Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco – Off-Road SUV Shootout

Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler Until the 2021 Bronco was released, it was not common to see the names Ford and Mustang side by side. In 1966, with the introduction of the first-generation Bronco, the Jeep CJ-5 finally had some serious competition. After 56 years, the battle has resumed, this time with updated technology and the stakes of a good name to maintain.

The Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco both have a history of venturing into remote areas. Both vehicles have traditionally fared better when driven off-road rather than on. Though both have been tamed and taught proper city driving etiquette, an off-road attitude remains an integral part of their identities.

As far as staying true to the original Jeep design goes, the Wrangler is as faithful as it gets. Jeep’s YJ, TJ, JK, and most recently the JL models have all been commercially successful because to the brand’s no-nonsense 4-wheel drive, stiff live axle, and removable top layout. Similarly, we don’t expect to see a modification in that formula anytime soon. Buying a JL Jeep Wrangler is safe because you know exactly what you’re receiving. Simplistic in design but steeped in a long and storied past.

As an alternative, the new Ford Bronco adds a splash of color to the rugged SUV segment. If you compare the Bronco to the Wrangler, you’ll notice that while both are capable off-road, the Bronco is clearly more road-focused than the Wrangler. Comparing the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco, this essay will go over the key similarities and differences between the two.

Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Explorer – Price

The price of the automobiles is generally the first deciding factor when comparing models in the same category. Both the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco offer compelling value for the money, but they arrive at that conclusion in different ways.

The 2022 Jeep Wrangler has the potential to be a very cheap vehicle. When compared to other off-road vehicles, its $29,725 starting price is hard to beat. However, there is a significant price difference between the Wrangler’s 12 trim levels. The Sport, Sport S, Rubicon, and Sahara are the four most common trim levels, with all but the Sahara coming in 2-door and 4-door configurations. Even in its most basic configuration, the Wrangler includes typical Jeep features like live axles, four-wheel drive, and removable doors. The Unlimited Sport starts at $35,640, while the Rubicon goes up to $43,595.

The 2022 Ford Bronco’s base MSRP of $31,300 places it around the Jeep Wrangler’s entry-level price. The base Bronco comes with two doors and costs $33,600, while the base Bronco with four doors costs $35,200. The Bronco, like the Wrangler, offers numerous trim options to choose from, with a total of eight available. There is a $68,500 base price for the top-tier 3.0L EcoBoost Raptor Bronco. Between the entry-level 2-door and the top-of-the-line Raptor, you’ll find quite a few alternatives. A couple examples are the $43,450 Outer Banks model, which comes with a choice of 2.3L or 2.7L Ecoboost engines, and the $53,000 Everglades trim, which has 4 doors, a snorkel, and a 2.3L 4-cylinder Ecoboost engine.

Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco – Engine Options

The Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco differ greatly in terms of engine options, which is one of the most important distinctions between the two. There are more engine configurations available for the Jeep Wrangler than the Ford Bronco. The Bronco may not have as many options for powertrains as the Wrangler, but Ford’s three offerings are all formidable contenders.

2022 JL Jeep Wrangler Engine Options

It can be confusing to keep track of the various Wrangler engine configurations. The design options range from a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbo hybrid to a 6.4-liter V8. There are a total of five engine choices, each with its own set of pros and cons. The JL Wrangler has the following powertrain configurations:

Engine 3.6L V6 VVT eTorque 2.0L Inline-4 Turbo  3.0L EcoDiesel 6.4L HEMI V8
Horsepower 285 270 260 470
Torque 260 290 442 470
Towing Capacity 3,500 lbs 3,500 lbs 3,500 lbs 3,500 lbs
0-60 Acceleration 7.0s 7.0s 7.5s 4.0s

In the 2022 JL Wrangler, the tried-and-true 3.6L Pentastar V6 with VVT is once again the base engine. It can handle on-road and off-road tasks with its 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. If a manual transmission is a must, knowing that this is the sole engine available with a 6-speed manual eliminates any doubt. To date, the 3.6L Pentastar has been one of Jeep’s most dependable engines. Check out our Jeep Wrangler Reliability and Problems Guide if you want more information before making a final choice.

