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A Perfect Comparison Between Ford Bronco Sport And Toyota RAV4

Image Source: Darren Brode / Shutterstock

Ford Bronco Sport versus Toyota RAV4: Which of these two compact crossover vehicles secures a spot in your garage? When it comes to performance and safety, one of these SUVs edges slightly ahead—while the other claims the top fuel efficiency title.

The 2024 Ford Bronco Sport is only a few years old, but it has already established itself as the bold, retro-themed counterpart to Ford’s more sophisticated Escape crossover. The Bronco Sport has a shorter wheelbase and offers more off-road features than the Escape, although it provides less rear-seat space. On the other hand, the 2024 Toyota RAV4 has remained a bestseller for years due to its versatility and the availability of hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. It can be quick, all while accommodating four occupants and their belongings.

Which one is the better choice for you? Here’s how they stack up, category by category.

Bronco Sport versus RAV4 pricing and models

The starting price for the base Bronco Sport is in the mid-$30,000s

The base RAV4 begins at approximately $30,000

Top choices: Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

What is the cost of a Ford Bronco Sport? Which Ford Bronco Sport is most suitable for me?

Priced in the mid-$30,000 range, the base Bronco Sport Big Bend comes equipped with features such as an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, roof rails, and cruise control. The inclusion of rubberized floor mats, Molle straps on the seat backs, and other adventure gear encourages exploring off the beaten path on weekends. All-wheel drive is standard. Optional features include a Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker audio system, a track-mounted cargo organizer, and rubberized flooring.

The upscale trims consist of the Outer Banks—starting from the high $30,000s offering heated power front seats, 18-inch wheels, and leather upholstery—or the Badlands, which for a similar price range incorporates more robust off-road equipment, a front-view camera, a more powerful engine, and front-mounted tow hooks.

What is the price of a Toyota RAV4? Which Toyota RAV4 is the right choice for me?

The price range for Toyota RAV4 owners varies from the $30,000 mark to over $40,000, yet the base model will suffice for many consumers. The base model, available with front-wheel drive or $1,400 extra for all-wheel drive, is equipped with 17-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionalities.

Since RAV4 Hybrids include standard all-wheel drive, the additional cost for the hybrid version is approximately $1,700, making opting for the hybrid a practical choice. We recommend spending around $35,000 to upgrade to the XLE Hybrid RAV4, which boasts a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a more fuel-efficient drivetrain.

An Adventure model is priced at about $36,000 and offers rugged styling, while the TRD Off-Road model actually provides the off-road capabilities—increased ride height and drive modes—for around $40,000. At the upper end of the spectrum, the plug-in RAV4 Prime costs approximately $45,000 in the base SE trim, but by adding features such as a power tailgate, JBL audio system, a 10.5-inch touchscreen, heated rear seats, a surround-view camera system, and a head-up display in the Prime XSE, the price exceeds $50,000. Due to limited production volume, the RAV4 Prime may be challenging to find at dealerships, potentially leading to markup.

Advantage: A tie—both offer a wide variety and a significant range in pricing.

2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XSE AWD

RAV4 versus Bronco Sport towing, off-roading, and performance

The Bronco Sport features advanced off-road capabilities

The RAV4 TRD Off-Road is adept at trail carving as well

The RAV4 Prime holds the title for the quickest acceleration

Is the Ford Bronco Sport equipped with 4WD?

Every variant of the Bronco Sport comes standard with all-wheel drive. Models featuring the 181-hp turbo-3 engine are equipped with a simpler system that distributes power between the front and rear axles, along with five drive modes that adjust traction and stability control to navigate through sand or slippery conditions more effectively.

For the 245-hp turbo-4 Bronco Sport, Ford implements a system featuring a twin-clutch rear differential. This setup not only redistributes power between the front and rear, but can also transfer it between the rear wheels for optimized power distribution. These models also offer drive modes tailored for muddy and rocky terrains. The Bronco Sport can tow a minimum of 2,000 pounds and most variants provide at least 7.9 inches of ground clearance.

With optional skid plates, all-terrain tires, and hill descent control, the Bronco Sport proves to be a capable and appropriately sized trailblazer. Even on roads, the SUV delivers a comfortable ride suitable for daily commutes, well-calibrated steering, and smooth transmission shifts—although the cabin can get noisy.

Is the Toyota RAV4 equipped with 4WD?

Standard RAV4 models are front-wheel drive, but all versions are available with all-wheel drive. Non-hybrid models have a basic system that distributes power between the front and rear wheels, while Hybrid and Prime RAV4s utilize their electric motor to power the rear wheels and the gasoline engine to power the front. For improved traction in challenging conditions, the RAV4 Adventure, TRD Off-Road, and Limited models split power between their rear wheels as well.

Base RAV4 models are powered by a 203-hp 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, offering reasonable acceleration. However, stepping on the throttle heavily results in significant noise. The Hybrid variant supplements this setup with a rear electric motor and a battery pack, resulting in a total output of 219 hp and improved acceleration at lower speeds. The RAV4 Prime, boasting a 302-hp powertrain, achieves the fastest acceleration, reaching 60 mph in 5.7 seconds while delivering an electric driving range.

Although the battery adds weight, which impacts its on-road feel, the RAV4 Prime still offers precise steering and a well-tuned ride. All RAV4 models feature superior steering and handling compared to previous iterations bearing the same name.

