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10 Ways the Jeep Wrangler Beats the All-New 2021 Ford Bronco

From diesel engines to aftermarket support.

With all of the coverage of the new Bronco's recent unveiling, you would have thought that it spelled the end of the Jeep Wrangler. Does the Wrangler even have any redeeming qualities anymore? Is it even relevant? You might not think so if you read the Ford press releases, clearly claiming their Bronco is superior in every way.

Well, hold up just a minute; the Jeep Wrangler is just as amazing a vehicle today as it was last week, and we'll walk you through just 10 of the ways today's Wrangler still beats the unreleased Bronco. And we won't even count that the Bronco is still nine months away from release, giving Jeep ample time to reload and respond.

Diesel Engine Option

The Bronco has two amazing engine choices in the 270-hp, 310-lb-ft 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder and the 310-hp, 400-lb-ft 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 that outclass Jeep's gas offerings, but Jeep has eTorque mild-hybrid versions of its gas engines, and they take the torque crown with the turbocharged 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 rated at 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Although the Bronco's gas offerings look better on paper, they don't have an answer to Jeep's diesel option.

Solid Axles

No matter how good your vehicle is, if it doesn't have solid axles, there are enthusiasts who won't even give you a second look. That's not to put down the Bronco's IFS at all, as it appears to be robust and well designed, taking lessons from the Raptor program and no doubt will rip in the go-fast stretches of trail. But depending on the type of wheeling you do, it might not appeal to you. With Raptor knowledge applied to the Bronco front suspension, will it be as durable as a solid-axle setup? Only time and testing will tell. One thing we can tell you for sure is that the Wrangler won't have variable ground clearance as the front suspension cycles, like the Bronco will. IFS is also much more expensive to lift correctly in order to fit bigger sizes, and enthusiasts are already talking about how to discard the Bronco's IFS, with Photoshopped solid-axle-swapped Bronco images making their rounds on social media and the internet.

Mirrors Stay With the Doors

Ford thinks it solved a major problem by keeping the mirrors on the cowl and off the doors, arguing that enthusiasts will no long need to buy additional mirrors to be legal when the doors are off and making the doors more compact to store. While Ford has made some good points, anyone who wheels in the tight forests of the Pacific Northwest or down in the tight woods of the Southeast will attest, they don't want bulky mirrors. It's one more thing to get ripped off on a boulder or tree. Plus, the Bronco mirrors appear to be huge! We do know that they will fold, but how hard they are to remove is anybody's guess.

Off-Road Package Gearing

The Bronco has an incredible 94.7:1 thanks to a 6+1 crawler-gear-equipped seven-speed manual transmission behind the 2.3L EcoBoost. However, the manual isn't available behind the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6, nor is it available with the 35-inch tires of the Sasquatch package. So, if you want the V-6 and/or 35-inch tires, you are locked into a maximum crawl ratio on the automatic/3.06:1 electromechanical combo of 67.8:1. On the Wrangler, the Rubicon's 4.0:1 transfer case with the auto gives you a deeper 77.2:1 on the gas models and a 70.3:1 on the diesel. Manual Wrangler Rubicons have an 84.2:1 crawl ratio.

Approach Angle

While the Bronco claims best-in-class breakover and departure angles on 35-inch-tire-equipped models, Wrangler Rubicon still rules when it comes to the approach angle. Besides, what good is breakover and departure if you can't get on top of the obstacle in the first place? There's no denying that the Bronco's two-door and four-door maximum breakover angle numbers of 29.0 and 26.3 degrees easily best the Wrangler's 27.8 and 22.6 degree angles, respectively. The Wrangler's 44-degree and 43.9-degree approach numbers are also better than the Bronco's 43.2-degree angles on both two-door and four-door models. We consider the departure angle of 37.2 degrees on the Bronco two-door essentially identical to the 37-degree angle sported by the Bronco four-door and both Wrangler body styles.

Visibility

While we haven't driven a Bronco yet, we are going out go out on a limb and say the Wrangler has better outward visibility, especially with the larger side windows and tapered hood. To aid the driver, Ford did add those cool-looking "Trail Sights" to the front fenders, but we don't know their effectiveness yet. The Wrangler also doesn't have the giant mirrors that stay with the vehicle even with the doors off. Now, the Bronco does add some available 360-degree camera technology with a "spotter view," but we've always preferred our own senses to the artificial views from trail cameras.

Fold-Down Windshield

Is there anything on earth more "jeepy" than a fold-down windshield? The Wrangler JL upgrade made this feature easier than ever to access. Nothing says freedom like your top and doors removed, but until you've gone wheeling in a Wrangler with the windshield down, you have no idea what freedom really feels like. The fold-down windshield is a visceral experience unique to this class, and it is lacking in the new Bronco.

Manual Transfer Case

Whoever was able to keep the manual transfer case on the Wrangler JL deserves a raise. As more and more systems are computerized and automated, we are losing those touchpoints that bond man and machine together. As convenient as buttons are, it's nice to pull a lever and feel the engagement of the transfer case underhand and know that you are ready to tackle what lies ahead. You just don't get that primeval sense of understanding what our four-wheeling forebearers experienced from pushing a button or turning a knob.

V-8 on the Way

It might not be official yet, but a Hemi V-8 is coming to the Wrangler. Jeep may have teased the 392 Rubicon Concept, but it wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to the Bronco. Jeep has been working on a factory V-8 for a while now, and if the concept's rating of 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque is any indication, Jeep wants you to know it plans on having the most powerful V-8 in the class. And let's face it, a throaty V-8's mechanical song will always beat a turbo V-6's uninspired moan. Did we mention the Wrangler will have an optional V-8? That alone should be worth two of these categories.

Aftermarket Support

The Wrangler is the most modified vehicle in the world, and despite the announcement of the Bronco, that's not likely to change anytime soon. While Ford plans to have more than 200 factory accessories available at launch, that pales in comparison to the unlimited supply of Wrangler mods inside and outside of the Mopar catalog. With the Wrangler available now, there is no waiting to build the off-road vehicle of your dreams. The Bronco is due to hit dealers until spring 2021, and then it will probably take a good 18 months for the aftermarket to start catching up. Plus, there will be some time needed for people to figure out how they use the Bronco and what products the Bronco might benefit from.

To see our counter story of the 10 ways the 2021 Ford Bronco beats the Jeep Wrangler, click here.