Can the Wrangler catch up with the Bronco?


With the recent return of the Ford Bronco there has been a lot of heated controversy about whether the best SUV is the Bronco or the Jeep Wrangler. For decades, Jeep has held that title pretty well with very little real competition from other major manufacturers. The Ford Bronco changed all that, however, as it was clearly designed with the discovery of everything you can do I can do better. From its impressive off-road features and design to a similar open-air cab with removable doors, the Bronco seems to provide what many people had hoped to see in Jeep’s innovations that never appeared (lack of real competition can make that into the company) .

Jeep seemed to recognize this and was looking to “open up,” with recent shows like the Wrangler Rubicon 392, the most powerful Jeep Wrangler ever. Admittedly, when I first saw the Rubicon 392, I was amazed – who doesn’t want a HEMI V8 engine in an off-road vehicle? And yet, Ford has just delivered its answer: the Bronco Raptor, designed as a performance-focused off-road vehicle. While it may lack a V8 engine, this is the only thing the Rubicon 392 still boasts in comparison. Let’s see what the Bronco Raptor will supply, and see how it compares to Jeep’s offering – especially with the Rubicon 392.

Engines head to head

I’m going to start with what Jeep really has: they’ve finally managed to insert one of their HEMI engines into the Wrangler. It’s certainly only available on the Rubicon 392, but that’s something else; it’s a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that delivers 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. With this engine the Wrangler can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds and it can run a quarter mile in 13 seconds. All of this is very impressive performance for an off-road-designed SUV, but it raises the question of whether such track-oriented performance characteristics really matter if you’re going to crawl over rocks and splash over streams while enjoying your car.

For comparison, the recently announced Ford Bronco Raptor will have a 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, not a V8. Ford has not yet announced the official specifications of its performance, but they say it will offer somewhere north of 400 hp. In essence, this is the same engine that Ford offers Leader ST, though he was here with a twin-turbocharger; the Explorer ST engine provides 400 hp. However, in the end, some people may scoff a little at the V6 compared to the HEMI Rubicon 392.

If you’re just looking at raw numbers, then that’s definitely fair. This is a pretty obvious win for Jeep and their Wrangler (they need it); I doubt the Bronco Raptor will beat the Rubicon 392 any time soon or win the quarter-mile race. And there is something to be said for that. But if you’re not looking for just a crawler store that can handle all the stringent high school parking requirements, you’re interested in Wrangler or Bronco for more practical reasons: get on the trail.

Off-road functionality

Let’s be honest: bragging about a speed of 0 to 60 on an off-road car is good, but it doesn’t matter if you’re driving on rocky terrain or driving on sand dunes. I can’t help but feel that the HEMI V8 in the Rubicon 392 is a bit of a gimmick in this regard. Yes, people have been asking for a Wrangler with more power for a long time – but I imagine they wanted that power to be combined with an unrivaled off-road capability.

The Rubicon 392 has a good ground clearance – 10.3 inches, but in fact it is about half an inch lower than the standard Wrangler Rubicon. It has front and rear locking differentials, and Jeep boasted a lot about its disabling stabilization and “massive front tire articulation” (you’ll see that phrase is often used in their marketing), but finding true numbers for suspension to travel with a jeep seems impossible. The Jeep likes to brag about it, but doesn’t really cough up the specs on it.

In contrast, Ford was very precise about all the specifications of the Bronco Raptor regarding its off-road capabilities. First, it’s the embarrassing ground clearance of the Rubicon 392: the Bronco Raptor’s ground clearance is over 13 inches; it’s almost three inches larger than the 392. Where the Rubicon 392 has a lower ground clearance compared to the standard Rubicon, the Bronco Raptor was designed with a slightly larger clearance than the standard Bronco. And this is just the beginning…

The Bronco Raptor is equipped with high-performance off-road stability suspension (HOSS) from Ford and FOX Live Valve technology in FOX 3.1 Internal Bypass semi-active shock absorbers to create one of the most impressive suspension systems. It has a 13-inch front suspension travel and a 14-inch rear suspension travel, as well as a design that gives you an approach angle of over 47 degrees. All of this comes with the Ford Goes Over Any Type of Terrain (GOAT) mode system, which has seven modes to control the terrain, really allowing it to do whatever the Wrangler can, and more.

Wheels and tires

I’ve mentioned ground clearance and many other off-road capabilities, but I can’t help but marvel at how well Ford’s team has designed the Bronco Raptor to surpass what the Jeep Wrangler can offer, even the Rubicon 392. The Bronco Raptor comes with 17-inch wheels available wheels with supported by bioblock and standard 37-inch tires. Each model has massive tires that immediately convey the fact that this beast is designed to climb over anything you throw at it.

For comparison, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon also has 17-inch wheels, thankfully, but it comes with standard 33-inch tires. There are 35-inch tires, but it’s funny that you have to pay more for an affordable package to still get tires smaller than standard Bronco Raptar. Honestly, this isn’t the biggest change of the game, and I’m really not interested in starting a cold-sized Cold War between manufacturers; it just demonstrates another way the Bronco Raptor was designed to surpass the Wrangler.

Design and characteristics of the cabin

This is also reflected in the design and features that you get inside these vehicles. For years, one of the biggest complaints people have about the Wrangler is that you lose the side mirrors when you remove the door. Ford recognized this and designed the Bronco to have side mirrors on the body itself so you can remove the doors and keep the visibility intact. Jeep has yet to react to a design that fixes this – a prime example of Ford taking it a step further.

Inside these two vehicles you will get radically different impressions. The Rubicon 392 comes with an 8.4-inch infotainment display and a meager 7-inch digital dashboard – these dimensions – this is what you expect from an initial trim or economy model, not from a powerful flagship that should be just bragging. In contrast, the Ford Bronco Raptor comes with a 12-inch infotainment screen and a 12-inch digital instrument. This is the difference between day and night, which shows how far behind the Wrangler really is.

The blue 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is shown parked in the desert.

Where can a jeep go from here?

The differences here are quite shocking. They get even more stunning when you combine all this with the fact that the Bronco Raptor expects to start with around $ 69,995 MSRP as well Rubicon 392 starts at $ 75,095. From where I sit, Jeep’s only chance is to keep up with the times and make major changes to the Wrangler to make it competitive. They need to respond to Ford not only with a hybrid transmission or HEMI engine (or the inevitable EV model), but also a real fundamental change in approach to the Wrangler. The Bronco is clearly here to stay, and Ford is on the leap ahead of what Jeep has to offer – unless something dramatic happens, and I’m sure soon Stelantis ’dad won’t be too happy with sales figures for the next decade.

Can the Wrangler catch up with the Bronco?

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