Best Off-Road SUV: Does the 2022 Ford Bronco Defeat the 2022 Land Rover Defender?
- The 2022 Ford Bronco is “bro watch this” in off-road SUV form
- A 2022 Land Rover Defender simply does not care what obstacle is in front of it
- The Bronco’s lower price tag can’t be ignored
Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a week in the two hottest new off-road SUVs of the moment: the 2022 Ford Bronco and the 2022 Land Rover Defender. The Bronco is the wild child SUV. It doesn’t take itself seriously, even though the spec sheet says otherwise. And the Defender? It’s a trendy London flat with a chic interior and a subtle road presence unlike anything on the road. But which one’s better?
2022 Ford Bronco vs. 2022 Land Rover Defender
|2022 Ford Bronco||2022 Land Rover Defender|
|Price (as tested)||$29,300 ($65,005)||$62,700 MSRP ($69,195)|
|Engine (as tested)||2.7L turbo V6||3.0L turbo inline 6|
|Horsepower (as tested)||330 hp||395 hp|
|Torque (as tested)||415 lb-ft||406 lb-ft|
|Transmission (as tested)||8-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|MPG Rating (as tested)||16 MPG combined||17 MPG combined|
|IIHS Safety Rating||Top Safety Pick||N/A|
|NHTSA Safety Rating||5 Stars||N/A|
2022 Ford Bronco advantages
Let’s start with the Bronco. Its advantages are many. The huge 35-inch tires on my loaner helped the Bronco feel planted on any terrain, even when the terrain was anything but stable. When it comes to off-road capability, the Bronco’s GOAT modes offered far more control than the 2022 Land Rover Defender. It even allows for some snowy donuts if you turn off the traction control, further enhancing the fun off-roader vibe.
Speaking of, the removable roof panels help this immensely. It took me a whole 10 minutes to remove the doors and roof panels on my first try (I admit to watching a bit of YouTube first). At $65,005 the 2022 Ford Bronco is an incredible value proposition, especially once you get a taste of how capable it is. However, it is also let down by a somewhat lackluster selection of materials, and the newest horse in the Ford stable already has several recalls.
2022 Land Rover Defender advantages
Now, the 2022 Land Rover Defender. There’s sort of a Lamborghini vs. Aston Martin thing going on here. Where the 2022 Ford Bronco is loud in both looks and paint color (Lamborghini), the 2022 Land Rover Defender doesn’t need to show everyone what it is (Aston Martin). The above “London flat” analogy applies to much more than just the minimalist interior. The outside is free of hooks, vents, and knobbly 35″ tires, but the off-road SUV capability is there all the same.
Like the Bronco, no matter how stuck you think the Defender might be, there’s always one more drive mode or traction setting to try before the Defender magics its way out. Minimalism aside, the materials are significantly nicer than the Bronco, as they should be for the near-$70K price tag. However, the Defender is let down by its serious personality. It simply does not appeal to the child in me the way the Bronco does.
Which off-road SUV is right for you?
Spec sheets and pricing aside, which off-road SUV you prefer ultimately comes down to the kind of person you are. Are you like me? Do you enjoy the “bro watch this” look and capability of a Ford Bronco? Or do you prefer to be unbothered by even the largest of obstacles, simply going over them with as little flair and fuss as possible? Both are extremely comfortable to use every day, and the choice is yours. No matter what, 60-odd grand gets you a seriously capable machine in both of these cars.