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.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
4 min read
2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door - doors off
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2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door - doors off

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


The wait is over, America. 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 .

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.

Watch this: Bronco vs. Wrangler: Comparing young gun with old faithful

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 Bronco2020 Jeep Wrangler
Length 190.5 in188.4 in
Wheelbase 116.1 in118.4 in
Width 76.3 in73.8 in
Front / rear track 65 / 65 in62.9 / 62.9 in
Height 73.9 in74.0 in
Towing capacity 3,500 pounds3,500 pounds
Payload capacity 1,370 pounds1,351 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 Bronco2021 Jeep Wranger
Maximum tire size 35 in35 in
Ground clearance 11.5 in 12.9 in
Approach angle 43.2 deg47.4 deg
Breakover angle 26.3 deg26.7 deg
Departure angle 37.0 deg40.4 deg
Fording depth 33.5 in33.6 in

The Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel has a tsunami of torque

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In terms of engine options, the  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 I43.6-liter V6
Power 300 hp285 hp
Torque 325 lb-ft260 lb-ft
Transmission(s) 7-speed manual6-speed manual

10-speed auto8-speed auto

Optional Engine Specs

2021 Ford Bronco2021 Jeep Wrangler2021 Jeep Wrangler diesel2021 Jeep Wrangler 3922021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Engine 2.7-liter turbo V62.0-liter turbo I43.0-liter turbodiesel V66.4-liter V82.0-liter I4, 17 kWh battery
Power 330 hp270 hp260 hp470 hp375 hp
Torque 415 lb-ft296 lb-ft442 lb-ft470 lb-ft470 lb-ft
Transmission 10-speed auto8-speed auto8-speed auto8-speed auto8-speed auto

2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door: Hit the trails, bring your friends

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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 Bronco2021 Jeep Wrangler2021 Jeep Wrangler diesel2021 Jeep Wrangler 3922021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
Manual transmission 94.7:1100:1N/AN/AN/A
Automatic transmission 67.891.9:170.1:162.5:177.2:1

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.

Watch this: The 2021 Ford Bronco is armed and ready to go Jeep hunting

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