The Wrangler 4xe also features an innovative inline-4 cylinder turbo hybrid powerplant. The 4xe, the most advanced Wrangler yet, combines gas power with two electric motors. Combined, the 4xe’s power output of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque places it just behind the Wrangler’s most potent engine in terms of output.

The 3.6L Pentastar and the 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder are the greatest options if you value dependability and the seamless delivery of power. The Wrangler 4xe, on the other hand, is a more up-to-date choice that adds some electric vehicle (EV) technology to the mix.

2022 Ford Bronco Engine Options

The 2022 Ford Bronco offers fewer powertrain choices than the JL Wrangler, with only three. Both a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder and a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 Ecoboost engine are available on base trims. The Raptor Bronco, the class outcast, also offers a 3.0L Ecoboost twin-turbo V6 for the extra cash. The Ford Bronco can be had with a variety of different engines.

Engine 2.3L EcoBoost I4 2.7L EcoBoost V6  3.0L EcoBoost V6
Horsepower 300 330 418
Torque 325 415 440
Towing Capacity 3,500 lbs 3,500 lbs 4,500 lbs
0-60 Acceleration 7.0s 6.3s 5.5s

As you can see, these numbers are quite respectable for the base 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder vehicle. Even in its most basic form, the Ford Bronco easily outperforms the Wrangler’s base 3.6L V6 engine. When compared to the Wrangler’s other available engines, even the 6.4L Hemi falls short of the base EcoBoost units. Ford’s EcoBoost lineup is well-known not only for its potent base engines but also for its exceptional dependability. The 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter EcoBoost motors are incredibly effective and have enormous potential for output.

The 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter EcoBoost motors are reliable, but the 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 is in a class of its own. The twin-turbocharged V6 engine is a departure from the Ford V8s we’re used to, but it still delivers V8 power. Ford stated that a 5.0L Coyote V8 was considered for the Bronco but ultimately scrapped because of engine space constraints. And the Coyote wouldn’t match the 3.0L EcoBoost’s all-around torque capabilities.

Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco – Off-Road Capabilities

Everyone who is thinking about buying a JL Wrangler or Ford Bronco has some sort of desire to go off-roading. Not if you’re interested in the right kind of sport utility vehicles. True to form, the off-road capabilities of each vehicle are central to the Jeep Wrangler vs. Ford Bronco discussion. When all is said and done, the JL Wrangler has nothing to prove. Given Jeep’s history in the off-road industry and the Wrangler’s tried-and-true off-road features, the JL is without peer.

The 2022 Ford Bronco is the new kid on the block, so it has a lot to prove when it comes to off-roading. So, on paper, the Bronco is a formidable opponent when it comes to ascending steep slopes and passing through difficult terrain. The Bronco is the underdog since it lacks the Wrangler’s pedigree.

Jeep Wrangler JL Off-Road Abilities

Given that the Wrangler is still the undisputed king of off-roading, it makes sense to tackle it first. The Wrangler is the vehicle of choice for those who enjoy venturing off-road because of its exceptional capabilities. First, we’ll talk about axles because the Wrangler does things very differently from other vehicles. In contrast to the Bronco’s independent control-arm front suspension, the Wrangler maintains its traditional solid front axle. The Wrangler contends that they have superior argumentation, reliability, and ease of replacement. Despite being a poor choice for the road, it is a reliable one for the trail.

The 2022 Wrangler offers a wide range of 4WD system choices in addition to axle configuration. Jeep has three different 4WD systems: the part-time Command-Trac, the automatic Selec-Trac, and the high-performance Rock-Trac, which is only available on the Rubicon and the hybrid 4×4 Rubicon. Rock-Trac is the most badass four-wheel-drive system for rough terrain. It’s the pinnacle of off-road vehicles since it comes standard with electronic locking differentials and a front sway-bar disconnect.

