off-road enthusiasts are often a friendly crowd, happy to help spot each other through treacherous sections of muddy or rocky trails. however, there's an escalating rivalry between brands and fans of the subculture's hottest stars–the ford bronco and the jeep wrangler.
when ford relaunched the body-on-frame bronco just last year, jeep countered by launching a batch of first-of-their-kind wranglers. the latter includes the plug-in-hybrid 4xe and the 470-hp v-8 rubicon 392. for 2022, jeep now makes the wrangler's most extreme off-road package more widely available. ford answers with a new snorkel-sporting, winch-wearing bronco everglades trim and—most notably—the hotly anticipated 400-plus-hp bronco raptor.
since each respective lineup looks different than when we first compared specs of the bronco and wrangler, we're ready to take another look at how these two off-road icons stack up, specifically their trim levels and prices. before comparing costs, however, we'll address the elephant in the room: outrageous dealership markups and limited supplies that'll make finding a new bronco or wrangler at sticker price (or at all) difficult in the current situation. still, for the purpose of this exercise, we're basing everything on msrp.
the two-door, base-model '22 bronco currently starts at $32,395 and peaks at $70,095 for the four-door-only raptor. in between are six other trim levels: big bend, black diamond, outer banks, badlands, wildtrak, and everglades. powertrain options vary, but the standard setup is a 300-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four with either a seven-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic. a 330-hp twin-turbo 2.7-liter four-pot is also optional but only comes with the automatic; the same goes for the raptor's twin-turbo 3.0-liter v-6. all broncos have standard four- or all-wheel drive, and most are available with two or four doors that can be removed along with the roof panels. the bronco also has an independent front suspension, unlike the jeep's archaic, albeit sturdy, solid front axle.
the '22 wrangler opens at $31,590 for a two-door sport model; the 470-hp rubicon 392 is four-door only (unlimited in jeep speak) and tops out at $78,690. the lineup is less cut and dried for a variety of reasons—revolving special editions, packages marketed as trims, etc.—but the wrangler can be distilled into eight buckets similar to the bronco lineup. between the bookends are the sport s, willys sport, willys, sahara, rubicon, and sahara high altitude. the wrangler has a wider variety of powertrains, too. the base setup is a 285-hp 3.6-liter v-6 with or without a 48-volt hybrid system and a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic transmission; other engines only get the automatic. these include a 270-hp turbo 2.0-liter inline-four and a diesel 3.0-liter v-6 with 442 pound-feet of torque. the 470-hp 6.4-liter v-8 is a rubicon 392 exclusive. the plug-in-hybrid 4xe features a 2.0-liter turbo-four and two electric motors with a combined 375 horses.
with the price ranges, powertrain options, and trim levels out of the way, we can put some of the bronco and wrangler's most similar models head to head, starting with the base bronco and the entry-level wrangler sport. both come with two or four doors, but in either configuration, the bronco starts about $1000 higher than the wrangler. however, that's irrelevant for folks who want their two-door wrangler sport with air conditioning, which adds $1395. adding a/c also swaps the standard 5.0-inch touchscreen for a 7.0-inch unit; the unlimited sport includes both upgrades out of the box and preserves its roughly $1100 discount. an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a/c are included with every bronco. still, the wrangler sport offers budget-minded shoppers greater variety. for instance, the jeep has black or tan cloth upholstery; the ford only offers black cloth. the sport alone is available with leather seats, too. likewise, it has an optional $595 locking rear differential that's also offered on the base bronco, but only with the $5000 to $6600 sasquatch package.
