will opt for the 2021 Ford Bronco base model. They will likely choose the Big Bend with a starting price of $29,655. This is $2,110 more than the comparably equipped Crosstrek Sport. If buyers opt for the upper-trim Outer Banks or Badlands, they will pay $6,110 to $6,610 more than Crosstrek.
Ford is hoping that outdoor enthusiasts are willing to pay extra for the prestige and hype around a brand-new model. Subaru has a loyal fan base who can purchase an off-road ready 2021 Crosstrek Sport model with similar power and features for thousands less. The choice is obvious.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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Photo credit: Subaru, Ford