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Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler, the Verdict Is In

July 13, 2021

Gear Patrol's recent article titled, "The 2021 Ford Bronco Is the Jeep Wrangler's Worst Nightmare" kind of says it all.

They chose a Bronco for their segment: a loaded, red, two-door Badlands trim model with a seven-speed manual transmission (only available with the smaller but still capable 2.3-liter inline-four engine). And it impressed.

However Gear Patrol is not the only source for the overwhelming support for the Bronco, but let's look at the facts we compliled. Our Ford friends have broken it all down for you, and we are confident the, "Michigan-built off-roader is set to encroach on the Ohio-built Jeep Wrangler!"

Price: Ford Bronco vs. Jeep Wrangler comparison doesn't show a significant price difference. The two-door Ford Bronco starts at $28,500, which is only slightly more than the two-door 2020 Wrangler Sport starting at $28,295. If you prefer the four-door Bronco, you are looking at a starting price of $33,200 compared to a starting price of $31,795 for a four-door Wrangler.

Interior Design: The Bronco vs. Wrangler shows additional similarities in interior design. The Wrangler comes standard with a five-inch Uconnect touch screen, but you will need to upgrade if you want Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. This SUV also comes with a weatherproof floor and drain plugs. The two-door Wrangler seats four, while the four-door Wrangler leaves room for five. The 2021 Ford Bronco shows more features come standard when looking at Ford or Jeep. Models come with the SYNC 4 infotainment system and an eight-inch touch screen. It also comes with a weatherproof floor and drain plugs for complete versatility. Choose to seat four in the two-door Bronco, or hold five in a four-door Bronco. Ford has not shared the trunk capacity of the Bronco but we can assume that it will be more compared to the Wrangler. In addition, the Bronco comes across as more spacious than the Wrangler in every way except rear headroom where it falls short just slightly. All things considered, the Bronco wins this comparison as well. 

Tech: The Ford Bronco is the winner here but solely because it is the newer vehicle and offers newer technology. In terms of safety, the Jeep and Bronco cancel each other out. The essential Mid package isn’t standard almost till mid-way in the trim lineup on the Ford but is optional Big Bend onwards. The Jeep, on the other hand, offers its driver assistance systems from Sport S trim onwards but skips the bottom two trims. 

Size: Suppose you're looking at the dimensions of the Ford vs. Jeep, we see that the Bronco is slightly larger. The two-door Bronco has a wheelbase measuring 100.4 inches, compared to the Wrangler at 96.8 inches. Adding two more doors adjusts the Jeep measurement to 118.4 inches, which is slightly larger than the four-door Bronco at 116.1 inches. However, the Wildtrak Bronco measures 79.3 inches wide, which is more than five inches over the Wrangler. Additionally, if you add the Sasquatch package, you get a taller SUV than the Wrangler.

Peformance: The new Wrangler features a standard 285-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, while the Bronco features a 270-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder instead. Each has some optional engines available as well. With the new Bronco, you can choose a 310-horsepower 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6, while the Wrangler offers a 270-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four. However, the Wrangler does also offer a 260-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-diesel. Looking at the transmission of the Bronco or Wrangler, we see better options with the Ford model. Bronco owners can choose between a seven-speed manual and ten-speed automatic. The Wrangler only comes with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.  Yes, the Bronco’s engines are more modern, lighter, and have a higher output but the lineup lacks a diesel engine which the Jeep offers. Add to that an upcoming plug-in hybrid powertrain and Wrangler doesn’t have much competition in the category. 

Wheels and Tires: The Bronco offers three wheel sizes, three overall diameters, and five tire models from four different manufacturers. Here's the breakdown. Base: Bridgestone Dueler H/T 685, 255/70R-16Big Bend: Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S, 255/75R-17Outer Banks: Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S, 255/70R-18Black Diamond: General Grabber A/Tx, 265/70R-17Badlands: BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2, 285/70R-17Badlands (optional): Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT, 285/70R-17Wildtrak, First Edition, Sasquatch: Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT, LT315/70R-17Jeep offers a similar range of tires from five different manufacturers, including an optional mud-terrain on the Rubicon, but none match the meaty 35-inch rubber supplied in the Sasquatch package.

Tow and Payload: While both the new Ford Bronco and Wrangler models can tow up to 3,500 pounds, the Ford SUV offers more hauling capability. The new Wrangler has a max payload rating of 1,351 pounds, while the Bronco can handle up to 1,370 pounds of cargo with ease.

Off road packages: The Bronco takes this category as it offers a higher scope of customization compared to the Wrangler. Every package is optional on all trims and you can customize the Bronco as you like it, provided you will pay for it. That is not the case with the Wrangler as the locking differential for example, are available on the Rubicon trims only. In addition, though the electric torque will certainly come in handy off-road, it will be limited to the plug-in trims only and will certainly come at a hefty premium.

Suspension is a hot topic we had to include for you: Both the Bronco and the Wrangler locate the live axles in the rear with trailing arms and a Panhard rod. The Bronco uses coil-over dampers to the Jeep's separate coil spring and damper configuration. Ford didn't give the Bronco a live axle in the front. Instead, unequal-length control arms are the foundation of the independent front suspension. While the lack of a live axle might rile the masses, the independent front setup will pay dividends for on-road drivability. In their most hard-core forms, both the Bronco and the Jeep come with a front anti-roll bar disconnect. The Wrangler uses an electronic actuator to the Bronco's hydraulically controlled bar that can operate under load. We'll be sure to follow up with more detail regarding the Bronco's operation. When equipped with the Sasquatch package, Bilstein dampers with piggyback reservoirs are fitted at all four corners.

Car and Driver has done a thorough job diving through every detail. We did find, however, in our research that what you need merits how you view the results of the comparisons. Ordering your specifications from the factory and customizing based on your needs was of a very large value from Bronco. The user's frequency of off-road use also impacted their opinions of the comparisons.

A good summary thanks to AutoGuide: Choosing between the two, at least on paper, the Bronco is the clear winner but only till the Wrangler 4Xe pricing is announced. As of the current on-sale lineup the Bronco is more modern of the two with more modern equipment. It also manages the same output from much smaller engines and offers better off-roading hardware. Then there are the driver assistance systems or the lack thereof on the Wrangler. Yes, with all packages in place, the Bronco would likely be more expensive than the Wrangler but it is the newer car and despite the higher price the Bronco makes a better case for itself in the value and usability it promises to return. So one should go for the Wrangler only if that is the only one you want. We would choose the Bronco. 

We agree and choose BRONCO! Let us get started on your Bronco order for you today. Contact us at J.C. Lewis Ford Savannah. www.jclewisford.com or 912.210.5676.