Consumer Reports Thinks the Ford Bronco Is Mediocre but Hates Its Biggest Rival

Reintroduced in 2021 after a 25-year hiatus, the Ford Bronco is a hit with consumers. And the 2022 Bronco is no different, at least when it comes to owner satisfaction. But not everyone is a fan. For instance, Consumer Reports thinks the new Bronco is fairly average and has some real drawbacks. However, CR also believes the SUV’s biggest rival, the Jeep Wrangler, is far worse.

Consumer Reports’ 2022 Ford Bronco analysis

2022 Ford Bronco is better than the Jeep Wrangler, according to Consumer Reports
2022 Ford Bronco in Eruption Green | Ford Motor Company

Consumer Reports is known for its detailed reviewing system, which includes individually scored categories and an overall score. And though CR’s predicted owner satisfaction score for the 2022 Ford Bronco is a perfect 5 out of 5, the SUV fared worse in several important categories.

Assessing predicted reliability, based on existing complaints and similar models produced by the manufacturer, CR gave the 2022 Bronco only a 2 out of 5. That’s bad, given that the Bronco is meant to go off-road on rugged terrain and tow or haul anything one might need for an adventure. No one wants to shoulder pricey repairs, so that score is disappointing.

Consumer Reports also gave the 2022 Ford Bronco a 55 out of 100 on its road test. That score might surprise some drivers, but CR dinged the Bronco for a few factors that some prospective owners may or may not find especially important. The Bronco’s score suffered because plenty of wind noise penetrated the cabin, and the SUV took longer to stop than some full-size trucks. Mediocre fuel economy also pushed down the score.

Though excessive cabin noise can be annoying, you’d expect a vehicle this size to be a gas guzzler. And given its size, you might not make too much of its stopping time. Still, these scores dragged down the Bronco’s overall score to a dismal 47 out of 100.

But Consumer Reports thinks the 2022 Ford Bronco is better than the Jeep Wrangler

Though a 47 out of 100 is nothing to crow about, at least Ford can take solace in the fact it outscored its biggest rival by a wide margin. The Blue Oval resurrected the Bronco to compete with another iconic SUV: the Jeep Wrangler. But while the 2022 Ford Bronco didn’t blow Consumer Reports away, CR’s testers were even less enthusiastic about the 2022 Wrangler.

Netting an overall score of 28, the 2022 Wrangler earned low road test, predicted reliability, and predicted owner satisfaction scores. CR noted the SUV struggled to match competitors’ handling, especially on pavement. The Wrangler also suffers from excessive cabin noise, and its handling over bumps leaves much to be desired.

It also scored a 2 out of 5 in predicted reliability, while predicted owner satisfaction was a 4 out of 5. CR broke down owner satisfaction into four subcategories: driving experience, comfort, value, and styling. Of those four, the reviewers believe that while owners would enjoy the styling, they’d be less than pleased with the Jeep’s value, comfort, and handling.

Does the difference between scores mean that much?

While Consumer Reports is well respected for its automotive reviews, the Bronco’s and Wrangler’s overall scores won’t stop many fans of these two iconic SUVs from buying or leasing a new one. Still, prospective buyers can learn much from these detailed reviews, including how each vehicle might align with their personal car-buying preferences relative to each other.

The 2022 Ford Bronco is the clear choice between the two SUVs for buyers looking for performance, comfort, and owner satisfaction. Its scores are higher than the Wrangler’s in each category. The Bronco handles better on- and off-road, boasts fairly cool interior styling, a comfortable cabin, and a wide selection of options.

For buyers looking for — well, come to think of it, there really isn’t anything the 2022 Jeep Wrangler does that the 2022 Ford Bronco doesn’t do better. The Wrangler’s handling is stiff and jittery, its seats are overly spongy, and its cabin is difficult to climb into. Plus, the Bronco is cheaper, with a starting MSRP of $29,300, compared to the Wrangler’s $29,995.

Though you might prefer the Wrangler’s unique brand, the Bronco matches or exceeds the former’s performance in all the ways that count.  

RELATED: Consumer Reports Calls the 2022 Ford Bronco “Predictable,” Ranks It Almost Last