Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco
For years, the Jeep Wrangler has stood alone as the only true off-road capable 4×4 vehicle on the market. Competitors have come and gone over the years. Vehicles like the International Harvester Scout, Suzuki Samurai and, more recently, the Toyota FJ Cruiser have tried to dethrone Jeep’s off-road machine – all achieving limited success. Other manufacturers have realized the same fate as the amount of engineering and off-road capability required to compete with the Wrangler is very difficult to achieve and sustain.
Ford’s recent revealing of the highly anticipated re-boot of the Ford Bronco make it the newest vehicle to challenge the Jeep Wrangler. The original Bronco was a popular two-door SUV that enjoyed over 4 decades of production, eventually being discontinued by Ford Motor Company in 1996. While the original Bronco can still be found on the road today, most often as a popular restoration choice for enthusiasts, the 2021 Bronco and Bronco Sport combine modern engineering with the classic “Bronco-styling” that car-shoppers have been asking for.
So how does the new Ford Bronco “stack up” to the highly successful Jeep Wrangler? In this article, we will compare the two vehicles on performance, capability and price; letting you decide if the Bronco has what it takes to challenge the Wrangler’s market position.
The base engine on the 2020 Jeep Wrangler is a familiar one, a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine. The Wrangler engine offers customers 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The base engine offered on the new Bronco is a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine expected to put out 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Both vehicles offer shoppers additional engine choices. For the Wrangler, that means a 2.0L Turbo engine with 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque as well as a 3.0L EcoDiesel option offering 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The new Bronco’s only other option is a 2.7L V6 with an expected 310 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. Likely in anticipation of the Bronco release, Jeep teased a photo of a Wrangler with a “392” badge, which signals that a Wrangler with a 6.4L Hemi V-8 may be in the works.
As for the transmission, both the Wrangler and Bronco offer customers a manual and automatic option; however the manual transmission is only available on the base engine for both vehicles. The manual transmission offered on the Bronco is 7-speed while the Wrangler offers the 6-speed manual transmission. On the automatic side, the Bronco offers a 10-speed transmission versus the Wrangler’s 8-speed.
Both vehicles are rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The true test of the new Ford Bronco will be how it performs on the trails. Since the vehicle won’t be available at dealerships until Spring 2021 (late 2020 for the Bronco Sport), we’ll have to rely on vehicle specs to compare the two models. Both the Wrangler Bronco use Dana-supplied axles in the front and rear. Both vehicles also offer electronic locking differentials on both ends. Wranglers not equipped with the locking differential can be optioned to a limited-slip differential, while the new Bronco does not offer this option. The Wrangler also offers customers three transfer cases compared to the Bronco’s two.
The suspension offered on the Bronco and Wrangler is another key area where the vehicles differ. While both vehicles offer live axles in the rear, the Bronco doesn’t offer a front live axle. This is an important differentiator as the lack of a front live axle in the Bronco will improve on-road drivability while sacrificing off-road capability. The Wrangler features live axles in both the front and rear, making it the better choice for off-roaders.
Both the Bronco and Wrangler offer similar asking prices at the base level. The Wrangler Sport (two-door) gets the slight edge here with a starting MSRP of $28,295 compared to the two-door Bronco which starts at $29,995. The four-door versions give Jeep an even bigger edge with the Wrangler Unlimited starting at $31,795 compared to the four-door Bronco at $34,695. Both vehicles are offered in a number of different trim levels and even more available options which can make the prices more difficult to compare.
In conclusion, the new Ford Bronco appears to offer some formidable competition to the Jeep Wrangler. While the Jeep will likely still hold the edge among true off-road enthusiasts, the off-road capability of the Ford Bronco paired with its popular nameplate likely adds up to some of the toughest competition the Jeep brand has faced in this category. What do you think? Leave a comment below and let us know which vehicle you prefer!
Jeep Wrangler at Glenn’s Freedom Jeep
Glenn’s Freedom Jeep is proud to offer the Jeep Wrangler for sale to customers in Kentucky and surrounding states. As the #1 Jeep Dealership in Kentucky, we offer one of the best selections on both new and used Jeep Wranglers. Let our Jeep Sales Specialists answer any questions you may have. Call, click or stop by our Jeep dealership in Lexington, KY today!
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