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A grey 2023 Ford Bronco Sport is shown on a trail kicking up dust after winning a 2023 Ford Bronco Sport vs 2023 Kia Seltos showdown.

The 2023 Ford Bronco Sport vs. The 2023 Kia Seltos: Which Is Best for Adventurous Families?

If your family’s love language involves wilderness excursions, days on the lake, sitting around a campfire, and other outdoor adventures, then you need the right vehicle to get you where you’re going. The outdoorsy family has particular needs that those who stick to the city or the suburbs simply don’t have. Your family likes to get a little messy. There are a lot of muddy boots and dusty equipment. You also need a vehicle that will keep everyone content for the long trek to the next great adventure, and a regular vehicle just won’t do. For small families who love to explore, deciding between the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport vs 2023 Kia Seltos is a common comparison, as both models offer a lot for adventurous families.

These vehicles are subcompact SUVs ideal for small families who like to venture off the beaten path. They offer the ruggedness and capabilities of larger SUVs without any unnecessary bulk. Their small dimensions make them ready to travel down narrow off-road trails and easy to park when you have to return to your regular life in the city (everyone has to eventually). Each one sits at a really nice price point for families sticking to a budget, too. With seating for five in each model, great safety features, and impressive capabilities, both subcompact SUVs have much to offer. If you’re struggling to narrow things down, here’s a look at how the two compare.

Interior Dimensions

Parents know that when kids feel cramped in the backseat, everybody suffers. The “Don’t touch me!” and “Your leg is on my side!” fights are endless. And when you opt for a subcompact SUV, there can be concerns that your finicky passengers won’t have room to spread out like they might in a larger model. So, how do the Seltos and the Bronco Sport do in the passenger space department?

The Ford Bronco Sport far outshines the Seltos when it comes to passenger volume. The 2023 Ford Bronco Sport is a star because of its safari-style roof and extra headroom for tall passengers. In fact, the Bronco Sport has an inch and a half more headroom in the front seat (41.5 inches versus 40 inches) and over three inches more headroom in the rear seat area (41.7 inches versus 38.4). So, if you have tall kids, they’ll be more comfortable in the Bronco sport. The Bronco Sport also has more shoulder room in the front and back seats and has more overall passenger volume than the Kia Seltos. It may seem like just a few inches of difference, but when you’re on a long car ride, those inches make all the difference.

A person is shown writing in a journal near a grey 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks.

Cargo Space and Management

Both of these vehicles get 60/40-split fold-flat rear seats, which are ideal for setting up different cargo configurations. Put down just one side of the rear seats when you still want two passenger seats back there but also need room for bulkier luggage like a cooler or a foldable mountain bike. Fold the rear seats down entirely when it’s just you and your partner and tons of cargo.

However, the Ford Bronco outperforms the Seltos again here, thanks to several convenient features that families will love. First, it gets rubberized second-row seatbacks; you’ll want these if you plan on folding the rear seats flat to make extra cargo room. Once you’ve packed muddy hiking boots and damp lake floaties on that extended cargo floor, you’ll be glad these rubberized seatbacks are easy to clean. The Bronco Sport also gets a super useful cargo management area with carabiner hooks and tie-downs for all your adventure gear. Plus, it has a camp table, giving you the perfect place to huddle over a map to choose your next hiking trail or enjoy snacks before heading out for the day.

The Bronco Sport even has available zippered pockets on the backs of the front seat, giving rear-seat passengers somewhere to stash road trip essentials like snacks, coloring books, and more. The Badlands trim even gets second-row under-seat storage for hiding valuables when you’re away from your vehicle. The Seltos is, unfortunately, lacking in thoughtful touches like these.

Driver-Assist Features

Everybody wants to be as safe a driver as possible, but this is usually a top concern for parents. It becomes even more important when you’re an adventurous family who regularly travels roads unknown and hits some off-road territories. Both the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport and the 2023 Kia Seltos do well in the driver-assist department. Both vehicles have blind-spot monitoring to alert you when someone approaches you in this tricky-to-see zone. They also both have pre-collision braking and lane keep assist.

The Ford Bronco Sport does, once again, rise to the top in this category with a few available features that make it great for parents who might be distracted by backseat passengers. The 2023 Bronco Sport has available Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, meaning it detects traffic slow down, brings the vehicle to a stop when necessary, and then resumes movement when it detects traffic ahead moving. This feature also includes evasive steering, which will take over steering to avoid a crash when there isn’t enough room to brake. These features can avoid major accidents and add big value to the Ford Bronco Sport.

A Few Thoughtful Extras

There are a few more thoughtful features that are just nice to have in the Ford Bronco Sport that the Seltos doesn’t offer. One of these includes removable and washable floor mats. If you’re an outdoorsy family, you will inevitably make a mess in your vehicle; it’s unavoidable. Washing off the floor mats quickly is a very convenient feature when dirt and mud are constantly coming into the car.

The Ford Bronco Sport also has a handy integrated bottle opener in the tailgate. Everyone will appreciate that when it’s time to pop open some cold drinks after a long day of hiking or swimming. Additionally, the seating material on most of the Bronco Sport trims is designed to be easy to clean. Let’s face it; when venturing into the wilderness, you’re bound to get dirty, and the Bronco Sport is way ahead of you.

A yellow 2023 Kia Seltos SX is shown from the rear on a trail.

If Your Family Is Serious About Exploring, Consider the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport

Spending time in the great outdoors is an excellent way to bond with your family. You’re away from the distractions of TVs, laptops, and video games. A night around a campfire or a day on the hiking trails allows everyone a chance to catch up in the fresh air. If you’re dedicated to an active lifestyle with your family, the right vehicle makes all the difference. You know you’ll be trekking mud into your vehicle, wandering down rough roads, and taking long trips to your next adventure. You need a vehicle that can keep up and has thoughtful features for adventurous families.

While the 2023 Kia Seltos and the 2023 Ford Bronco Sport have great capabilities and easy-to-maneuver dimensions, the Ford Bronco Sport has more features that make it adventure-ready. Ford put some thoughtful features in this subcompact SUV that make all those moments on the road with family go a little more smooth. From rubberized and washable compartments to more passenger space to clever storage areas, it’s ready for whatever your thrill-seeking family has ahead.