Advantage: Ford Bronco Sport excels in off-road capabilities; RAV4 Prime dominates in acceleration from 0 to 60 mph at stoplights

2023 Ford Bronco Heritage Edition and 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition

Bronco Sport versus RAV4 safety

The Bronco Sport secures a Top Safety Pick+ accolade

The RAV4 narrowly misses earning the “+” designation

Both come standard with automatic emergency braking systems

How safe is the Ford Bronco Sport?

The Bronco Sport performs excellently in all crash tests, receiving a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS and a five-star rating from NHTSA. Each model is equipped with automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high beams. Additionally, outward visibility is commendable.

How safe is the Toyota RAV4?

The RAV4 delivers a similar level of safety, earning a Top Safety Pick from IIHS and a five-star rating from NHTSA. Toyota equips each trim level with standard automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. However, rear visibility is hindered by the thick roof pillars.

Advantage: The Bronco Sport achieves marginally higher safety ratings.

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Heritage Edition

Size, spaciousness, and cargo capacity comparison between RAV4 and Bronco Sport

The RAV4 provides ample space

The Bronco Sport boasts a more intriguing interior design

Tall individuals may find limited headroom in the RAV4

How spacious is the Ford Bronco Sport?

The Bronco Sport is sizable, although it falls slightly smaller than the RAV4 in specific dimensions. Despite having a shorter body and wheelbase, the Bronco Sport offers generous headroom and comfortable front seats with lush cushions, making it ideal for extended journeys. The front cabin features a captivating retro design characterized by a plethora of plastic trim pieces.

At the rear, two tall adults can comfortably fit, but accommodating a third passenger would be quite cramped. The cargo area measures approximately 32.5 cubic feet behind the rear seats, expanding to about 65 cubic feet with the seats folded down. It is practical, especially when accessorized with Ford’s cargo shelves, bins, pockets, tie-downs, and carabiners.

How roomy is the Toyota RAV4?

The RAV4 offers more interior space, but its high-placed seats compromise some headroom due to the design. This is exacerbated by the optional panoramic sunroof, although individuals of medium height should not face much issue.

Base RAV4 models lack lumbar support, but higher-trim variants boast superior seats with power adjustments, heating, and synthetic leather upholstery options. In the rear, legroom is sufficient, but limited headroom remains a concern, necessitating a test sit to evaluate long-distance comfort levels.

The RAV4 excels in cargo space, providing 37 cubic feet which expands to about 69 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. The Prime edition offers slightly less space due to its sizeable battery pack.

Advantage: Bronco Sport for taller occupants, RAV4 for those requiring additional cargo space.

2023 Toyota RAV4

Comparing the styling of Bronco Sport and RAV4

Bronco Sport features a nostalgic design

RAV4 flaunts a bold and sporty posture

Both vehicles sport understated interiors

Is the Ford Bronco Sport visually appealing?

Indeed, the Bronco Sport is aesthetically pleasing owing to its retro details that lend it a bold, square outlook. The design exudes a subtle Land Rover essence, with slender LED headlights and prominent BRONCO branding on the front. The elegantly angled roofline and the flip-up glass on the tailgate add to its allure. Inside, the sturdy-looking cabin incorporates rubber-coated vents and surfaces, while ensuring the placement of the touchscreen and storage is ergonomic.

Is the Toyota RAV4 visually appealing?

With hints of Tacoma and 4Runner influences, the RAV4 confidently dons its athletic appearance. Sporting angular and compact dimensions, the design is ready for action, with a blunt front fascia and muscular fenders accentuated by a broad rear roof pillar for a sporty vibe. The tougher-looking Adventure and TRD Off-Road versions enhance its rugged appeal. Inside, the RAV4 features a well-structured dashboard prioritizing simplicity, although the inclusion of leather and premium plastic trim would elevate its visual appeal.

2024 Ford Bronco Sport

Comparison of fuel economy between RAV4 and Bronco Sport

Bronco Sport’s efficiency is impacted by its turbocharged engines

RAV4 achieves a minimum of 28 mpg combined

RAV4 Prime offers a plug-in range of 42 miles

Is the Ford Bronco Sport fuel-efficient?

The Bronco Sport delivers acceptable fuel efficiency, rated at 26 mpg combined for the turbo-3 variant, while the turbo-4 versions achieve just 23 mpg combined—comparatively low for a compact SUV, even with standard AWD.

Is the Toyota RAV4 fuel-efficient?

The RAV4 excels in fuel efficiency, with base models equipped with all-wheel drive achieving a rating of 28 mpg or more. Hybrid models offer a combined 40 mpg, while the Prime variant provides an electric driving range of 42 miles. It stands out as the most efficient non-electric compact SUV suitable for daily driving.

Advantage: RAV4, with an extra edge for the RAV4 Prime variant.

2024 Ford Bronco Sport

Comparison between Ford Bronco Sport and Toyota RAV4

A close call between the Bronco Sport and RAV4, with the Bronco Sport leading marginally in performance and safety, while the RAV4 surpasses in fuel economy. The Bronco Sport, with its exceptional off-road capabilities and versatility, earns a commendable TCC Rating of 6.7 out of 10. In comparison, the RAV4 falls closely behind with a rating of 6.5 out of 10.

Image Source: Darren Brode / Shutterstock

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