Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler: The Ultimate Off-Road Showdown

Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler: The Ultimate Off-Road Showdown

In the review of Ford Bronco vs Jeep Wrangler, choosing your off-road vehicle is no small feat. Our comprehensive guide cuts through the noise with a blow-by-blow comparison on performance, durability, and comfort. No fluff, just facts that pave the road to your informed decision.

In Short

In this ultimate off-road showdown, both the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler prove to be formidable opponents. Each boasts a robust set of features, capabilities, and customization options that make them appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. However, when it comes to delivering a well-rounded performance both on and off the road, the Ford Bronco seems to have the slight upper hand.

While the Jeep Wrangler is undeniably a classic off-roader with a rich heritage, the Ford Bronco manages to combine modern technology, comfort, and safety features with its off-roading prowess. This makes it a compelling choice for those seeking a vehicle that can conquer the trails without compromising on-road comfort and convenience.

Key Facts To Take Away From This Review

  • The Ford Bronco edges out with a base 300-hp engine, while the Jeep Wrangler offers a variety of engines, including a potent 470-hp V8 in the Rubicon 392.
  • In terms of interior innovation, the Bronco features a terrain management system, while the Wrangler provides a classic open-air driving experience.
  • When it comes to the safety ratings, the Bronco fairs better than the Wrangler.
  • If we look at the towing capacity, most Bronco models start at 3,500 pounds, with a max towing capacity of 4,500 lbs. with the Raptor. Most Wranglers can also tow 3,500 pounds, and the Rubicon and Rubicon X models can reach an astounding towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.
  • Both vehicles offer advanced on-road tech, but the Bronco boasts a larger 12-inch infotainment screen over the Wrangler's 8.4-inch display.
  • When it comes to customization, both the Bronco and Wrangler offer extensive options, but the Bronco has a slight advantage in interior space with 38.3 cubic feet of cargo room versus the Wrangler's 31.7 cubic feet.

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Ford Bronco Overview

The Ford Bronco, reborn with a new design and cutting-edge tech, has quickly captured the imaginations of off-road enthusiasts. Introduced in 2021, this off-roader is equipped with serious power and hardware that equip it for the most challenging trails. Ford’s strategic positioning of the Bronco aims to match or exceed the Jeep Wrangler in both form and function, a goal they appear to have achieved.

The new Bronco is more than just a pretty face, though. Beneath its robust exterior is an off-road titan primed for the road less traveled. Whether it’s the two-door or four-door versions, the Bronco is designed to appeal to the outdoor enthusiast, offering a vehicle that’s as comfortable on the trail as it is on the city streets.

Key Features

Under the hood, the Ford Bronco boasts a potent a 300-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder base engine. For those seeking more power, an optional 330-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6 is available. The transmission choices include a standard 10-speed automatic or an available seven-speed manual with the smaller engine — plenty of power to tackle any trail.

Yet, the Bronco isn’t just a powerhouse; it also prioritizes comfort and practicality. The interior features innovative elements such as a rugged control room with easy-to-clean surfaces and a convenient dashboard rack for mounting devices like smartphones and GoPros. Add in the frameless doors that are easy to remove and store on-board, especially in the four-door models, and you have a vehicle that’s as practical as it is fun to drive.

Off-Road Performance

Turning our attention to the Bronco’s off-road capabilities, here's what you can expect from this vehicle:

  • A ground clearance between 8.4 to 13.1 inches, allowing it to navigate challenging off-road terrain with ease
  • Electronic front and rear-locking differentials, enhancing off-road prowess
  • A flexible Terrain Management System, delivering balanced traction across uneven surfaces

However, the Bronco’s off-road prowess extends beyond these features. The High-Performance Off-Road Stability Suspension System, available in four iterations, helps with the Bronco’s off-road handling and ride quality. With its suspension systems, including the independent front suspension, steel bash plates, and the vehicle’s design, the Bronco can tackle challenging harsh off-road conditions with improved approach, break-over, and departure angles. This is a vehicle that’s born to be wild.

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Jeep Wrangler Overview

The Jeep Wrangler, another emblem of off-roading, stands as a formidable contender against the Bronco. Known for its great off-roading capabilities, the Wrangler boasts rugged solid axles and a impressive four-wheel-drive system. Additionally, the Wrangler’s distinctive open-air driving capability, which includes removable doors and roof, has made it very an attractive option for the outdoor enthusiasts.

The Wrangler’s prestigious lineage, tracing back to World War II, contributes to its appeal. Despite its historical roots, however, the Wrangler doesn’t shy away from delivering modern features and capabilities. With its variety of trims and models, the Wrangler lineup offers a range of options to suit any adventurer’s needs.

Key Features

The Jeep Wrangler provides a selection of engines, among which is a high-performance 6.4L HEMI® SRT V8 engine exclusive to the Rubicon 392 model. This gives the Wrangler a serious edge when it comes to power, allowing it to tackle some of the toughest trails with ease.

One of the key features of the Jeep Wrangler’s off-road ability is its solid front axle, along with its front and rear differentials. This feature, combined with the Wrangler’s highly customizable options, allows drivers to tailor their vehicle to their specific off-roading needs. Whether it’s traversing rocky terrain or cruising down a sandy beach, the Wrangler is up to the task.

Off-Road Performance

In terms of off-road performance, the Wrangler presents a formidable challenge. For example, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model features:

  • Ground clearance of 10.8 inches, which is one of the highest in its class
  • Approach angle of 44.0 degrees
  • Breakover angle of 27.8 degrees
  • Departure angle of 37.0 degrees

This makes the Wrangler well-equipped to handle challenging off-road conditions, taking you off the beaten path with ease and providing the comfort of a heated steering wheel, all thanks to its off road capability.

The Wrangler also doesn’t compromise on its off-road enhancements. Equipped with locking differentials, rear differentials, and a sway bar disconnect system, the Wrangler’s off-road capabilities are top of the line. Whether you’re planning to start with the base Sport model or the more rugged Rubicon, you'll find that the Wrangler is designed to tackle the great outdoors with ease.

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On-Road Comfort and Driving Experience

Despite their shared off-road prowess, the Bronco and Wrangler offer different on-road comfort and driving experiences. The Ford Bronco is often perceived as plush and enjoyable. Its handling is seen as engaging and fun, thanks to its lively steering and body-on-frame design that mixes traditional feel with modern conveniences.

Conversely, the Jeep Wrangler’s on-road behavior is often perceived as less polished, with its on road manners being a common concern. Its off-road design results in a bit of a jarring ride over uneven pavement, and its truck-like handling and inconsistent braking distances can create challenges for drivers. However, the 2024 model has implemented robust active noise-cancellation to enhance cabin quietness, showing that Jeep is constantly working on improving the on-road experience.

Technology and Infotainment

When it comes to technology and infotainment, the Ford Bronco pulls ahead, boasting a larger 12-inch display, outdoing the Jeep Wrangler’s 8.4-inch screen. Both vehicles offer navigation and various connectivity options, but the Bronco’s larger display provides a more advanced digital instrument cluster and clearer visibility.

The Bronco’s infotainment system comes with standard features such as multiple USB ports, Bluetooth, a high-quality stereo system, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. On the other hand, the Wrangler offers a Uconnect system with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, integration with Amazon Alexa, and features like Remote Vehicle Start, Send & Go destination transfer, and a vehicle health report system.

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Interior Space and Comfort

When it comes to the interior space and comfort, the Ford Bronco holds an advantage over the Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco offers 38.3 cubic feet of cargo room compared to the Wrangler’s 31.7 cubic feet. Plus, the seats in the Bronco are wider and softer, leading to a difference in seating comfort.

Both SUVs have optional power-adjustable front seats to enhance comfort. However, the Wrangler’s cabin has limitations in terms of spaciousness and outward visibility due to structural elements like roof pillars and roll bars. The Bronco, on the other hand, has a more spacious and comfortable interior, providing a superior ride for both driver and passengers.

Safety and Reliability

Regarding safety and reliability, the Ford Bronco surpasses the Jeep Wrangler in several aspects. It has received better crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and boasts a higher reliability score from Consumer Reports. Additionally, the Bronco comes standard with a suite of safety features, including a rearview camera, forward automatic emergency braking, automatic high beam headlights, and a rear-seat reminder system, as detailed in Ford's official safety documentation.

Towing Capacity and Off-Road Accessories

When it comes to towing prowess, the Ford Bronco stands out with a towing capacity that reaches 4,500 pounds in its Raptor trim and 3,500 pounds for its other models. The Jeep Wrangler, while offering a solid 3,500 pounds of towing capacity across most of its lineup, steps up its game with the four-door Wrangler Rubicon and Wrangler Rubicon X models, which elevate their capability to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Both vehicles offer a range of off-road accessories and aftermarket customization options, including led headlights. The Bronco can be equipped with various aftermarket accessories such as lift kits, skid plates, new bumpers, light bars, and performance upgrades.

