Can the 2021 Ford Bronco push the Jeep Wrangler off of its long-owned throne? The new Ford Bronco is out, and the specs are under scrutiny. Let's find out how the Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler really matches up.
Jeep Wrangler Overview
Both the Bronco and Wrangler off-roaders are available with a turbocharged inline-four or a V6, but which engine is offered as a baseline is what sets them apart. The Jeep Wrangler is a classic, with the base engine sitting at 3.6L V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lb-feet of torque. However, Jeep just teased a Wrangler with a 6.4L V8, so it seems there's bigger things to come. The gear ratios on the 2021 two- door Wrangler can be found here. The fuel economy MPG sits at combined 23, city 22, and highway 24, with a gas tank of 17.5 gallon capacity. The Wrangler's wheelbase is 96.8 inches, and it's 166.8 inches long, with a width of 73.8 inches without mirrors and a height of 73.6 inches. The minimum ground clearance is 9.7 inches.
Moving on to the suspension, the front type is Leading Link with trailing arm in the rear and a towing capacity of 2000 pounds at base. The suspension features a separate coil spring and damper configuration with a front anti-roll bar disconnect. Jeep offer tires from five different manufacturers with optional mud-terrain on the Rubicon.
Looking at higher package options, the Sahara is available with full-time AWD and the same low range as the Rubicon package. If you're one of the off-roaders, the approach angle on a base two-door is 41.4 degrees with 44.0 degrees on a Rubicon. The breakover angle - the maximum angle a vehicle can drive over an apex without anything in the wheelbase scraping - is 25.0 degrees on a base two-door and 20.3 on a base four door. If you're looking at a full kit, you're up to 27.8 degrees on a two-door and 22.6 on a four door. As for the departure angle, the base two-door offers a 35.9 degree angle, while the four door Wrangler offers 36.1, and a Rubicon sits at 37.0 degrees with both door counts. As for water fording, the Wrangler is 3.5 inches short of the Sasquatch's cool 33.5 inches.
The 2021 Wrangler introduces two new powertrains - the plug-in hybrid 4xe and a 470 horsepower V8 in the new Rubicon 392, which sits on 33-inch tires and is said by Jeep to be able to hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Package & Trim Options
So, what are your trim level options on a Jeep Wrangler? First off, you have the Sport package - kicking off the lineup, the two-and four-door body style options feature anti-spin rear differential, cold air intake, several top options, Uconnect with a 5-inch touchscreen display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and more. Moving on up, the Willys Sport is inspired by the military heritage of the Jeep and features heavy duty 4-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, black grille, Willys hood decal, and more. The Wrangler Sport S includes heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED headlamps, fog lamps, and tail lamps, ParkSense system, and more. The Islander features Silver "Jeep" badges, an Islander hood decal, and more - a very aesthetic version of the beloved Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler Willys includes most Sport S features and more. The Jeep Wrangler Freedom includes a steel front bumper, Oscar Mike badge, and more.
The 80th Anniversary Wrangler is a stunner, and includes 80th anniversary badges along with more available options than previous trim levels. The Altitude, Sahara Altitude, and High Altitude are refined and worth a look, and the Sahara features a four-door model only with an available integrated off-road camera and more. Finally, the Rubicon features available steel bumpers, available 4:1 Rock-Trac heavy duty full-time 4WD system and more.
With a handsome lineup, the Wrangler is looking good if you're into adventure machines.
Ford Bronco Overview
The new 2021 Ford Bronco is back with a bang, absent from production since 1996. So, how does this revival match up to the long-loved Jeep Wrangler? Taking a look at the engine first, the Bronco boasts a turbocharged 2.3L inline-four, projected at 270 horsepower and 310 lb-feet of torque; or identical to that of a Ford Ranger. The four lowest Bronco trims, a twin turbo 2.7L V6 projected at 310 horsepower and 410 lb-feet of torque can be optioned, and it's standard in the highest three trims. It can also be had with a 7-speed manual. All 2.7L Broncos get the 10-speed auto, which can also be optioned on the base engine. You can also option an electromechanical transfer case - which enables you to leave your Bronco in 4WD without the threat of the axles binding on concrete. The gear ratios can be found here.
The Bronco has coil-over dampers on suspension and a front anti-roll bar disconnect (as does the Wrangler). There's three wheel sizes to choose from with three overall diameters; Bronco offers five tire models from four manufacturers. The wheelbase is 100.4, and on the four door Bronco it's 116.1. The Bronco's Sasquatch Package adds 35-inch mud-terrain tires, locking front and rear axles, suspension with high clearance, as well as fender flares and dampers, but is only available with the ten-speed automatic transmission (Ford Spokesman Mike Levine on Twitter). The Bronco's departure angle is 29.8 and 29.7 degrees for two-and four-door, respectively. The Sasquatch package brings Bronco's A-game, though - 37.2 degrees for the two-door and 37.0 for the four-door, while the Rubicon sits at 37.0 degrees on both door counts.
