Ford Bronco Sport vs. Jeep Cherokee

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - December 8, 2020

For years, Ford has let Jeep dominate the compact off-road SUV segment with its capable vehicles. While the all-new Bronco tends is dominating the headlines, Ford also introduced a smaller, more affordable, and less capable version in the new Bronco Sport.

One of the Bronco Sport’s main rivals is the Jeep Cherokee, a compact SUV that puts off-roading first. Jeep even offers the Cherokee in a performance-oriented trim that’s noticeably more capable than the rest of the lineup.

Unsurprisingly, both the Bronco Sport and the Cherokee are evenly matched when it comes to off-roading. Both are offered with off-road cruise-control systems and other performance parts, but they differ slightly when it comes to features. The Bronco Sport is offered with a torque-vectoring rear axle, a locking rear differential, and all-wheel drive. Jeep offers multiple four-wheel-drive systems with the Cherokee, one of which has shorter off-road gearing than the Bronco Sport. So, it’s a tie.

Consumers can go off the beaten path with both the Ford Bronco Sport and the Jeep Cherokee. While they have a lot of similarities, there are quite a few differences that may have you leaning toward one option.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Ford Bronco Sport & the Jeep Cherokee »

What the Bronco Sport Gets Right

If you’re interested in getting the more spacious vehicle, the Ford Bronco Sport has the edge. It offers more front head room, front leg room, and rear head room. The Bronco Sport also has a larger cargo area. It’s capable of holding 32 cubic feet behind the rear seats and a total of 65.2 behind the front seats. The Cherokee offers 25.8 and 54.7 cubic feet, respectively.

The Bronco Sport comes with a more powerful standard engine. It comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that makes 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. Jeep offers a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the Cherokee that produces 180 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. While the horsepower figures are nearly identical, the Bronco Sport has a solid torque advantage.

Ford offers the Bronco Sport with more standard tech features than Jeep does with the Cherokee. The Bronco Sport comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster, and four USB ports. The Cherokee comes with a 7-inch unit as standard and one USB port. The Bronco Sport’s advantage in this department are expected, as it’s the newer model.

What the Cherokee Gets Right

The Jeep Cherokee is the more affordable of the two, starting at $27,805 with destination. The Bronco Sport is slightly more expensive with a starting price tag of $28,155. It’s not a massive difference, but choosing the Cherokee is $305 in money saved.

While the Bronco Sport is offered with two engines, the Cherokee is available with three. The Bronco Sport may have the more powerful base motor, but the Cherokee’s available engines offer more power. The Cherokee is offered with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A 3.2-liter V6 is also available that’s rated at 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. The most powerful engine in the Bronco Sport is a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder that makes 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque.

If you’re the type of consumer that enjoys having choices, the Cherokee is the better option. Jeep offers it in eight trims, while the Bronco Sport is only available in five. Having more trim levels to choose from improves your chances of finding something that has exactly what you need.

Too Close To Call

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that the Ford Bronco Sport and the Jeep Cherokee line up against one another incredibly well. Ford clearly used the Cherokee as a benchmark when it made the Bronco Sport. Both get a lot right and it almost comes down to choosing which one you find to be more attractive. The fact that the Bronco Sport is an all-new model greatly increases its appeal.

Our Verdict: Ford Bronco Sport

The Ford Bronco Sport narrowly beats the Jeep Cherokee in a head-to-head competition. The Bronco Sport offers more standard tech features, a better base engine, and a more spacious interior. With roughly the same off-roading prowess, it’s the better overall option.

Take a closer look at the Ford Bronco Sport »

Take a closer look at the Jeep Cherokee »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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