However, things become more complicated when considering the approach and departure angles. When comparing the Wrangler to the Bronco, the latter cannot compete with the Wrangler’s 44 degrees of ground clearance when using 33-inch tires. The Wrangler’s departure angle performance varies between 35.9 and 37 degrees, depending on trim and configuration. The Wrangler has an exceptional 10.8 inches of ground clearance.

Ford Bronco Off-Road Abilities 

It’s been established that the Jeep Wrangler is unparalleled in the realm of off-roading adventures. It’s possible that the Bronco can’t quite compete with the Wrangler, but it comes close. Although the Bronco is generally considered a less desirable off-road alternative than the Wrangler, there are several situations in which it excels.

The 2022 Bronco is a rugged SUV built on a body-on-frame chassis, just like the Wrangler. That means the engine, wheels, and suspension are all mounted to a steel frame underneath the body and secured with bolts. Because of this, both the Bronco and the Wrangler are exceptionally tough and can resist significant punishment. The front axle of the Bronco has been replaced with a control arm system, but the rear axle remains live. Thus, it caters more to street driving than other types of transport.

The 2022 Ford Bronco offers customers a choice between two alternative all-wheel-drive setups. The first is a 2.72:1 low ratio, two-speed, shift-on-the-fly transmission. The alternative is a two-speed electromechanical device that reduces the low-range ratio to 3.06:1 and permits instantaneous transitions between 2H and 4H.

Surprisingly, the Bronco outperforms the Wrangler in a wide range of important off-road measures. When we take into account both the approach and departure angles, as well as the ground clearance, the Bronco comes out on top. However, fully loaded Bronco Wildtraks with Sasquatch 35″ tires have a departure angle of 37.2 degrees, which is worse than what the Wrangler offers. The greatest departure angle of the Wrangler is only 34.9 degrees, thus the Bronco has a clear advantage there. The Bronco’s high ground clearance is comparable. When configured according to the above, the Bronco has a ground clearance of 11.6, or 11.6 inches. Compared to the Wrangler, that’s an increase of nearly an inch.

On-Road Comfort

Both the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco are formidable off-road, but they struggle on paved roads. Although the Bronco has a slightly stronger case, neither vehicle is particularly impressive in everyday use.

The Wrangler and the Bronco’s off-road heritage is the root cause of most of the problems that develop in daily use. For instance, most drivers have complained that the Wrangler’s steering seems entirely disconnected and floaty in the front end. When comparing the Wrangler to a vehicle with a modern independent control-arm layout, the live front axle becomes a major and obvious separation between the driver and the road.

The Bronco is illustrative of this because it uses a rack-and-pinion steering system and independent front control arms. This makes driving the Bronco at high speeds far less terrifying and more manageable. Most reviewers agree that the Bronco’s rear end remains jiggly over broken pavement, uneven road surfaces, and potholes. There is still some axle hop and lateral movement, but the vehicle is considerably easier to steer thanks to the front end being firmly planted.

Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco – Interior and Technology

Truth be told, Jeeps have never been celebrated for their plush cabins. That’s fine, I guess, but older Jeep Wranglers always felt a decade behind the times when it came to things like fit, quality, and comfort. The Wrangler was not designed for comfort, but even so, it’s nice to have some modern conveniences.

Ford isn’t the best when it comes to cutting-edge features and slick cabin design, but they have done a better job of staying relevant than Jeep has in the past. Ford has made an effort to enter the luxury market without significantly increasing prices by releasing the Explorer and the Expedition, two of their more premium sport utility vehicles. As a result, they have vastly superior in-flight entertainment and comfort features.

Jeep Wrangler Interior and Features

The JL Wrangler is a significant improvement over previous Jeep vehicles, which may have been deficient in terms of cabin comfort and convenience. That being said, if you want a little more than the bare minimum, you’ll have to spend a little more money and upgrade to a higher trim level.