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Package & Trim Options
There's 7 trim levels for the Bronco - and starting off, the base model is capable right off the bat. The standard is 4WD and an electronic two-speed transfer case. The engine is a 2.3L turbocharged EcoBoost inline-four engine with a standard seven-speed manual transmission, but can be optioned to a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with a 10-speed automatic. It features cloth seats and an 8 inch touch screen, and more. Overall, we're off to a good start. The Bronco Big Bend to get an additional sixth G.O.A.T (Goes Over All Terrains) driving mode to the base model's five. A carbonized gray grille is eye-catching, as well as the leather-wrapped steering wheel and privacy glass. The same engine options are available. There's also more color options available. Next up is the Black Diamond, which steers more towards heavy duty capabilities. It's got a stronger front bumper as well as rock rails and "bash plates". You get another G.O.A.T mode, up to seven now. It's the first model to get overhead auxiliary switches for added accessories and the same engine options apply, but you get yet another color choice. The Bronco Outer Banks is more of a luxury trim, and can be compared more closely to the Sahara. It's back down to six G.O.A.T. driving modes, but you add LED lights, heated front seats, and more in the Mid package - with dual climate control, remote start, and more. A 12-inch touch screen can be optioned in with the High package.
Moving on up to the Wildtrak, called the 'desert runner'. Also featuring the Mid package, this ride has the Sasquatch package standard, so get ready to go off-roading. You get seven driving modes - including Baja mode for desert driving. It includes heated cloth seats, but you can option into leather seats as well. It also features hood graphics. The Bronco Badlands is up next, supposedly the most capable when it comes to off-roading, but doesn't come standard with the Sasquatch package. It includes a 'Rock Crawl' driving mode, as well as heavy-duty, durable bumpers. Finally, the First Edition - of which only 3500 will be produced. It gets the Sasquatch package standard and includes the Lux package - adding adaptive cruise control, ten-speaker sound system from Bang & Olufsen, voice activated touchscreen navigation, as well as a wireless charging pad. It's got special First Edition hood and side graphics as well. It's available in four colors.
Overall, an impressive and striking lineup with excellent features.
Bronco Vs Wrangler - The Head To Head Comparison
Where are we at with performance reports on the Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler?
The 2021 Wrangler can be optioned with a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic on its 3.6L V6. You can also opt for a turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid. Other options include 3.0L diesel V6, 375 horsepower plug-in hybrid 4xe powertrain, and a 6.4L V8. Part time four-wheel drive is also standard, which is controlled by a lever on the center console. The handling on the Jeep Wrangler has improved; however, it's still slightly bulkier compared to today's streamlined SUVs, as tested by Car and Driver. The fuel economy on a Wrangler beats rivals such as the Toyota 4Runner, and the most efficient is the diesel engine (22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway). The Wrangler offers a good field of vision and height for visibility, as well as plenty of cargo space (if you go with the four door). If you're looking at the infotainment interface, the Wrangler uses Uconnect, an easy-to-use, sleek system with navigation, Bluetooth, and is available in three different sizes. As for safety features, you can opt for blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. A neat perk, too - all 2021 models come with three years of free maintenance.
Bronco's return caused an uproar, and it's time to see if the Ford Bronco can measure up to the hype. First off, the aesthetics are nostalgic but clean and updated, and you can load up the options (including a 12 inch touchscreen!). Although you won't be able to get your hands on one until the summer of 2021 (thanks, Coronavirus), we can still take a look at its performance capabilities. The off-road hardware on the Bronco is nothing short of impressive as can be seen in its trim level options. The Wildtrak comes standard with 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels and gigantic 35-inch mud-terrain tires. Your engine options are a four-pot or a V6 - standard being the turbocharged 2.3L inline-four with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-feet of torque, or a twin-turbo 2.7L V6 with 310 horsepower and 400 lb-feet of torque. Ford also confirmed that Bronco will at some point offer a hybrid powertrain - exciting news for the future. You can get a ten-speed automatic transmission on both engines, but a seven-speed manual is only compatible with the smaller engine option - with a low crawler speed, it's good for tackling obstacles at slower speeds. Standard is four-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. The Bronco Sport (according to the EPA) offers figures as high as 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for a combined 26 mpg when it comes to fuel economy, falling short of rivals and not impressing critics.
