Ford Bronco Sport vs Ford Maverick: Which Compact Is The Best Choice For Truck And SUV Fans?
The Ford Maverick and the Ford Bronco Sport are two of the most interesting entry-level models to wear the Blue Oval badge in nearly a decade. Although they share the same basic platform, the Bronco Sport adopts the retro styling of its larger full-size Bronco cousin to deliver a family-friendly SUV experience, while the four-door Maverick ventures into pickup truck territory with its brief open bed.
Given their similar size, comparable power, and close pricing, which of these two Ford haulers is the best choice for someone seeking utility in a small package? Here's how the Ford Maverick and the Ford Bronco Sport compare head-to-head.
Under The Hood
The Bronco Sport provides a pair of turbocharged engines on the order list. Almost all versions of the SUV make do with a 1.5L, three-cylinder unit that's good for 181 hp and 190 lb-ft of torque, with only the Badlands trim benefitting from an upgrade. This comes in the form of a 2.0L, four-cylinder motor that pushes out a hefty 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard across the board, as is an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Maverick borrows the same turbo four and eight-speed gearbox as its top-tier engine, but entry-level models walk a different, electrified path by way of a 191 hp hybrid system that pairs a four-cylinder with a single electric motor and a continuously-variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is offered, but only on turbo trucks.
It's worth noting that the Maverick Hybrid offers exceptional fuel mileage: 42-mpg city and 33-mpg highway. That's well above the gas-only model (23-mpg/30-mpg highway/city for front-wheel drive editions), and tops when compared to either version of the Bronco Sport. The latter provides 25-mpg city and 28-mpg highway in three-cylinder form, but the turbocharged four is thirstier than the Maverick's version with a rating of 21-mpg around town and 26-mpg highway.
On (And Off) The Road
Both the Bronco Sport and the Maverick ride on a unibody chassis that has more in common with a passenger car than a traditional truck or SUV. That gives each of them a much smoother personality when it comes to handling, and it also allows them to accelerate with gusto thanks to their relatively modest curb weights. This is especially true of the 2.0L motor, which is plenty quick (the Maverick Hybrid and three-cylinder flavors of the Bronco Sport lean more towards 'adequate' in terms of power). A smaller footprint also makes them equally adept at handling congested urban spaces, especially when it comes to parking and traffic.
Despite being available with an FX4 off-road package (on all-wheel drive, turbocharged models), the Maverick can't quite match the Bronco Sport when it comes to tackling tough terrain. Specifically, the sport-utility can be had in Badlands trim, which adds multiple terrain management driving modes (along with a reconfigured AWD setup), a more rugged suspension system, a low-speed cruise control feature, and a number of visual upgrades. The Maverick FX4 shares skid plates and tow hooks with the Badlands, but is overall a less adventurous package.
In terms of trailer capacity, the Maverick is rated at up to 4,000 lbs in turbocharged form, provided the tow package is installed (other wise the limits drop to 2,000 lbs).
The Bronco Sport also offers a towing upgrade, but stops short of the Maverick with its 2,200 pound rating (with base models capable of lugging 1,500 pounds).
Inside The Cabin
From a materials and design perspective, the Ford Bronco Sport is a step ahead of the Maverick in terms of cabin quality and appearance. Although neither vehicle could be considered luxurious, the more focused Bronco Sport trim levels stand apart from the utilitarian character of the Maverick pickup.
Passenger room is good for the first two positions in either vehicle, with the back seat feeling somewhat larger in the Bronco Sport (which also boasts individual storage compartments rather than the single lift-up bench of the Maverick).
Clearly, the Bronco Sport SUV also wins the interior cargo battle with its fold-flat rear row, but the Maverick's 4.5-foot bed wins when it comes to lugging around bulkier items.
On The Window Sticker
If you're shopping for a bargain, there's no beating the Maverick. With a starting price of $19,995 for the hybrid model, it undercuts the $28,565 tag on the base Bronco sport by more than $7,000. Even if you opt for the top-shelf Lariat trim, you're still looking at less than $26k for the compact pickup.
It's important to understand, however, that in terms of feature content most versions of the Bronco Sport stand apart from loss-leader editions of the Maverick. Loading up on the options sheet (with packages that include comparable equipment, all-wheel drive, off-road capability, and max towing), and paying for the requisite turbo engine, pumps pricing for the Lariat to $35,000, which is only $1,500 less than a Bronco Sport Badlands. It's also roughly the same as the most comfortable trim, the Outer Banks, which is stuck with the three-cylinder motor.
In Your Driveway
If absolute thrift is your primary goal, it's hard to go wrong with the Ford Maverick. The frugal hybrid drivetrain and inexpensive purchase price are a strong lure (to the point where Ford is having difficulty producing enough base models to meet demand), while day-to-day practicality, even for small families, remains reasonable.
It's harder to justify paying a higher price for the turbocharged Maverick, however. If you want something a little more comfortable, or see to explore past the asphalt, the Ford Bronco Sport is a better choice. A nicer cabin combined with legitimate off-road capability to make it a compelling alternative to more street-friendly crossovers, as long as you can stomach the extra cost both at buying time and at the pump (and don’t mind being down on power on all models outside of the Badlands).
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