Let the 4x4 rivalry commence.
It's no secret that the 2021 Ford Bronco will be the toughest challenge yet for the Jeep Wrangler. Both are rugged off-roaders with iconic nameplates and vehemently loyal fan bases, and Jeep is fully aware of how serious of a rival the Bronco is; just a few days ago, Jeep announced several updates for the Wrangler, opportune timing as Ford was in the process of teasing the new Bronco. All that being said, how do the two rivals stack up? Let's find out.
Even before we get into practical matters like ground clearance and off-road tech, the two begin trading blows. Both the Wrangler and Bronco successfully hark back to their predecessors by retaining boxy profiles, flared fenders, and chunky off-road rubber. Like the Wrangler, the Bronco features a removable roof and doors. Size-wise, the Wrangler two-door is a whole 6.9 inches shorter than the Bronco two-door, but the four-door of each is closer in length (the Bronco is just an inch longer). For now, from a style perspective, we'd say the fresher Bronco has the edge.
Inside, both the Bronco and Wrangler have hard-wearing, rugged cabins with upright dashboards. As the newer of the two, the Bronco has the tech advantage as its available 12-inch SYNC 4 touchscreen dwarfs what's available in the Wrangler. The Bronco also offers a 360-degree camera system. Although the Jeep has more than double the number of trims, both SUVs are highly customizable; the Bronco, for instance, comes with over 200 available accessories. The two-door Bronco has notably more cargo space than the smaller Wrangler.
The Bronco takes the lead here, as its available 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine has 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Jeep has nothing to match that power figure - at least not yet. The Wrangler Unlimited's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel has a strong 442 lb-ft but just 260 hp. At base level, the Bronco's 2.3-liter turbo EcoBoost produces 270 hp/310 lb-ft, out-muscling the Jeep's base V6 which has 285 hp/260 lb-ft. Both body styles of the Bronco can tow 3,500 pounds, but only the four-door Wrangler can match this; the two-door Wrangler can only tow 2,000 lbs.
The Bronco's maximum ground clearance of 11.6 inches is better than the Wrangler's best of 10.8 and it has an extra 3.5 inches of water fording capability. However, the Wrangler has better maximum approach angles across its various trims. The Bronco's 94.75:1 maximum crawl ratio is better than the Wrangler's best, but the Jeep's transfer case with a 4.0:1 low-range is better than the Ford's 3.06:1 low ratio. Ford has packed in lots of high-tech off-road gear like Trail One-Pedal Drive with acceleration/braking control for better slow-mode rock crawling, plus Trail Control, essentially off-road cruise control.
Both the Wrangler and Bronco are top choices in this segment for off-road junkies, but the Bronco's extra power, cargo space, and technology could see it reign as the new king.