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Ford Bronco versus Jeep Wrangler side by side

By Matt Raudonikis, 15 Jul 2020 4x4 Comparisons

Ford Bronco versus Jeep Wrangler side by side

Ford’s new Bronco takes aim at the Jeep Wrangler, so we look at how they line up.

WHEN Ford created the first Bronco back in 1965 it looked at the WW2 Jeep which Ford manufactured - as well as Willys - and sought out ways to make it more user friendly for the recreational user.

Ex-military personnel were buying the old Jeeps and using them back home in the USA where a market was developing for a compact, personal use, off-road-capable 4x4 vehicle. So the first Bronco was born, and some say it was the first SUV.

You don’t have to be Einstein to see that Ford has again taken a look at the Jeep 4x4 to create the new Bronco, so we’ve had a look at the specs to see how they line up side by side.

2021 Ford Bronco four-door

We’ve chosen the JL Wrangler Rubicon and paired it up with the four-door Bronco Badlands with the optional Sasquatch pack. To match apples with apples we’ve chosen the petrol V6 and auto transmission for both of them.

The Rubicon is only available with an auto here in Australia but it does have the option of a diesel engine; while the Bronco has an optional seven-speed manual, but that is only offered with the 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder mill.

The new Bronco is slightly shorter than the Rubicon, but it's taller and wider. It has a paltry towing capacity but outdoes the Jeep in payload.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

The off-road specs of the Ford outshine those of the Jeep in everything but overall crawl ratio. Both vehicles have locking differentials front and rear and both have a disconnecting front swaybar. Ford wins on tyre size with its 35s over the Jeep’s 32s.

Wrangler’s live front axle should out-articulate the Bronco’s IFS, but IFS will give a better ride and handling over all but the most rugged off-road terrain.

Ford’s turbocharged V6 out-grunts Jeep’s naturally-aspirated Pentastar engine, but you have to give Jeep points for simplicity in both the engine and transmission, which is important in an off-road vehicle.

2021 Ford Bronco interior

Pricing is irrelevant at this point, as all Ford has told us is that the two-door Bronco will start at US$29,995. Jeep USA lists the Wrangler Sport two-door starting from US$28,295. Expect to see them similarly matched in price as you go up through the range.

AUSSIE DEVELOPMENT: Bronco testing in Oz

You have to say that, on paper, these are fairly evenly matched vehicles and it will be interesting to see how they compare in real-world testing.

Unfortunately we won’t be doing that here as the Bronco won’t be available in Australia, but we’ll be reading the US comparisons with interest.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon interior

JEEP WRANGLER RUBICON SPECS 

Engine: 3.6-litre petrol V6
Power: 209kW @ 6400rpm
Torque: 347Nm @ 4100rpm
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
4x4 System: Dual-range/selectable full-time 4WD
Crawl Ratio: 70.3:1
Suspension (f): Separate-chassis; Live-axle /coil springs
Suspension (r): Live-axle/coil springs
Wheel/tyre spec: 255/75R17
Departure Angle: 31.9˚
Rampover Angle: 21.2˚
Approach Angle: 41.7˚
Wading Depth: 760mm
Ground Clearance: 252mm
Kerb Weight: 1992kg
GVM: 2562kg
Payload: 409kg
Towing capacity: 2495kg
Wheelbase: 3008mm
Length: 4882mm
Width: 1894mm
Height: 1848mm

FORD BRONCO BADLANDS SPECS

Engine: 2.7-litre V6 turbo petrol
Power: 231kW
Torque: 542Nm
Gearbox: 10-speed automatic
4x4 System: Dual-range/ selectable on-demand 4WD
Crawl Ratio: 67.8:1
Suspension (f): Separate-chassis; Independent/coil springs
Suspension (r): Live-axle/coil springs
Wheel/tyre spec: 315/70R17
Departure Angle: 37.2˚
Rampover Angle: 29.0˚
Approach Angle: 33.2˚
Wading Depth: 850mm
Ground Clearance: 295mm
Kerb Weight: 2332kg
GVM: n/a
Payload: 621kg
Towing capacity: 1587kg
Wheelbase: 2949mm
Length: 4839mm
Width: 1938mm
Height: 1877mm