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|260 - 470||Horsepower (hp)||270 - 310|
|260 - 470||Torque (lb-ft)||310 -400|
Forget about the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, the rivalry shared by Ali and Fraizer, or the argument whether it's pronounced tomayto or tomahto - the real rivalry you should be concerned about is between the 2021 Jeep Wrangler vs 2021 Ford Bronco. What you have here is a dispute that, when the dust settles, will determine the master of the off-road kingdom. The way people have been talking about the 2021 Ford Bronco, you would think the war is already over. However, Jeep has already responded with some major upgrades to the Wrangler.
It is time to see just how these two off-road monsters stack up against each other. If you aren't already privy to this information, the Bronco was built to take on the Wrangler, which is a compliment in itself. Both the Wrangler and Bronco are loaded with great features and boast above-average capabilities, but when you pit the 2021 Jeep Wrangler vs the 2021 Ford Bronco, there can be only one that sits on the off-road throne.
When looking at the base engines for both the Wrangler and the Bronco, we see they are pretty evenly matched. The Jeep Wrangler offers a base 3.6-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the Ford Bronco's base engine is a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. But when you get into the optional engines, this is where the Jeep starts to shine.
Carrying over from last year, you have the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3.0L V6 Ecodiesel. The 2.0-liter engine delivers 295 lb-ft of torque and 270 horsepower, which is exceptional for off-road applications and a close match to the Bronco's base engine. However, there is nothing like the Ecodiesel available for the Ford, so if you want the power and range of a diesel, the Wrangler is your only option. Most impressively, this turbo diesel option boasts 442 lb-ft of torque while getting 29 MPG on the highway.
The Bronco does have a second engine option - a 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 generation 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. This mighty engine clearly outmatches anything the 2020 Jeep Wrangler had available (although the Duramax diesel does have more torque) and was what Ford was counting on to make the Bronco the new king of the off-road scene.
However, Ford underestimated what Jeep was capable of, and before the 2021 Bronco had even hit dealership lots, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler was revealed to have two new engine options that left the Bronco in its dust. The first of these was quite a surprise to everyone - the plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe. Not only will this eco-friendly powertrain save you money on gas, it includes a turbocharged engine that packs a whopping 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque - the Bronco simply doesn't have an answer to this engine choice.
But there is even more bad news for the Bronco, and it comes in the form of the Wrangler Rubicon 392. This top-of-the-line off-road machine comes with a 6.4-liter (392 cubic inch) V8 HEMI, making it the most powerful production Wrangler in history. If you are into performance, you simply cannot pass this one up. With 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, this HEMI V8 will take a mere 4.5 seconds to get from a dead standstill to 60 mph. Just as impressive, this powerful engine will run the quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat. That sound you just heard was the Wrangler Rubicon 392 dropping the mic and walking off stage; the Bronco sits quietly, contemplating the future.
You can enjoy the 2021 Jeep Wrangler in four main trims that include the Sport, Sport S, Sahara, and Rubicon. All trims, except the Sahara, are available in two-door and four-door configurations; the luxurious Sahara is available only in the four-door configuration. There are also a number of special-edition Wranglers, including the Willys, Freedom, High Altitude, and 80th Anniversary Edition, to name a few.
The Wrangler Sport comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, fog lights, a backup camera, a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and skid plates. Even at the base level, this Wrangler will tread over terrain that makes other SUVs duck and hide. The base Bronco sits on 16-inch steel wheels and is a capable off-road vehicle in its own right, but it is also a bit more expensive than the equivalent Wrangler (which is something of a trend across the entire lineup).
With the Wrangler Sport S, you get everything in the Sport plus 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, a 7-inch Uconnect touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and other options. The Bronco Big Bend trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel in addition to what is standard in the base model.
The Wrangler Sahara, only available as a four-door, enjoys the standard features in the Sport S plus 18-inch alloy wheels, side steps, silver accents on the bumper, and dual-zone automatic climate control. This trim compares to the Bronco Outer Banks in that both vehicles are oriented more toward luxury than off-road performance.
The Rubicon, Jeep's most off-road capable SUV, comes with all of the previous model's goodies plus an electronically disconnecting front sway bar, heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles, 4:1 low-range gearing, front and rear electronic locking differentials, and all-terrain tires. But that's not all - the Rubicon also features taller fender flares, unique wheels, and unique styling designs.
There are plenty of optional features as well, including a cold-weather package that includes heated front seats and steering wheel, and a remote-start system, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, and heavy-duty bumpers. Brave souls who choose the Rubicon 392 will enjoy most of the most expensive options that come standard plus a full leather interior, oh, and the Hemi V8, can't forget about that.
The Bronco has two off-road trims, the Badlands and the Wildtrak. On paper, the Badlands is meant for traditional off-roading like the Jeep Rubicon, while the Wildtrak is designed for high-speed desert running. In practice, this mostly means neither Bronco variant is as well-rounded as the Rubicon. That is particularly true of the Bronco Badlands, which has to have the optional Sasquatch Package added to unlock its full capabilities.
Even as the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco become more popular among a wider range of consumers, they are still off-road monsters at heart. The Wrangler has become an extremely versatile vehicle that can fulfill the needs of all types of off-road driving. It is no secret that the Wrangler worked its way to the top with dynamic features, unique characteristics, and decades of experiment and improvement. Any Wrangler can be rolled right off of the showroom and onto a trail and outperform the competition. Ford is trying to replicate that with the Bronco, but it isn't quite there yet.
The Wrangler Rubicon 392 and 4xe provide far more muscle than the Bronco can offer, but the Wrangler offers far more than just a powerful and impressive drivetrain. This vehicle is a product of decades of development and is a feat of engineering from the ground up. While Ford designed the Bronco to be better than the Wrangler in headline numbers, Ford could not supply the massive aftermarket that truly makes the Wrangler what it is. With a little bit of work, you can build a Wrangler that offers even better than factory performance, while the Bronco is still limited to whatever Ford decides to sell you.
It wouldn't be fair to also mention other features in the Wrangler that have nothing to do with off-road prowess. For example, the Wrangler is available with active safety features and driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring. If you have never been inside a Jeep Wrangler, you are in for a big surprise. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler is far more civilized on the inside than you probably think, ride quality is excellent, and you can enjoy the comfort creatures you crave, like heated seats and a user-friendly infotainment system.
The Wrangler is a fine choice for your day-to-day driving adventures. And even if you never plan to take your Wrangler off the paved road, know that its off-road talent won't be wasted if you run into rough road conditions or dangerous weather. In fact, you might actually learn to love driving in less-than-ideal conditions. While the Ford Bronco is a fine vehicle, it is just too difficult to compete with the king of the trail.