The Jeep Wrangler Is Getting Lapped By the 2021 Ford Bronco

Watch the 2021 Ford Bronco as it leaps over the iconic Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep Wrangler is the most popular off-road SUV, but the new Ford Bronco is its biggest competition yet. The 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks edged out its opponent during a head-to-head comparison.

The 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks vs. the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport

A 2022 Ford Bronco four-door midsize SUV in Eruption Green parked in desert terrain
2022 Ford Bronco | The Ford Motor Company

According to Car and Driver‘s test results, the Bronco is the best off-road SUV on the market. The reviewer looked at off-road capability, comfortability, features, and more in the comparison. The Bronco comes out on top, taking everything into account right down to how it drives.

The Jeep Wrangler has been at the top in this category for as long as we can remember. It’s about time it got some serious competition. After all, competition between brands is most beneficial for you, the consumer. Not only is the Ford Bronco a better choice right now, but it also might be what pushes the Jeep Wrangler to become even better.

Wrangler and Bronco: trim, price, and engine

A 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon compact off-road SUV with the Firecracker Red paint color option parked on a trail of water, mud, and rocks
2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | FCA US LLC.

Car and Driver drove and compared the Ford Bronco Outer Banks and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport. The two are midrange trim options for both models and some of the best value available. The Bronco comes in at a starting price of $52,555 with all the extras. The Wrangler ended up costing a total of $46,870 after adding a 270 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder instead of the V6.

The reviewer also opted for the matching four-cylinder in the Bronco, removing its 2.7-liter V6 and dropping the price $1,895. The Bronco’s smaller engine makes 300 horsepower, starting it off in the lead. With the closest prices and engines available, the Bronco is more expensive but a little more robust. What other advantages does it have?

Is the Ford Bronco better than the Jeep Wrangler for off-road driving?

The Jeep Wrangler beats the Ford Bronco in approach, departure, and break-over angles. It’s also bolstered by more ground clearance than the competition. Additionally, it’s 2.0-inches more narrow and weighs 444 pounds fewer than Bronco. The wheelbase is also 2.5-inches longer than Ford’s offering, making the Wrangler bigger and lighter all around.

Noted negatives for the Wrangler are the remaining use of a solid front axle with recirculating ball steering. While Jeep drivers and fanatics see it as a positive for off-road driving, it isn’t suitable for everyday driving. Car and Driver called the smoothness of the Wrangler’s ride “irritatingly choppy.”

The Bronco rides much more smoothly on-road and notably better than the Jeep Wrangler. Ford’s off-road SUV comes with four-wheel drive and a six-position drive-mode selector for choosing the appropriate terrain. The Bronco is decked out with an electronically locking rear differential, Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S all-terrain tires, and more. During testing, it could comfortably drive over rough ground at speeds that took the Wrangler out of the driver’s control.

Conclusively, Car and Driver notes that the Jeep Wrangler sacrifices too much drivability for off-road capability. While it is excellent for off-road terrains, the Bronco is superior for driving anywhere. The Ford Bronco provides a comfortable and capable off-road ride without sacrificing everyday livability.

Ford Bronco vs. Jeep Wrangler: Which has more features?

RELATED: Must Watch: Ford Bronco Raptor Crushes Off-Road Course

While both SUVs are competent, which is filled with more luxury? Based on the two reviewed models, it’s hard to judge since one is a higher trim than the other. However, the Ford Bronco is the clear winner for the two models. Since the trim levels are within a few thousand dollars of one another, not much changes, it’s hard not to notice the cheaper plastic materials inside the Jeep Wrangler, along with the lack of a modern infotainment system.

The Ford Bronco’s infotainment system features a large, intuitive touchscreen that refuses to be overlooked. The 12-inch LCD touchscreen has swipe capability, voice recognition, and an available B&O sound system. With leather-trimmed seating throughout the cabin, you’ll forget you’re inside an off-road-focused model built for getting dirty. Additionally, it comes with remote start, USB ports, 12V outlets, terrain management system, lane-keeping system, a high-level instrument panel, Intelligent Access with push-button start, and so much more.

While the Jeep Wrangler is more compact and primarily meant for off-road, it doesn’t do enough on-road to make it the superior SUV. Its handling and speed off-road are highly attractive, but the Ford Bronco isn’t far behind. When you’re not off-roading, the Bronco is more comfortable, spacious, and provides a more powerful engine. The Ford Bronco might be the Jeep Wrangler killer for which many people have waited.

RELATED: The 2023 Ford Ranger Might Get the Coolest Ford Bronco Features