Last week, the world finally saw the return of the Ford Bronco. With it, the Blue Oval has now a proper 4x4 machine that can take on any terrain, climb every mountain, and ford every stream, no pun intended.
But wait a moment, aren't the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota FJ Cruiser also capable of doing the same things?
Well, it looks like we have a three-way spec check between these three 4x4 machines. Which one will come out on top and be the most capable 4x4 machine? Which of the three have the most ground clearance and water wading capability?
Let's start with body dimensions. For the sake of consistency, we will be basing the dimensions of both the five-door versions of the Wrangler and Bronco.
Starting with the Bronco, the newest player in the 4x4 arena measures 4,839mm long, 1,938mm wide, and 1,877mm tall. This makes the Bronco the biggest of the three, although the Bronco does fall short in terms of wheelbase as it only measures 2,950mm.
Over to the Wrangler, the go-anywhere Jeep is 4,785mm long, 1,877mm wide, and 1866mm tall. This makes the Wrangler nearly as tall as the Bronco but is outclassed in terms of length and width. Where the Wrangler comes out on top, however, is in the wheelbase category as it has a generous 3,008mm wheelbase.
The FJ Cruiser also comes with five doors (i.e. rear suicide doors), yet it's the smallest of the bunch. Measuring only 4,670mm long, 1,905mm wide, and 1,830mm tall, it only beats the Wrangler through sheer width. The FJ Cruiser also has the shortest wheelbase at 2,670mm.
Given that these are high-riding machines, one would expect that they're capable of going over rough terrain, as well as high waters. Thanks to a water wading capacity of 851mm, the Bronco is the winner of the three. The Wrangler can only take on waters as high as 760mm while the FJ Cruiser has around 700mm of water wading depth.
As far as the ground clearance is concerned, the Bronco has 290mm of ground clearance. The Wrangler, on the other hand, has around 275mm of clearance to play with. As for the FJ Cruiser, it has the least ground clearance at 244mm. Not bad, but the FJ's clearance is easily beaten by both the Wrangler and Bronco.
Now onto the engines. This is where things get interesting as the EcoBoost-powered Bronco gets the jump against its competitors. The range starts with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four which puts out 270 PS and 420 Nm of torque. Up next, is the more powerful 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 derived from the F-150. It makes 310 PS along with a whopping 542 Nm of torque. A choice between a seven-speed manual and a ten-speed automatic is available for the all-new Bronco.
The PH-spec Wrangler is available with just one engine option. The 2.0-liter turbo inline-four makes 268 PS and 400 Nm of torque. Only one transmission is offered on the Wrangler, an eight-speed automatic.
As for the FJ Cruiser, it only comes with just one engine as well, the 4.0-liter 1GR-FE V6. It produces 268 PS along with 380 Nm of torque. The six-cylinder is then saddled to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Thanks to the Bronco being the only one with two engine options, Ford's latest 4x4 can go from mild to wild, depending on customer preference. The Wrangler, on the other hand, does come with a V6 although it is not offered locally. As for the FJ Cruiser, the long-lived 1GR-FE continues to soldier on without the benefit of forced induction.
But what about its off-road capability? Well, all three do come with 4x4 systems that allow them to go over uneven terrain with ease. This means all three have a two-speed transfer case as standard which allows the driver to set the drivetrain to either 4H (4WD High), 4L (4WD Low) as well as 2H (2WD High). Only available on the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco are the front and rear locking differentials, and the ability to disconnect the anti-roll bars for improved wheel articulation should the going get tough. The FJ Cruiser only comes with a rear-locking differential.
So the all-new Bronco appears to be the overall winner of this spec check. With its EcoBoost powertrains, generous water wading capability, and ground clearance, as well as being the biggest of the three, the 2021 Ford Bronco has the numbers to back it up.
But since it's all-new, it has yet to build a reputation amongst 4x4 enthusiasts. Sure, it has the Bronco name, but has the new-generation 4x4 got what it takes to tackle the terrain? Both the Wrangler and the FJ Cruiser have already built a solid reputation and are available in the country. Ford has yet to announce whether they will be offering the Bronco outside the US market, as they are focused on their home market, for now.
With leisure off-roading activities continuing to grow in the country, along with the rise of custom 4x4 rigs, the 2021 Ford Bronco will surely be a worthy addition in the Philippines. The only question now is, will it be offered in the country? And will the Sasquatch Package be offered too?