We love a good rivalry: Yankees vs. Red Sox, Michigan vs. Ohio State, Coke vs. Pepsi, and they’re especially exciting between automakers. When Jeep announced the V-8–powered Wrangler Rubicon 392 concept the day before the 2021 Ford Bronco’s reveal, we immediately started daydreaming about Ford fighting back with a burly eight-cylinder Bronco. However, one can only dream of this battle, because the Bronco’s chief engineer, Eric Loeffler, said that Ford won’t ever put a V-8 in the new Bronco.
Even if Ford wanted to put, say, the 5.0-liter V-8 in the Bronco, emissions regulations wouldn’t allow it Loeffler says, and Ford is also confident that the the Bronco’s existing engine options will satisfy customers’ needs. Currently, the Bronco can be had with either a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four that’s projected to produce 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque or an optional twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 that’ll make 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. There are also rumors of a more capable Bronco Raptor, which, like the F-150 Raptor, could use a more powerful EcoBoost V-6, and Ford has confirmed that, as with the Wrangler, there will be a hybrid powertrain as well.
The Bronco and the Jeep Wrangler will go head to head both on and off the road, and the Bronco already has some factory equipment that topples Jeep’s hard-core Rubicons. The Bronco’s available off-road-focused Sasquatch package adds 35-inch mud-terrain tires, a 1.2-inch lift, larger fender flares (to fit the big tires), heavy-duty Bilstein dampers, and more. However, the Wrangler could be getting a 450-hp 6.4-liter V-8 option pretty soon, as in the aforementioned Wrangler Rubicon 392 concept, which we’ve seen testing on the road.
The 2021 Ford Bronco hasn’t even reached customers yet, and it won’t until next year. It starts at $29,995 for the base two-door model and $34,695 for the four door.
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