2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon vs. Ford Bronco: Which Has Better Off-Road Specs?

It’s no secret that the 2021 Ford Bronco is designed to be a Jeep rival. More specifically, it’s aimed at the Wrangler, an off-road SUV that, up until now, didn’t have significant competition. However, Jeep hasn’t been standing idly by. At this year’s Chicago Auto Show, it officially released the Xtreme Recon Package for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. But does this extra off-road package stack up to what the Ford Bronco offers?

The Xtreme Recon Package gives the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon even more off-road capability

A blue 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Xtreme Recon parked on a ramp heading down
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 Xtreme Recon side 3/4 | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

Available for the automatic-equipped four-door 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and V8-powered Rubicon 392, the Xtreme Recon Package is a booster shot for the off-road SUV. Think of it as a factory option that adds popular aftermarket add-ons.

Arguably the Xtreme Recon Package’s most obvious features are the wheels and tires. It gives the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 17” x 8” beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in 35” BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires. And underneath, the SUV gets a 1.5” lift kit combined with retuned dampers. But that’s only for the Wrangler Rubicon; the Rubicon 392 keeps its standard 2” lift, Car and Driver notes.

Bigger wheels and tires with a lift kit mean a taller ride height and more ground clearance. The combination also improves the Wrangler Rubicon’s fording depth as well as its approach, departure, and breakover angles. And not just over the standard 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but the Rubicon 392, too, MotorTrend says. For comparison:

A gray 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon climbs a simulated rocky hill
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon rear 3/4 | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit
  • Approach angle
    • Xtreme Recon: 47.4°
    • Wrangler Rubicon: 43.9°
  • Breakover angle
    • Xtreme Recon: 26.7°
    • Wrangler Rubicon: 22.6°
    • Wrangler Rubicon 392: 22.6°
  • Departure angle
    • Xtreme Recon: 40.4°
    • Wrangler Rubicon: 37°
    • Wrangler Rubicon 392: 37.5°
  • Ground clearance
    • Xtreme Recon: 12.9”
    • Wrangler Rubicon: 10.8”
    • Wrangler Rubicon 392: 10.3”
  • Water fording
    • Xtreme Recon: 33.6”
    • Wrangler Rubicon: 30”
    • Wrangler Rubicon 392: 32.5”

That’s not all the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Package offers, though. It also comes with a reinforced swing gate and a shorter 4.56:1 axle ratio. However, there’s an even shorter 4.88:1 axle ratio available as a stand-alone option. If it’s paired with the six-speed manual, that gives the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon a 100:1 crawl ratio in first gear. Jeep claims that ratio is an industry first.

What does the 2021 Ford Bronco have that compares to the Xtreme Recon Package?

A silver 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch on a simulated off-road course
2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch side articulation | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

The Xtreme Recon Package’s release coincides with the launch of the 2021 Ford Bronco Sasquatch Package. And while the Xtreme Recon Package is limited to the Rubicon and Rubicon 392, the Sasquatch Package is available on any 2021 Bronco. But in terms of standard features, the Ford Bronco Badlands is the closest thing to the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

Speaking of, the Sasquatch Package’s additions mirror what the Xtreme Recon Package offers. For example, with the Sasquatch Package, the 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands gets 17” x 8” beadlock-capable wheels and 35” tires, MT points out. However, rather than all-terrain tires, the Bronco gets Goodyear Territory mud-terrain tires.

The Sasquatch Package also gives the 2021 Ford Bronco some suspension upgrades. In addition to a wider track, the package adds Bilstein position-sensitive remote-reservoir shocks and a slight lift for more ground clearance. And while the Ford Bronco Badlands already has a locking rear differential, the Sasquatch Package adds a locking front one, too. Plus, it gives the Bronco a shorter 4.7:1 axle ratio. Also, while it was previously only available with the 10-speed automatic, Ford now offers the Sasquatch Package on manual Broncos. That gives the SUV a 94.8:1 crawl ratio, Car and Driver says.

Still, on paper, the Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch can’t quite match the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon, Motor1 reports. In terms of the off-road numbers, it falls behind slightly:

  • Approach angle
    • Badlands Sasquatch: 43.2°
    • Xtreme Recon: 47.4°
  • Breakover angle
    • Badlands Sasquatch: 26.3°
    • Xtreme Recon: 26.7°
  • Departure angle
    • Badlands Sasquatch: 37°
    • Xtreme Recon: 40.4°
  • Ground clearance
    • Badlands Sasquatch: 11.5”
    • Xtreme Recon: 12.9”
  • Water fording
    • Badlands Sasquatch: 33.5”
    • Xtreme Recon: 33.6”

Which off-road SUV should you buy?

Numerically, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon beats the Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch. And at $3995, the package is technically cheaper. Although the Badlands’ Sasquatch Package costs $2495, on ‘lesser’ Broncos, it costs $4495.

However, there’s more. For one, that 4.88:1 axle won’t be available initially. But even so, the Xtreme Recon Package won’t offer the 100:1 crawl ratio because it’s only for automatic-equipped Rubicons. And with the automatic, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon ‘only’ has a 93.6:1 crawl ratio, Roadshow explains. So, the Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch beats the Wrangler out there.

Also, the Xtreme Recon Package is only available on four-door 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicons with the mild-hybrid 3.6-liter V6. The Sasquatch Package, though, is available on two-door and four-door Broncos with either of its two engines. And while the Bronco’s 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is less powerful than the Wrangler’s V6, it’s torquier. But that’s on regular fuel; on premium, it’s more powerful than the V6. Plus, the Bronco’s optional 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is more powerful and torquier than Jeep’s V6.

Cost-wise, the cheapest 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch starts at $46,730 after fees. In comparison, the cheapest 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon starts at $51,785. But Jeep promises that Xtreme Recon production will start in August 2021. The Bronco, meanwhile, has been delayed until 2022 and beyond.

In short, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Xtreme Recon is more expensive, but it offers more off-road capability. And it comes with a shorter wait time. So, if timing and capability are important to you, that’s the SUV to get. But if you’re OK with waiting and don’t need the most extreme off-roader, the Ford Bronco offers similar capability at a discount.

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