QOTD: Soft Roader or No Go?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
qotd soft roader or no go

Today's minor Ford Bronco Sport news got me thinking -- where do you stand on the concept of the soft-roader?

I'm not talking about the crossover that is clearly not meant to leave the pavement or the ones that have real off-road chops (like the Bronco Sport Badlands). I am talking about the 'tweeners. The ones that, when Chris or I review them, the review has a sentence that reads like this: "This vehicle won't do serious boulder bashing, but it can get you to the campground just fine." You also see this when we do a first drive and there is a fairly easy off-road course that's mostly just a dirt trail setup.

I'm not trying to blast the OEMs here, even if we do sometimes roll our eyes at the use of "off-road." People really do use crossovers for light off-roading that isn't super challenging and doesn't require skid plates. What I am doing is asking you, the B and B, if it matters when you're buying a crossover.

I can't imagine that crossover shopping breaks down to a simple binary between crossovers that are meant for the street and true off-roaders like a Bronco Sport Badlands. There's obviously an in-between. What I wonder is does that ability matter?

I suspect it does. People who don't haul or tow buy pickups because they might need to do those things every so often. So maybe the Kia Sportage buyer gets the X-Line trim because it has a bit more ground clearance and this person thinks they'll camp every so often. Maybe the Bronco Sport buyer gets one over an Escape because Ford markets it as an adventure crossover.

What do you think?

[Image: Ford]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Join the conversation
3 of 18 comments
  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Nov 16, 2022

    Owned a BOXY '05 Escape with AWD while living in upstate NY. Came in very handy for snow days and camping in Pennsylvania.

    Moved south and bought another BOXY '12 Escape with just FWD which is fine. Mostly grocery getter and big box hardware store runs.

    Considered 3rd Gen Escape, but no V6. Fourth Gen looks like a guppy that escaped the Walmart pet shop. The Bronco Sport is BOXY which I like, but no V6.

    Will get a Jeep Cherokee which has V6 available; last of the Mohegan's. Turbos give me heartache 😒😒😒

    • EBFlex EBFlex on Nov 16, 2022

      "Will get a Jeep Cherokee which has V6 available;"

      Good choice. Capable and amazingly fuel efficient. Full LED lighting is nice too. Not sure why Ford can't figure that out.

  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Nov 16, 2022

    For me, the CUV is the default choice. With a short, steep driveway in snow country, anything without AWD is a fair-weather friend. Cars have become so specialized towards high performance or EPA efficiency that they would only be appealing as second or third vehicles.

  • MaintenanceCosts I was reading, bobbing my head along, thinking "$5000 and whatever it costs to throw in a 1.8 gasser and we have a winner," and then you have to harsh my mellow by sharing the seller's delusions of grandeur.
  • MaintenanceCosts They can't keep selling through the current hodgepodge mess of desperate or disreputable dealers. Somehow the sales model has to change. Whether they become the Don Quixote that tilts at the franchise-law windmill to sell direct, or they cut a deal to get into another OEM's dealer network, something has to change.They've always been able to engineer competitive cars when they want to, but they haven't had a reasonable way to sell them since the Chrysler tie-up ended.
  • Sgeffe There’s a guy on YouTube who owns several Oldsmobile Diesel-equipped vehicles, including an A-Body with the 4.3 V6. Might be the Chevy.IIRC, Adam Wade on the “Rare Classic Cars” channel stated that this engine was also available in 1985 only in the redesigned C-Bodies (98 Regency, Electra, DeVille/Fleetwood).
  • Tassos It's a GREAT value, but what, if any, profit will GM make from this vehicle? When it prices it at only $30k, while the much smaller and much CRAPPIER FIAT 500E goes for OVER $40k????
  • Tassos The consumers (not the "market") DO trust EVs, but those that are superior and well-priced,THey buy millions of TESLAS and very few copies of all the other dozens and dozens of LEGACY BEVs.Makes sense to me. None of these experienced makers have YET succeeded to design and build a better Tesla, that is ALSO PRICED COMPETITIVELY.