Both vehicles are rated to tow 3500 pounds. Ford Bronco uses coil-over dampers up against the Jeep Wrangler's separate coil spring and damper configuration. Both vehicles have live axles in the rear with trailing arms and a Panhard rod, but Ford didn't give the Bronco a front live axle, but instead unequal-length control arms make up the independent front suspension, improving on-road drivability. Both come with an anti-roll bar disconnect, the Wrangler using an electronic actuator and the Bronco using a hydraulically controlled bar able to operate under load.
The Wrangler doesn't currently offer an advanced shock package to rival the Bronco's Sasquatch package, but we hope to see more in that realm in the future. Both vehicles offer several tire types from several manufacturers.
Something often overlooked is the door and roof removal for these vehicles, so how does that stack up? There's pros and cons to both, the Bronco's frameless windows make its doors lighter, as well as having mirrors attached to the front so you don't lose their functionality like the Jeep's on-door mirrors. The glass on the rear shell is protected by fiberglass on the Jeep, whereas on the Bronco you could accidentally swing your tool and hit the glass while removing the bolts.
When it comes to technology and trim features, the Wrangler offers an impressive speaker system, a year of free SiriusXM, AM/FM Radio, and Bluetooth capabilities with their Uconnect infotainment system. It offers cruise control on the steering wheel, keyless ignition/push-to-start, rear view camera, heated mirrors, Mopar interior and exterior kit options, as well as nine exterior and three interior color options, and more.
The Bronco offers a nostalgic, retro feel. There's even an option for floor drains so you can hose 'er off after a long day of off-roading in the great outdoors. It offers a Sync 4 infotainment system, advanced safety features, and the navigation system works off-road and features trail recommendations with the option to share yours. There's also a camera view option showing you the terrain in front of each of your tires. It also includes Trail Control - a slow-speed cruise control meant to help you concentrate on direction while off-roading. Trail Turn Assist allows the Bronco to make sharp turns - it brakes the inside wheel, allowing the vehicle to pivot around it. The Bronco also features a rack built into the top of the dashboard, allowing tech to be mounted there with nearby 12V outlets. The exterior mirrors are mounted on the base of the windshield, allowing use even when you take the doors off.
The Jeep Wrangler Sport starts at just under $30,000. Then comes the Sport S at $33,170; the Islander sits at $34,865, and the Freedom is $36,365. Moving onto the 80th Anniversary Edition - it'll run you $37,665, and the Sahara starts at $40,320. The higher trims - the Rubicon starts at $40,370 - and then jumps to $74,995 if you're looking at the Rubicon 392.
The base two-door Bronco starts at right under $30,000, and the Big Bend jumps to $34,880. The Black Diamond sits at $37,545; the Outer Banks is at $40,450, the Badlands starts at $43,590, and the Wildtrak jumping to $48,475. Finally, the First Edition will run you at least $58,905.
Quick Comparison Table
Our Top Reasons for the Ford Bronco
With a promising comeback, the Bronco is on the rise to be a solid competitor for the Wrangler. With compelling trail options, the Bronco shines when it comes to off-roading comfort. Something about the nostalgia of the Bronco is eye-catching, as well - Ford fanatics everywhere are beaming at the revival. Ford definitely did the Bronco justice, and promises an exciting future in the new world of the Ford Bronco. The trim levels are impressive, with many tech options and aesthetics to choose from; the Sasquatch package shines with its impressive off-roading capabilities.
Our Top Reasons for the Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is an American gem, with its military history and huge come-up. A well-loved, universally recognized vehicle, you can never go wrong with a Wrangler. Its classic aesthetics and trim options ensure you'll be ready to hit the trails with all the newest tech. With nothing else like the Wrangler until now, the Bronco offers a solid competitive nature - inciting curiosity for the future of Jeep and how far they'll push its capabilities.
The Verdict :
One is a relic of the past, one is the go-to off road vehicle.
If you're looking for a striking SUV and crave the outdoor adventures, you can't go wrong either way. With many similarities, it really is a game of preference. Many are Wrangler fans for life, and many are excited for the long-awaited Bronco revamp. Everyone's excited to get their hands on the Bronco and see it hit the roads - and off the roads. It's really a close call, and it's up to the consumers. Ford boldly and excellently introduced a strong contender for an off-roading vehicle. In the future, we're sure to see the competitive nature of both vehicles come out to play even more.
With Jeep's long-built empire and expertise, as well as its military background, it'll be a tough battle as we watch the SUVs go head-to-head - and we're only just beginning.