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2021 Ford Bronco vs. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon: Comparing specs

After 25 years, Ford is back with a hardcore SUV to take on Jeep's iconic Wrangler. Let's dig into the numbers, because it's game on.

Bronco is poised to light off a 4x4 SUV war with the Jeep Wrangler.

Ford

The wait is over, America. Ford finally graced us with its 2021 Bronco on Monday and damn, does it look F-I-N-E. The retro looks approach perfection and with removable doors and windows, the Bronco should be a joy to drive, wind tousling the hair, cool air across the face. While we haven't had a chance to get behind the wheel of the bucking beast, Ford supplied us with a whole bunch of specs. That immediately got us wondering how the new Bronco stacks up against the current champion of off-road SUVs: the Jeep Wrangler.

For this specs breakdown, we'll choose the most-extreme versions of both four-door models: the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and the Ford Bronco Badlands with the Sasquatch package, which adds beefy 35-inch tires and other equipment. Let's take a look at how these two stack up on size, engines, off-road geometry and crawl ratio.

Before we dig in, do note that while the Wrangler has the same dimensions regardless of trim, the Bronco will vary a bit for each model. So if you're looking up Bronco numbers on your own, they may be slightly different than what's shown here.

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Exterior dimensions

In Badlands guise, it looks like the Bronco is just a bit longer than the Rubicon, which should mean more interior room. (We'll be sure to update this article when we get the final interior numbers.) The shorter wheelbase, as you'll soon see, means the Bronco has a better breakover angle, as well.

Exterior Dimensions


2021 Ford Bronco 2020 Jeep Wrangler
Length 190.5 in 188.4 in
Wheelbase 116.1 in 118.4 in
Width 76.3 in 73.8 in
Front / rear track 65 / 65 in 62.9 / 62.9 in
Height 73.9 in 74.0 in
Towing capacity 3,500 pounds 3,500 pounds
Payload capacity 1,370 pounds 1,351 pounds

Off-road geometry

When discussing off-road geometry, we're talking about the angle between an obstacle and where the tire hits the ground. These numbers are important because they give a good idea of how easily a vehicle will be able to get through the rough and rocky stuff.

Starting production in the summer of 2021, the Wrangler Rubicon can be had with the Xtreme Recon package with 35-inch tires to match the Bronco's Sasquatch package with 35-inch shoes. Those larger tires give both rigs a bit more ground clearance, a welcome improvement when it comes to going off road. The two SUVs' approach angles are well matched and the Bronco ekes out a better breakover angle thanks to that shorter wheelbase. As for water fording, the Bronco can go just a bit further into the deep end than the Rubicon.

Both SUVs have standard front and rear locking differentials, but the Bronco's are selectable not only by the driver, but can automatically engage on their own depending on drive mode.

Off-Road Specs


2021 Ford Bronco 2021 Jeep Wranger
Maximum tire size 35 in 35 in
Ground clearance 11.5 in 12.9 in
Approach angle 43.2 deg 47.4 deg
Breakover angle 26.3 deg 26.7 deg
Departure angle 37.0 deg 40.4 deg
Fording depth 33.5 in 33.6 in

Powertrains

In terms of engine options, the Jeep Wrangler comes strong with a standard 3.6-liter V6, an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 or a 3.0-liter V6 diesel. The Bronco gets a standard 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 or a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. What's worth noting here is that the torque in the smaller Ford engine beats out the best torque number of a nondiesel Rubicon, and the optional Ford engine breaks the 400 pound-feet mark. To best that with the Jeep you'll need to lay out an extra $4,000 for the diesel V6, something many drivers may not want to do.

Base Engine Specs


2021 Ford Bronco (base) 2021 Jeep Wrangler (base)
Engine 2.3-liter turbo I4 3.6-liter V6
Power 300 hp 285 hp
Torque 325 lb-ft 260 lb-ft
Transmission(s) 7-speed manual 6-speed manual

10-speed auto 8-speed auto

Optional Engine Specs


2021 Ford Bronco 2021 Jeep Wrangler 2021 Jeep Wrangler diesel 2021 Jeep Wrangler 392 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Engine 2.7-liter turbo V6 2.0-liter turbo I4 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 6.4-liter V8 2.0-liter I4, 17 kWh battery
Power 330 hp 270 hp 260 hp 470 hp 375 hp
Torque 415 lb-ft 296 lb-ft 442 lb-ft 470 lb-ft 470 lb-ft
Transmission 10-speed auto 8-speed auto 8-speed auto 8-speed auto 8-speed auto

Crawl ratios

What's really important with off-roading is an SUV's crawl ratio. These are a complicated mix of elements, but you can think of it simply as a representation of how much the torque is multiplied through the axles before it hits the ground. If you have a high-torque vehicle with a high crawl ratio, you'll be able to creep over obstacles slowly, keeping your rig under control. Well, until things go sideways and you roll over, but that's a story for another time.

You'll notice here that the Jeep Wrangler with a manual transmission has a great crawl ratio of 84.2:1, but when you upgrade to the Xtreme Recon package you can go as high as 100:1 with the manual transmission. The only engine that can be paired with a manual transmission is the 3.6-liter V6 with 260 pound-feet of torque.

The Bronco with its seven-speed manual transmission goes almost as big with a crawl ratio of 94.7:1. That's only possible with the smaller engine, but with 325 lb-ft, it still pushes out more twisting power than the Rubicon. Add the 35-inch tires and I wouldn't be surprised if you could put either of these rigs in gear, jump out and watch them just walk away from you on their own.

Crawl Ratios


2021 Ford Bronco 2021 Jeep Wrangler 2021 Jeep Wrangler diesel 2021 Jeep Wrangler 392 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Manual transmission 94.7:1 100:1 N/A N/A N/A
Automatic transmission 67.8 91.9:1 70.1:1 62.5:1 77.2:1

We haven't even touched on some of the cool technical features of the Bronco like map sharing and a groovy turn assist that can brake the inside rear wheel for sharp corners. Of course, we have to reserve our final judgement until we drive the Bronco, but on paper it looks to be a very worthy adversary to the venerable Jeep Rubicon.

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