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Subaru Forester Vs. Ford Bronco Sport - CR Says There's A Clear Winner

How does the 2022 Subaru Forester compare with the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport? A new report from Consumer Reports says the Forester is the best choice and beats the Bronco Sport. See why here.


Does the 2022 Subaru Forester or the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport perform better, and which is the better compact SUV? Which one has more interior space, and which model is easier to live with? Those are questions answered by owners in the Consumer Reports owner surveys.

Consumer Reports (by subscription) took an in-depth look at Forester and Bronco Sport to dive deeper into which new compact SUV comes out on top.

What Consumer Reports likes about the Subaru Forester

2022 Subaru Forester

According to Consumer Reports, the best attributes of the 2022 Forester are its excellent outward visibility, headroom, front and rear seat comfort, fuel economy, driving dynamics, ride quality, straightforward controls, 36.5 cubic ft. of cargo room, safety technology, and top safety scores. CR says the Forester also has above-average ratings for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, based on data from its Annual Auto Surveys of owners.

CR says the Forester needs a bit more power, the CVT automatic "has a pronounced buzz during acceleration," and it falls short in cabin refinement. Finally, CR says, "blind spot warning isn't available on the base Forester. It's optional on the Premium trim and standard on the Sport, Wilderness, Limited, and Touring trims. We think this important safety feature should be standard."

Consumer Reports ranks the 2022 Subaru Forester number one of twenty-three compact SUVs with an overall score of 90 points.

What Consumer Reports likes about the Ford Bronco Sport

Overall, CR says, "the Bronco Sport is a fun vehicle that's pretty easy to live with. It's based on the same platform as the Ford Escape but has an adventurous look. It can handle some gravel roads and mildly rutted trails, but it's not for hardcore rock climbing."

CR says Ford has made strides in its standard safety offerings. Like the Forester, it's an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assistance are standard.

What Consumer Reports dislikes about the Ford Bronco Sport

CR says the standard 181 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder engine "isn't a shining example of power, refinement, or efficiency. The Bronco Sport is fine cruising around town as long as the revs are above 1,500 rpm. But the engine vibrates annoyingly if you dip below that, such as cruising at around 40 to 50 mph on a two-lane secondary road. There's also a noticeable shudder when the stop/start system fires the engine back up."

The Bronco Sport's 25 mpg overall fuel economy in our tests is three mpg below the Subaru Forester. The Sport also gives up 9 inches in overall length to the Forester (173 inches vs. 182 inches) even though they have the same 105-inch wheelbase. That shorter length shows in the available cargo room. We could measure only 30.5 cubic feet of usable cargo room in the Ford, while the Subaru can fit 36.5 cubic feet of cargo.

Consumer Reports ranks the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport number seven of twenty-three compact SUVs with an overall score of 82 points.

2022 Subaru Forester

The verdict

Consumer Reports says the Forester scores better and has above-average reliability and owner satisfaction ratings. The Bronco Sport's road-test score is good but nowhere near the Forester's, says CR, and "it has well-above-average predicted reliability and owner satisfaction, plus standard BSW, which give its overall score a slight bump."

CR says, "The Forester is the rational choice, given its excellent visibility, easy cabin access, generous rear seat, good-sized cargo area, and strong fuel economy. The lack of standard blind spot warning is the only demerit."

What is the price of the 2022 Subaru Forester?

The 2022 Forester comes in six trim levels; The Base Forester starts at $27,070, Premium ($30,070), Sport ($31,640), Limited ($33,750), new Wilderness ($34,695), and Touring ($37,170). Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,175).

Consumer Reports Forester drive report

What is the Forester fuel mileage?

Having an SUV with all-wheel-drive usually means sacrificing fuel economy, but it's not valid with the new Forester. Subaru uses direct injection on its four-cylinder Boxer engines for efficiency. The automaker also uses the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic, contributing to better mileage.

The refreshed 2022 Subaru Forester compact SUV comes with standard all-wheel drive. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine powers the Forester. It gets an EPA-estimated 29 combined mpg and 26/33 city/highway mpg. In CR's testing, the Forester achieved an Overall 28 mpg / City 20 / and Highway 38 mpg.

The bottom line is: Overall, Consumer Reports thinks the 2022 Subaru Forester is the best compact SUV in the face-off with the Ford Bronco Sport and says, "The Bronco Sport's limitations are reflected in its lower road-test score; it just doesn't match up equally with the Forester in comfort and convenience."

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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. Check out 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: Schumacher Subaru


M,P.Pattison (not verified)    September 16, 2022 - 9:23AM

My Forester wilderness so shudders when restarting after engine stops to conserve gas. Also the Wilderness, due to the sporty aspects of the model, gets about 27mpg on the Highway and 23 in town. Otherwise, I really like all of the safety features and the suspension/handling of the car.

Eric J Watson (not verified)    September 18, 2022 - 5:27PM

What's is with the negative rock crawling comment for the Bronco?
Apparently the Forester is a capable rock crawler then?
I think not.
Why even include that comment, it only serves to lower the credibility of the author.
It succeeded.

Tricia (not verified)    September 21, 2022 - 12:09AM

In reply to by Eric J Watson (not verified)

My 2022 Forested Touring can rock climb quite well. Its no Hummer, but it can do it. My neighbors 2022 Bronco not so much BUT I'm not sure if his Bronco is a sport or not.