The Ford Bronco has been on the warpath since it debuted. The Bronco has mostly battled with the other American off-roading icon, the Jeep Wrangler. However, now the Bronco has its bloodlust fixed on the fancy boy from across the pond, the Land Rover Defender. Could it be that the cheaper American brute is better than the nearly century-old Englishman?
The Land Rover Defender is way more expensive than the Ford Bronco
These two legendary off-roaders are similar in many ways. Both models have many decades of history, strong 4×4 systems, and a die-hard fan base. However, there is one very large difference between the two, money.
HotCars notes that this difference is mighty dramatic. The Ford Bronco starts at around $30,000 and tops out at $65,000. While this may not count as “cheap” necessarily, it is a bit closer to the mark than the objectively up-town price range of the Land Rover Defender, which starts at $52,000 but goes up to $115,000+.
All these numbers mean that you can get a fully-loaded Bronco for only a bit more than the base Defender. This one fact alone makes the Defender a hard sale by comparison.
What does a fully-loaded Ford Bronco come with?
Well, we know the Bronco is cheaper, but does the value come with a downside? Let’s find out.
The most expensive Bronco trim is the Wildtrack. Buyers can add another $15k in options and extras to the already luxurious 4×4. According to HotCars, the Wildtrack boasts electronically-locking front and rear axles, Bilstein shocks, auxiliary switches with pre-run wires, a 12″ infotainment screen, and a pile of safety features.
The top-dog Bronco also comes with the 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 making 330 hp and 414 ft-lb of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The HotCars spec also added the retractable soft top, keypad entry, armor, skid plates, block heater, and just about any other fun bits and bobs you can imagine. After destination fees and all these extras, this badass 4×4 runs right at $65,000.
Let’s look at the Land Rover Defender
The equivalent Land Rover Defender is a base model with the Explorer pack. This model comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 395 hp and 406 lb-ft and an 8-speed automatic. Well, it’s not looking so bad for the Defender yet.
Don’t get it twisted; even the base Land Rover Defender is pretty sweet. The base model includes old-school white “steelie” wheels, an 11.4-inch infotainment screen, air suspension, and an extensive suite of safety features.
Once you add the Explorer, towing, and off-road packages, the two 4×4 stack up oddly similarly. So, now both off-roaders have roof racks, body armor, auxiliary lights, and fancy e-differentials for smart off-roading.
Is a fully-loaded Ford Bronco better than a Land Rover Defender?
Now that the two are optioned basically the same and cost about the same money, how do we pick which one’s better? Well, the Bronco has a secret weapon.
Land Rover is a luxury brand despite the Defender’s tractory roots. Like it or not, the Defender sits in the upper crust of 4x4s. The Bronco, on the other hand, has an “everyman” (please excuse the outdated terminology) feel. Although these two cost the same money and have the same spec, the Defender will always be the fancy truck and Bronco for the lay.
Since we aren’t talking about sports cars, the Defender’s luxury status hurts it in the world of mud and muck. For one, reliability and toughness are key for 4×4 buyers. The Bronco will undoubtedly be questioned less on that front than the Defender. We’ve learned that luxury often means a lack of toughness. The Bronco – even the fancy one – gives us a sense of a “real” truck. Yes, both are fantastic off-roaders, but which one are you more willing to get dirty and pinstriped?
At the end of the day, that is the only question that really matters for a 4×4. They both can do the job, but which one will do it?
Oh, and the Bronco holds the 4×4 trump card, a removable roof, and doors. Checkmate.