when the new bronco debuted last year, ford smartly made the sasquatch off-road package available on all models—and standard on the wildtrak. the kit is highlighted by a 1.2-inch lift, 35-inch all-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, electronic locking front and rear diffs, and bilstein dampers. the company later pleased bronco enthusiasts even more by offering it on models with the manual gearbox. likely less pleased were wrangler fans who could only get the equivalent xtreme recon package on the automatic-equipped unlimited rubicon and rubicon 392. for 2022, jeep bequeaths its best off-road hardware to the cheaper willys trim (unlimited only), but it's still not compatible with the manual. nonetheless, the xtreme recon package adds a 1.5-inch lift, 17-inch beadlock-capable rims shod with gnarly 35-inch tires, retuned dampers, and 4.56:1 final-drive gears. while the sasquatch package is more widely available, it can cost up to around $6600 versus the $3995 xtreme recon kit, depending on the bronco trim. still, a '22 wrangler unlimted willys xtreme recon starts at $45,240. a two-door, base bronco sasquatch starts at $39,780; the four-door version starts at $42,085.
between the ford bronco and jeep wrangler's base models and best models is a diverse selection of trim levels that will suit a variety of personalities. plus, both benefit from huge aftermarket support as well as countless factory-backed accessories that allow virtually unlimited customization. with at least eight specific trim levels each, examining all of them would make for a tedious reading experience. instead, we'll only compare a few similarly themed models from the heart of the lineup.
the bronco outer banks and the wrangler unlimited sahara represent a more refined take on their respective namesakes. the outer banks has body-color fender flares, door handles, and mirror caps. it also has upscale interior bits like ambient lighting, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and remote start (automatic only). the sahara pairs polished rims and other shiny exterior trim with body-color fenders. unlike the outer banks, it's also available with a body-color hardtop roof. also unlike the outer banks, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, and remote start all cost extra. even stepping up to the better-equipped sahara altitude requires paying extra for that content.
the bronco badlands and wrangler rubicon are upper-crust off-roaders in their respective lineups. the badlands doesn't come standard with the sasquatch package, and the xtreme recon package is also optional on the rubicon, but even without those upgrades, they're legitimately capable where the blacktop ends. the badlands comes with a specially tuned suspension, 33-inch all-terrain tires, and a hydraulic front sway-bar disconnect. its appearance is also marked by a heavy-duty bumper up front and a steel bumper out back. the bronco wildtrak ($51,325) and everglades ($54,545) both slot above the badlands when it comes to trail-readiness, but it's reflected in their higher prices. meanwhile, the rubicon is a wrangler icon. every version is fitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires, electronic locking front and rear diffs, a disconnecting front sway-bar, rock rails, and unique front and rear bumpers as well as body-color fenders.
sure, there's a bronco or a wrangler for (almost) everyone, but at the end of the day fans of the ford and jeep brands need a halo model to brag about and drool over. in one corner of the ring is the first-ever bronco raptor with a 400-plus-hp twin-turbo v-6, a long-travel suspension with remote-reservoir fox racing shocks, massive 37-inch all-terrain tires, and hilariously huge fender flares. in the other corner is the recently introduced wrangler rubicon 392 with a stupidly powerful 470-hp 6.4-liter v-8 that makes sounds that'll scare children and will hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. it also has a jacked-up suspension, rides on 33-inch all-terrain rubber (35s with the xtreme recon package), and features similar off-road hardware as the bronco raptor like electronic locking front and rear diffs as well as a disconnecting front anti-roll bar. ford's wildest off-road suv starts around $70k but can eclipse $80,000 with options. jeep's v-8–powered apex predator opens at almost $79,000 and can surpass $90k with options.
compared with the jeep wrangler, the ford bronco is the new hotness. it's currently capturing the hearts and minds of americans behind a slick marketing campaign and its inherent nostalgic qualities. it's not all smoke and mirrors either as we put it on our 2022 10best list. yes. the bronco is flying high—literally, we jumped one.
however, the wrangler's lineup has something the bronco's doesn't: an electrified option. while we found the plug-in-hybrid 4xe to be imperfect, it remains one of a kind. nothing else on the road or off it has stick axles, all-wheel drive with a low-range setting, 470 pound-feet of torque, 22 miles of estimated electric-only range, and an epa-rated 49 mpge. of course, all this capability and tech comes with a weight penalty and added complexity. it also comes with a starting price that ranges from $55,390 for the unlimited sahara to $59,090 for the unlimited rubicon. those are no small fees, but if nothing else, jeep has a head start on ford when it comes to electric options for off-roaders.