When you are shopping for a smaller sized SUV that’s made for excitement and adventure, two names stand out: the Ford Bronco Sport and the Jeep Wrangler. Whether in town driving or off-roading, sightseeing or thrill seeking, both of these SUVs have so much to offer. So, which of these rugged vehicles are truly the best of the best?
Quick Specs Comparison
- MSRP Price: Bronco Sport starting at $28,165 | Wrangler starting at $33,990
- Seating Capacity: Bronco Sport offers seating for 5 | Wrangler offers seating for 4 (2-door version) or 5 (4-door version)
- MPG: Bronco Sport estimated 25/28 mpg City/Hwy | Wrangler estimated 17/23 mpg City/Hwy
- Engine: Bronco Sport has a181-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter 3-cylinder with 8-speed automatic transmission with options to upgrade | Wrangler has a 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission with options to upgrade
- Cargo Space: Bronco Sport fits 65.2 cu. ft. of cargo | Jeep Wrangler fits 72.4 cu. ft. of cargo (in the 4-door version)
- Safety: The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport received a 5 star overall NHTSA safety rating and was a top safety pick for IIHS | The 2022 Jeep Wrangler has not yet received an overall NHTSA rating but has scored 4/5 in several individual safety tests
In safety ratings, there is a clear winner between the Ford Bronco Sport and the Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco Sport has received the highest ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Additionally, the Bronco Sport is also outfitted with the Ford Co-Pilot360 driver assistance technology on all trims which includes such things as forward-collision warnings, roll stability control, and automated emergency braking. Optional add-ons can take it even further with such features as a front 180-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, rear sensors, and more.
Sadly, the Jeep Wrangler lags behind in safety. While it has not received an overall safety rating from the NHTSA yet, it received only 3 out of 5 stars for rollover tests and 4 out of 5 for frontal crash tests. Furthermore, in IIHS tests, it was found that the rear passenger head protection was insufficient.
While the Wrangler does not feature as many driver assistance technology aids as other vehicles in its price range, there are still some key features that can be add-on possibilities. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, and more can all be options added to your Wrangler to help keep you safe out there.
Fun and Adventure Capabilities in the Bronco Sport
Let’s face it, most people looking at these types of vehicles do so because they want adventure! So, how do the Bronco Sport and Wrangler compare when it comes to entertaining and off-roading capabilities?
The 2022 Ford Bronco Sport is strategically designed for fun. From a cargo hold that can be outfitted with a slide-out table, to a rear gate with a built-in bottle opener, it’s all ready to go tailgating. The roof actually slopes upward toward the rear to give more room in the cargo area, as opposed to most vehicles which style their roofline to curve down. This not only looks great but offers a little extra room so you can store 2 mountain bikes upright, easily.
With a 4x4 drivetrain and optional advanced 4x4 with twin-clutch rear drive (available on the Badlands trim) you can have traction and grip wherever you go. Ford also boasts a standard G.O.A.T. mode which, much like its animal name suggests, stands for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain. Combine that with the 8.8 inches of ground clearance and the available off-road tires, and you are free to explore.
Fun and Adventure Capabilities in the Wrangler
The Jeep name is essentially synonymous with off-roading and adventure. With the ability to remove the roof, doors, and windows, you can feel the freedom of the open air as you drive across the dunes. Don’t want to lose the doors and roof entirely? You can choose the available options of having half doors or a Sunrider added to your hardtop to give you a partial convertible. Really, there are numerous options available to customize the Wrangler however you like to experience the wind in your hair.
Going off-roading? No problems here. A massive 12.9 inches of ground clearance and the Jeep brand’s perfected axle articulation keeps your wheels on the ground when climbing over obstacles in your path. Combined with a water fording depth of 33.6 inches, you can easily cut across rivers and streams to find that perfect campsite. They even boast a Corning Gorilla Glass windshield as an available upgrade to keep your windshield protected from cracks caused by the pesky off-road debris.
Power and Performance
Often when heading out for escapades you may need to tow some more toys as well. Both the Bronco Sport and the Wrangler are able to handle this easily. Ford’s Bronco Sport can tow between 2000 and 2200 pounds while the Wrangler boasts a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds on its 2-door models and 3,500 pounds for its 4-door.
As far as engine power goes, the Bronco Sport is a bit pokier with its 3-cylinder engine versus the powerful V6 engine the Wrangler features. However, the Bronco Sport makes up for this with better fuel economy than the Wrangler.
Comforts and Style
These SUVs aren’t just for getting out of town though. Driving around the city, or dare I say even being stuck in traffic, should still be just as enjoyable.
The Ford Bronco Sport understands this well. Coming standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen that can include the Ford Sync 3 software with voice commands and touch screen controls, it is outfitted with technology to make the trip fun. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard here, and it is optimized to work smoothly with the free FordPass app. A B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen option can turn your SUV into a concert hall with 10 speakers and a subwoofer.
As stated above, the Jeep Wrangler absolutely wins in having the most options to let the breeze in or view the starry night sky. Additionally, it has a Uconnect infotainment interface that is easy to use with a touchscreen display available in three sizes. Unfortunately, many features standard to the Bronco Sport are only optional here, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Both vehicles have options to purchase plans that can make your SUV a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 50-feet from the vehicle, allowing you to stay connected wherever adventure takes you.
Looking at style, the Bronco Sport and Wrangler actually have very different appearances. The Bronco Sport has a very modern and sleek design, with the back end styled to give great visibility and additional cargo room. Offered in 11 colors, including a vivid Velocity Blue, it is a magnificent and modern looking vehicle.
Jeep continues with its classic look that is easily recognizable and which they have perfected over the years. Also offering up to 11 different exterior colors (depending on which trim you choose, these may be more limited), the Wrangler is truly beautiful.
So…Ford Bronco Sport or the Jeep Wrangler?
While both the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport and the Jeep Wrangler offer some great features for taking your journeys further, the Bronco Sport is a clear winner here. The multitude of safety features and its safety ratings would naturally push this over the top. Then, when you also take into consideration the technology, comfort, and added features (I mean, come on, they even have a bottle opener built in!) it really shines. Additionally, the price point of the Wrangler can jump dramatically once you start adding in features (many of which are standard on the Bronco Sport). If I had to choose, I would absolutely go with the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport.