The Ford Bronco is back after years of hiatus; meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler has been up and going every year since its debut. One of the biggest battles of the car world this year is the Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco. Both of these off-road powerhouses are getting ready to drive into your local Jeep dealer and Ford dealer, and we certainly can’t wait to see who is going to come out on top. With boxy frames, removable exterior parts, and the ability to go virtually anywhere, it seems like you can’t go wrong with either car.
While these cars share many similarities, they still have some features that make them unique and that might sway you towards one model over the other. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler starts at $28,295, while the Bronco comes in just above that with a starting price of $28,500. The Bronco comes in 7 available model trims, while the 2021 Wrangler offers 12 different models to choose from, including the special 80th anniversary Wrangler. These two vehicles also have the same maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. With so many options available, let us break it down to see which of these cars deserves to be your go-to adventure vehicle.
A 2021 Jeep Wrangler Overview
It’s safe to say that Jeep is prepared to challenge the long-awaited Ford Bronco. Right off the bat, it offers two things that the Bronco does not: a hybrid option and a diesel engine option. This new plug-in hybrid option is available on Unlimited Wranglers, meaning that every 4-door option will come with 4xe availability. Don’t let the whole electric motor thing fool you; this Jeep is still power-packed. The brand claims that the 4xe will produce 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It gets up to a whopping 50 miles per gallon, with 400 miles of driving range. Not to mention that it’s much quieter than its fuel-powered friends. The hybrid version can still climb hills and keep up with its fuel-dominant siblings; it’s just easier on the environment and your wallet.
However, if you’re not feeling the hybrid or diesel life, you can always opt for the 3.6-liter V6 eTorque engine instead of the standard 2.0-liter DOHC DI turbo engine. This is a cool option primarily because it doesn’t include Stop and Start (ESS). It may appeal to some drivers since many people dislike ESS. Overall, it’s clear that the new Wrangler comes with several engine options for all types of off-roaders.
There’s honestly too much to say about the Wrangler’s customization add-ons and features, but we’ll try to cover the most appealing possibilities. The main aesthetic appeal that the Wrangler offers that the Bronco doesn’t is its variety of top options. You can either get black, tan, or body-color tops, hard or soft tops, mesh, 3-piece, dual, or solid tops, and even electric convertible tops. These options vary according to the trim. Further, the Wrangler’s timeless boxy appeal and iconic fender flare give it a much tougher look than the Bronco.
Another thing that makes the Wrangler stand out is its newly added integrated off-road camera. It’s like having a Go-Pro for your vehicle. The footage shows up on the monitor as well, which is helpful for navigational purposes. Between this and the rear back-up cam, you can better ensure that all stray cats, rabbits, and turtles stay safe from your monstrous tires.
There are also tons of package options that better personalize your Wrangler experience. For example, the Trailer-Tow and Heavy-Duty Electrical Group package comes with all your towing needs, including a 240-Amp Alternator and a class II receiver hitch, to name a few. These assets make the Wrangler even better and safer when towing up to 3,500 pounds. Just don’t push it by towing past capacity.
Finally, Wranglers do have a 4×4 Terrain Management System that is capable of driving in the mud, on gravel, through snow, on the sand, and even over rocks. The downside to this is that you have to know what specifications are right for each environment. For example, if you’re driving in the sand, you’ll need to know that dropping your tire pressure will help. The Wrangler isn’t pre-programmed with modes for each terrain type. Nonetheless, with over 80 years of off-roading adventures, Wranglers are definitely more experienced with rough terrain than the Bronco.
A 2021 Ford Bronco Overview
We can’t pretend that the Ford Bronco isn’t tough; it’s a high-performing competitor for the Jeep Wrangler. This model comes in two different engines. The standard models get a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, with a 2.7-liter V6 option. The strongest engine gets 310 horsepower with 400 lb-ft of torque. Even the Wrangler’s hybrid option gets more horsepower than this, but if towing is your concern, we can say that both the Wrangler and the Bronco have a matched 3,500-pound max towing capacity. Again, there aren’t any diesel or hybrid options for the Bronco.
These models are very similar, so like the Wrangler, you can remove the doors and the top. What we don’t know yet is just how many options there are for customization. Jeep’s website already allows building and customization, which includes top options. There’s no customization available for the Bronco yet, but photos do indicate some variation between tops. There are officially confirmed hard and soft top options, which is better than only having hardtop options.
The Bronco has cool tech features, but they’re pretty basic. You’ll get typical driver’s assistance features, along with the Off-Road Hero Switch pack which is a quick and easy way to access your 6 different off-roading driving options. The Bronco’s biggest selling point is its Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. This includes 8 driving modes, which are Sand, Slippery, Sporty, Mud/Ruts, Rock Crawl, Eco, Baja, and Normal. You can only get a maximum of 7 modes on each model, though.
While the Wrangler is also capable of doing these things, the Bronco makes it easier by offering specific modes for each condition. This is helpful if you’re not a hardcore vehicle connoisseur. With the Wrangler, you have to adjust these specifications yourself. On the Bronco, you can switch modes at the push of a button.
The Final Decision
Overall, the Wrangler is just much more diverse. The only selling point that the Bronco triumphs between the two is its Terrain Management System. It’s apparent that the Wrangler has more engine options, better customization features, and, most importantly, it now comes in a hybrid trim. As if adding the diesel option on a while back wasn’t enough, now the Wrangler really has the upper hand.
Sure, it’s exciting that the Bronco is back after 20+ years of being MIA, but remember that the Wrangler never left in the first place. With each year, it’s getting more and more powerful and fuel-efficient. It keeps right up with the Bronco’s towing and performance levels, and it carries its endless aesthetic and its vast trim variations right along with it. For now, the Wrangler is still coming out on top.