With the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco arriving in dealers, the Jeep® Wrangler has its first real rival in decades. While the Bronco takes aim squarely at the Wrangler, both vehicles are very much similar as they are different. But the competition has proven to be a good thing for Jeep customers. It has pushed the Jeep brand to introduce new powertrains, new options, and new off-road goodies at a record rate.
As fans from both sides, continue to debate on which vehicle is the best off-roader, the YouTube channel ACCELER8, has decided to pin both vehicles up against each other in a straight-line drag race.
With more powertrain options than any other vehicle in the Stellantis lineup, the Wrangler offers both gas and diesel V-6s, a turbocharged I-4, an electrified turbocharged I-4, and HEMI V-8 alternatives. The all-new Bronco, on the other hand, sticks with a pair of gasoline-powered turbocharged engines, one an I-4 and the other a V-6. So can such a race be truly fair between the two off-roaders?
The ACCELER8 team grabbed a 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara (the mid-range, more luxury-oriented option of the JL) with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic producing 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque for the race. This Wrangler featured aggressive Goodyear Duratracs on black Rubicon wheels.
For the blue oval side, is a 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks (the equivalent of the Sahara) in four-door form. Under the hood, is a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost I-4 producing 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque with Premium Unleaded fuel (275 horsepower and 315 lb.-ft. of torque with Regular Unleaded fuel). The Bronco’s EcoBoost engine is mated to a 10-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission. For this race, the 2.3-liter would run regular unleaded to make things fair.
In the first race, the Wrangler and the Bronco go heads up with both vehicles just mashing the gas from a dead stop. The Wrangler’s naturally-aspirated Pentastar V-6 has no problem pulling a 1.5 car length ahead, thanks to no boost leg.
The second race, had the Bronco build boost with its 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and using Sport mode for more aggressive shifting. While the Bronco got a massive jump off the start this time, it took the Wrangler third-quarters of the run to catch and pass the Bronco for the win by only a car length.
Jeep wins, but not by much! Impressive considering both powerplants are the standard offerings from each automaker.
The third race, put the Bronco up against a Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4×4 with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. The much heavier Ram 1500 makes 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque and has a 8-speed 8HP75 automatic transmission. Against the Bronco, the Ram spun its tires off the line allowing the Bronco to pull ahead. But the Ram quickly caught up and passed the Bronco before the finish line, winning by just a car length.