The Wrangler offers a wide array of options for off-road enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Among these are rooftop cargo carriers for additional storage, cargo nets to secure gear, hitch receivers for towing needs, off-road bumpers to protect the vehicle's front and rear, and tire covers to shield spare tires from the elements.

For those looking to enhance their vehicle's off-road performance, lift kits with FOX shocks provide increased ground clearance and improved suspension, while rock rails protect the vehicle's sides during rocky excursions. Winch mounting kits and heavy-duty brake kits are also available for those who may find themselves in more demanding recovery situations or in need of superior stopping power.

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Pricing and Trim Levels

Regarding pricing, the Jeep Wrangler begins at a base price of $48,710 for the two-door versions, contrasted with the 2024 Ford Bronco’s starting price of $51,960. While the Wrangler has a lower starting price, both vehicles offer various trim levels and options for customization.

The Ford Bronco Base model offers a choice between 2-door hardtop or 4-door soft-top configurations, along with turbocharged engines and part-time 4WD. The Jeep Wrangler Sport S is the entry-level trim, with higher trims like Sahara and Rubicon offering upgraded features such as advanced 4x4 systems and more luxurious interiors.

Fuel Economy

The Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler both offer distinct fuel economy figures, reflective of their respective engine configurations and optional packages. According to Car and Driver, the Bronco equipped with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission is the most economical choice, boasting an EPA rating of 20 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. However, opting for the V-6 engine paired with the Sasquatch package, which includes oversized tires, results in a significant drop, with fuel economy sinking to 17 mpg for both city and highway driving. In real-world testing, the automatic four-cylinder Bronco achieved 22 mpg, while the V-6 version managed 18 mpg on a 75-mph highway fuel-economy route.

On the other hand, the Jeep Wrangler stands out in the segment with competitive EPA fuel-economy estimates that surpass those of the Bronco and other rivals like the 4Runner. Car and Driver's testing of the V-6-powered four-door Wrangler Sahara yielded a 20-mpg outcome on a 75-mph highway run, which is 3 mpg less than its EPA highway estimate. The turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid Wrangler excelled, delivering an impressive 26 mpg—2 mpg higher than its EPA estimate. However, the V-8-powered Rubicon 392 model displayed less efficient fuel consumption, recording 13 mpg in the same highway test. For a more detailed exploration of fuel economy, the EPA's website offers comprehensive information on both the Bronco and Wrangler.

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Customization Options

Both the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco offer a wide range of customization options. With both the Jeep offering various trim packages such as the base Sport model, the luxurious Sahara, and the off-road-focused Rubicon. A substantial aftermarket allows for extensive personalization of the Jeep Wrangler, with available options including winches, upgraded suspension, and custom lighting.

Similarly, the Ford Bronco features unique customization like mirrors that remain in place when the doors are removed, enhancing both its functionality and aesthetics for drivers. Special editions like the Ford Bronco Raptor undergo modifications including additional chassis strength and different suspension setups to improve their off-road capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Bronco ride smoother than a Jeep?

Yes, the Bronco does ride smoother than a Jeep due to Ford's softer suspension system, making it a more practical daily driving option.

Which is cheaper Bronco or Wrangler?

The Jeep Wrangler is generally cheaper than the Ford Bronco, with the Wrangler starting at $48,710 for two-door versions while the Bronco starts at $51,960 for the 2024 models.

Will Bronco hold value like Wrangler?

Yes, the Ford Bronco is expected to hold its value similarly to the Jeep Wrangler, with a potential retention rate of around 67% over five years. KBB also awarded it the 2023 Five-Year Cost to Own Award, further enhancing its resale value.

Which vehicle has better off-road capabilities, the Ford Bronco or the Jeep Wrangler?

It's debatable, but we believe that the Ford Bronco has better off-road capabilities than the Jeep Wrangler due to its higher ground clearance and more advanced suspension systems.

Which vehicle offers better on-road comfort and driving experience?

The Ford Bronco is considered to offer better on-road comfort and driving experience than the Jeep Wrangler. So, if you prioritize on-road comfort, the Bronco may be the better choice.

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