The last we saw of the Ford Bronco, this venerable SUV was heading out to pasture with the 1996 model year. It looked to most of us auto enthusiasts that this pioneer of the sport utility vehicle segment was finished after 31 years and five generations. It seemed a real shame since the Ford Bronco was a truly iconic vehicle, one that had blazed so many trails on and off the road, as well as in the automobile industry itself. So, it was a great surprise when Ford announced that it was bringing the Bronco back for the 2021 model year after a 25-year wait on the part of its fans and drivers. This has also brought on a rivalry between the 2021 Ford Bronco (4dr) vs 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
The Ford Bronco returns with a decided focus on off-roading. Where the prior generations of the Bronco had tried to be all things to all drivers looking for a midsize five-passenger SUV, the sixth generation will be all about mastering the trail. With that in mind, you will probably want to know how the new Bronco stacks up against some of the other top SUVs made for off-roading. One of the best is the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. This 4-door SUV has classic Jeep styling, has 4×4 standard, and is built to handle the trail with the available steel skid plates and locking differentials that separate the Trail-Rated Jeeps from other SUVs. The 2021 Ford Bronco is also built with this in mind, so we will need to dig deeper in comparing the 2021 Ford Bronco (4dr) vs 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
Pricing and Trim Levels
Ford has taken a bold approach with its trim levels and pricing on the 2021 Ford Bronco 4-door model. The base trim is called the Base, which seems to make perfect sense, and has an MSRP of $33,200. This is followed by the Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, Wild Trak, and top-of-the-line First Edition, which comes in with an MSRP of $63,500. As you can see, there are a total of 7 trim levels on the 2021 Ford Bronco.
In addition, Ford offers four different packages on most 2021 Bronco trims: Mid, High, Lux, and Sasquatch. The Sasquatch is offered on all Broncos and consists of 17-inch black-painted aluminum beadlock-capable wheels, 35-inch mud-terrain tires, a high clearance suspension, electronic locking front and rear axles, position-sensitive Bilstein shock absorbers, high-clearance fender flares, and other items. As you can see, this package is geared toward improving off-road performance for the Bronco
In contrast, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has a total of 5 different trim levels ranging from the base model Sport with an MSRP of $31,795, to the top trim Rubicon with an MSRP of $42,440. The other trims are the Willys Sport, Sport S, and Sahara. Jeep also offers the Wrangler Unlimited in 7 different special editions: the Black and Tan with an MSRP of $36,690, Willys with an MSRP of $37,490, Freedom with an MSRP of $37,690, Sport Altitude with an MSRP of $36,690, the Sahara Altitude with an MSRP of $41,940, the Rubicon Recon with an MSRP of $43,450, the North Edition with an MSRP of $44,465, and the High Altitude with an MSRP of $49,995.
While the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited may have more variants than the 2021 Ford Bronco, the Bronco actually offers more overall options than the 12 combined trims and special editions on the Jeep. This is because of the different packages, including the Sasquatch, that allows you to configure the trim level of the 2021 Ford Bronco you want with the additional equipment you desire. In effect, you have more freedom of choice with Ford’s approach to packaging.
Powertrains and Performance
Both Ford and Jeep offer their great off-road SUV with engine options for drivers to choose from. The standard engine on the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is a 2.0L DOHC Turbo I-4 with an optional eTorque system to boost the engine’s performance. This engine is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission to produce 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
You can also choose an optional 8-speed automatic transmission if you are uncomfortable using a stick. The first engine option is a 3.6L 24-valve V-6 with variable valve timing. Jeep also offers an optional eTorque system on this engine. It also comes paired with a standard manual transmission with an optional automatic. This engine produces 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, so you will get improved horsepower over the base I-4 engine at the expense of reduced torque. The third option is a 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 that produces 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque.
The 2021 Ford Bronco has a 2.3L turbocharged direct injection DOHC Ti-VCT EcoBoost I-4 engine that produces 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired with a 7-speed manual transmission, although you can choose an optional 10-speed automatic transmission if you like. As you can see, Ford’s base engine matches the horsepower in the Jeep’s base engine, while producing greater amounts of torque. This will be especially helpful with off-roading where that extra torque will help the Bronco’s 4×4 system.
The only engine option is a 2.7L Twin-Turbocharged Port and direct injection DOHC Ti-VCT EcoBoost V-6. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and produces 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This clearly beats all three engine options on the Jeep with respect to horsepower, while almost matching the torque produced by the Jeep’s optional EcoDiesel without the sluggishness often associated with diesel engines.
The Ford also provides additional gear speeds on its transmission, one extra on the manual, and two additional ones on the automatic, giving you better control and overall performance. In addition, the Ford Bronco has a shorter wheelbase than the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, 116.1 inches to 118.4 inches. This should make the Bronco more maneuverable with a tighter turning radius. The Bronco also has a best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches, can ford up to a class-leading 33.5 inches of water, and has an unmatched departure angle of 37.2 degrees and breakover angle of 29 degrees. You will be thankful for this when you are on a particularly challenging trail.
Cargo and Towing Capacities
One big reason for choosing an SUV is its ability to perform cargo-related tasks. However, the Bronco has a larger trunk space of 35.6 cubic feet, which expands to 77.6 cubic feet with the rear set of seats folded down. In comparison, the Jeep’s trunk can fit only 31.7 cubic feet of cargo space that can expand up to 72.4 cubic feet when you fold down the rear seats.
Both the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and 2021 Ford Bronco 4-door are rated to be able to tow up to 3,500 lbs of trailer with the proper equipment. However, when it comes to cargo capacity, there are some real differences between the two SUVs. The maximum cargo payload on the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is 1,000 lbs. The Ford Bronco 4-door tops this with the ability to carry up to 1,370 lbs.
One of everyone’s favorite features on most modern vehicles is the infotainment system. These ingenious devices combine important informational systems on your SUV with entertainment and connectivity features. The 2021 Ford Bronco features the all-new SYNC 4 system on a standard 8-inch color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited offers the older Uconnect system on a standard 5-inch color touchscreen.
However, that smaller screen makes it more challenging to use the Uconnect system’s features on the Jeep. There is an available updated Uconnect 4C NAV with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and navigation, but it is an extra option on the Wrangler Unlimited. With the Ford, you get all the features you need without having to pay extra – and if you do want to pay extra the Bronco offers a massive 12-inch touchscreen as an option.
Outcome: We Have to Go With a 2021 Ford Bronco 4-Door
The 2021 Ford Bronco is an all-new generation in a great line of Ford SUVs, ready to carve its own path and build an all-new legacy. With a build geared towards off-road explorers, Ford has equipped this Bronco with everything you will need to get you on and over every obstacle in your way regardless of whatever trim, package, engine, and transmission you choose.