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A white 2023 Ford Bronco Sport Outer Banks is shown parked off-road after winning a 2023 Ford Bronco vs 2023 Jeep Wrangler comparison.

Who’s More Off-Road Ready? Comparing the 2023 Ford Bronco and the 2023 Jeep Wrangler

If there were ever two vehicles that shared a common history of off-roading, innovation, and prowess, it would be the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. Depending upon what individual brand one prefers, many have opinions regarding each model and which one is more capable of battling hostile terrains and adhering to the lifestyle of those who believe in embarking on adventures that take place off of the pavement.

Ever since the blue brand resurrected the Ford Bronco, the expectations among off-roaders and Ford enthusiasts alike have been tremendous. Like the Bronco, the Jeep Wrangler has long been a staple of the off-road community and can trace its lineage back to the Second World War. Here in the current year, there’s a high standard that both vehicles are expected to measure up to. And when it comes to determining which option is better for the path less traveled, well, that’s why we’re gathered here today. It’s the 2023 Ford Bronco vs 2023 Jeep Wrangler in a contest of off-road supremacy.

A purple 2023 Jeep Wrangler Sahara is shown parked off-road.

Raw Power That Just Won’t Quit…

There are some key factors that make a vehicle capable of off-roading excellence. And when it comes to the rough-and-tumble world of navigating the wilderness, the powertrain is among one of the most important elements. This is also where we’ll begin our analysis of both vehicles.

The Jeep Wrangler comes with four different powertrain options, each one offering its own unique advantages and prowess to the vehicle in question. The standard offering, sometimes called the base engine, is the farthest thing from the basic imaginable. A 3.6L V6 propels the Wrangler forward with the benefit of 285 hp and can be equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic.

Those looking to maximize fuel economy while still maintaining the performance that the Wrangler is known for can opt for either a turbocharged 2.0L engine giving you 270 hp or the PHEV version of the same engine that possesses an admirable output of 375 hp. For those looking to take capability to the absolute limit, there’s a HEMI for that in the form of a 6.4L V8 on the Wrangler 392 model, giving you 470 hp and the capability to generate 470 lb-ft of torque; any terrain or obstacle will bow down before you.

While the Bronco’s powertrain options aren’t as carried as the Wrangler’s, they’re just as formidable when it comes to providing prowess and performance to the world of off-roading. Much like the Bronco models from years prior, the modern incarnation forgoes the utilization of an eight-cylinder engine and opts for an optional 2.7L V6. Propelling the second incarnation of the Bronco forward with 330 hp, it’s just as capable as the standard offering that takes the form of a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine that pushes out 300 hp with minimal effort. Both engines are equipped with a ten-speed automatic transmission for optimum performance. For those who wish to exert maximum control over their adventure, the smaller engine can be paired with a seven-speed manual.

A light blue 2023 Ford Bronco Sasquatch Package is shown parked on grass.

Off-Roading Advantages in Design

Any avid off-roader with a decent amount of experience will tell you there’s much more to off-roading than having a capable powertrain. In fact, it’s the design of the mechanics and structure of a vehicle that allows it to traverse the terrain and deliver the goods necessary for an exciting adventure. Now that we’ve established what the Bronco and Wrangler both have underneath the hood, it’s time to take things a bit farther and examine the design that each one benefits from.

Because it’s assumed that any off-road activity will consist of traveling on ground that’s not always accommodating, having ground clearance and exceptional tires is necessary. The Jeep Wrangler, known for both attributes, certainly delivers on this front. The minimum ground clearance extends to just below ten inches, and its 17-inch wheels can be outfitted with a variety of tires that can handle the rigors of dirt, ice, rain, mud, and snow. The Bronco’s ground clearance measures out to 8.4 inches and matches the same tire size as the Wrangler.

While the Wrangler offers slightly more ground clearance than the Bronco, Ford outclasses Jeep by offering a superior suspension that’s more efficient in design. As has been par for the course, the Wrangler utilizes a leading link front suspension and a trailer arm for the rear. The Bronco, on the other hand, uses short and long-arm suspension for the front and a multi-link in the rear. This makes for a more comfortable ride over terrains that are less than hospitable.

A red 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is shown off-roading through a stream.

Behind the Wheel in the Rough

One aspect of off-roading that doesn’t get discussed enough is how interior design comes into play. No matter how rough the road might be, having a comfortable ride and access to the various accessories is what makes any adventure one that provides comfort in contrast to the bumps in the road. The concept behind the interior design of the Jeep Wrangler is excellent in theory but somewhat disappointing in execution. While visibility is certainly present, there’s little room for comfort. Everything is placed in close proximity, which can leave the driver feeling cramped and confined, which is certainly a feeling one doesn’t want on the road.

The Bronco has many of the same attributes as the Wrangler, including removable doors and panels to create a more open environment. However, the Bronco makes use of a more spacious interior that’s a welcome throwback to the classic Bronco aesthetic that so many have been leaning towards, with up to 77.6 cu.ft. of cargo space available in four-door models, compared to the Wrangler’s 72.4 cu.ft. The design also has one item in particular that’s perfect for the modern off-roader. A rack atop the dashboard allows you to record your travels with your smartphone or a handheld camera, making the adventure all the more exciting and one you can always live stream or keep for posterity.

Speaking of the rough and tumble, both the Bronco and Wrangler have similar safety ratings that were given to them by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both received identical ratings in roll-over collision testing and barrier crash ratings, though the passenger side on the Bronco received a slightly higher rating than the Wrangler. We can’t stress enough how important it is to exercise caution if you’re planning on doing any amount of off-roading. Make sure the terrain you’re traveling on is equal to your level of experience.

Our Final Verdict

So, which vehicle is more off-road ready? Well, it depends upon your experience level and what you’re looking to accomplish on the less traveled path. Suppose you’re looking for a vehicle that can double as your daily commuter and still allow you to engage in your favorite leisurely activities. In that case, the Jeep Wrangler certainly has advantages that will benefit the average consumer.

The Bronco manages to provide comfort, performance, and a smoother ride and shows more innovation on the part of Ford as a viable option for the avid off-roader. The higher safety rating and spacious interior alone make it our pick. The Bronco has made a comeback to take back its title as the most capable off-roading vehicle on the market, and it’s easy to see that it’s attained that goal.

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