The standard Sport trim isn’t for you if you need features like power windows and door locks. Powered conveniences are only available on the higher-priced Sport S variant (from $33,340). In addition, the larger 7″ infotainment screen running Jeep’s UConnect software is included on that model. Most reviews agree that it’s an easy to use system, though a little rudimentary. The inclusion of Apple Car Play and Android Auto is another nice touch.

After that point, there isn’t much of an improvement to the inside in terms of true luxury. The Sahara Wrangler is the first of the Wrangler series to have dual-zone temperature control, and the High-Altitude trim is the first to feature Nappa leather seats. A rearview camera and an 8-speaker sound system are standard on all Wrangler variants.

As before, the JL Wrangler isn’t the epitome of luxury, but it does have everything you’d want in an off-road SUV. There are worse places to be than within. The infotainment system’s controls and buttons are arranged in a single row just below the display panel. You can take a weekend trip to any remote location you like because there is 12.9 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear seats.

Ford Bronco Interior and Features

We’ve already devoted some of your precious screen real estate to discussing Ford’s recent efforts to upgrade their cabin amenities. Well, just as Jeep did with the JL Wrangler, Ford did with the Bronco. The only problem is that they turned around and went in the other direction. There are certainly some positives to the Bronco’s cabin, but it falls short of being outstanding.

However, the Bronco’s entertainment system is a definite plus inside the vehicle. Whether it’s an 8- or 12-inch screen, the Bronco’s touchscreen serves as the centerpiece of the cabin. Ford’s SYNC 4 software, powering the display, is praised for being user-friendly and quick to respond. Similarly to the Wrangler, the Bronco’s infotainment screen comes standard with support for both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The digital instrument panel serves as a hub for monitoring and controlling nearly all vehicle functions.

Aside from that, there aren’t a lot of other characteristics worth mentioning. The G.O.A.T. controller, mounted on the console, is one of the most noticeable controls. That’s the dial that adjusts the 4WD and differential’s settings for various terrains. However, aside from that, there are no other features of any real significance.

It’s obvious that the Bronco’s interior was sacrificed to lower the vehicle’s price to a competitive level. Some Bronco versions, like the Wrangler, have a floor drain with a removable and washable interior. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make up for the subpar design and construction.

Jeep Wrangler vs Ford Bronco Summary

The competition between the Wrangler and the Bronco is similar to a battle of masters and apprentices in many respects. Jeep’s JL Wrangler sticks to the same tried-and-true method that the company has used for the past 36 years. Jeep has taken the approach of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and that strategy has paid dividends up to this day. While Ford has only recently returned to the off-road SUV market, they have made a strong debut with the Bronco. In the end, they developed a system that was virtually as capable as the Wrangler but cost less.

Jeep has an advantage in terms of selection and adaptability thanks to the maturation of the Wrangler line. The Wrangler now has a wider range of customization options, with five engine choices and three 4WD setups to choose from. However, the two 4WD systems and EcoBoost engine choices available on the Bronco are tried and true.

There’s no denying that the Jeep Wrangler is the superior off-road vehicle. The Wrangler is a true no-compromise trail-crusher, thanks to its live front and rear suspension, electrically locking differentials, and front sway bar disconnect mechanism. The Bronco isn’t without capable off-road systems of its own, so don’t count it out just yet.

Whereas the Wrangler has no accommodations for civilians, the Bronco does. The Bronco’s off-road prowess are reduced in favor of better city driving manners due to the vehicle’s independent front suspension. However, if you spend more time on the road than the path, that’s not a negative thing at all. Better on-road handling characteristics would be at odds with the Wrangler’s character, though.

In the end, both the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco were successful in their respective fields. Those who care only about how well their vehicle performs off-road should go with the Wrangler. The Bronco is an option if you need a reliable everyday car that can navigate the occasional muddy trail.

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