A quarter-century after production on its last incarnation was discontinued, the Ford Bronco is set to come riding back into the SUV landscape in 2021. But while fans of the Ford brand are already saddling up for the sixth generation Bronco to knock the Jeep Wrangler off of the market’s top spot, the truth is that they can buck off.
The Ford Bronco vs. Jeep Wrangler is set to be the big battle on the compact SUV market in 2021. Here’s all we know about the 2021 Bronco and why – like its NFL namesake in recent years – it won’t be winning the biggest prize anytime soon.
Is The Bronco Already Outdated?
The Rolling Stones. Most rebooted television shows. Your ex. They’re all things that were great in their heyday but are probably best left in the past. It’s been 25 years since the Ford Bronco was discontinued, and a further 30 years since it was first launched.
There was a reason that Ford put their compact SUV out of its misery back in 1996, and perhaps its best left as a memory.
Admittedly, the sixth generation will be vastly different from its predecessor thanks to the advancements in technology, design, and performance. Still, the prospect of the new Bronco release was first teased back in 2017 at the Detroit Motor Show. While the manufacturer has been tight-lipped on the details, doubters would suggest that some aspects could be outdated before it even hits the market.
Conversely, the Jeep Wrangler is a powerhouse that has simply got better and better. The current JL version continues to lead the market, securing universal applause across the Sport, Rubicon, MOAB, Shara, and Altitude trims.
While it’s a little premature to rule the Bronco out completely, Ford has a lot of ground to make up. And if it falls short in any aspect, the war between the Ford Bronco vs. Jeep Wrangler will be over before it begins as the former will be destined for the same fate as the Toyota FJ Cruiser…and the Nissan Xterra… and the Toyota 4Runner… you get the idea.
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The Bronco & Fuel Efficiency: A Somewhat Mixed Message
Broncos are by their very definition meant to be synonymous with untrained power. However, Ford has already confirmed its commitment to creating fuel-efficient vehicles. Honestly, we’re not sure if it’s oxymoronic or just moronic.
Nothing has been confirmed regarding the engine choices, but speculation suggests that under the hood could borrow attributes from the Ranger and F-150. This could mean 3.0L Power Stroke diesel engine, 3.2-liter Power Stroke I5 diesel engine, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4, and a 2.3-liter, turbocharged inline-four.
While it would be an impressive showcase, the Wrangler already boasts a
</3.0 EcoDiesel V6 engine capable of 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque. The reborn Ford Bronco could potentially match the power of the Wrangler, but surpassing it is probably about as likely as Loyd Christmas winning Mary Swanson’s heart.
Think that movie reference should have stayed in the mid-1990s? Well, maybe the Bronco – you can finish that punchline yourselves.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
While the Bronco used to be a compact SUV, it has matured into a mid-size SUV for 2021. Once again, it seems a little at odds with the greener driving manifesto. Size matters (sorry fellas but, when dealing with SUVs, bigger doesn’t necessarily equate to better.
The features are probably more significant here, and the Ford Bronco will offer a range of attributes that could genuinely boost its popularity. A removable top, the option of a two-door model, removable doors, solid front and rear axles, manual transmission, and off-roading capabilities are among the most attractive proposals. Meanwhile, the Sync 4 infotainment system is widely expected to feature.
All of those features are impressive enough, but they don’t stand the Ford Bronco out from the crowd. At least not in comparison to the Wrangler.
Is an avid fan of the Wrangler likely to trade-in and get a Ford Bronco based on those features? Probably not. Similarly, anyone that’s still driving a Bronco from the 90s will probably stay loyal to their much-loved vehicle.
And there lies the problem. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Ford Bronco 2021. In fact, the early suggestions are that it will be a real challenger to the Wrangler. Sadly, it will fail to deliver the knockout blow.
Can the Ford Bronco recapture its past glory and become a popular vehicle in the compact SUV arena? Possibly. After all, the Michigan-based automotive giant has a legion of fans while older drivers may buy the Bronco for nostalgic reasons.
But if it’s really a battle between the Wrangler and the Bronco, the Wrangler will always succeed.
Image credit to fullsizebronco.com