From a Jeep to a Bronco posted

As soon as Ford announced that they were re-releasing the Bronco, I knew that I wanted one. However, I’d just bought a Jeep that I really enjoyed, so I decided to wait a bit. This would allow the aftermarket to catch up and Ford to shake out any issues within the first couple years of launching. 2024 felt like the model year to go after. The vehicle should be relatively stable, the aftermarket would’ve had a few years to catch up and with any luck, they may launch their anticipated hybrid model along with some other mid-cycle refreshes.

If you’ve been following the rollout of the new Bronco, you know that it's been a shit show. Launching a vehicle during a pandemic and then dealing with the post-pandemic supply chain left folks compromising, overpaying and/or waiting for literal years to get their vehicles. To keep up with demand, Ford had to shut down the Bronco order banks for months.

This March, there was a rumor that order banks would be opening back up for 24 hours on the 27th. My friend, Marcus, hooked me up with a dealer, and he was able to help me get an order in as soon as the banks opened. With the options I wanted, I figured that I’d also be in a queue for months and have a really good chance at a 2024 model year in the fall or something.

I ordered a black, 2 door, twin turbo V6 automatic with the Badlands, Sasquatch, and Lux packages. It had all the goodies I was after like differential lockers, sway bar disconnect, a lift, bigger tires, wider fenders, marine grade vinyl interior, fancy tech, upgraded audio, convenience, etc.

10 days later, I got an email that my vehicle was scheduled for production on May 15th. Wtffff.

This was happening way faster than I was prepared for. I was still trying to catch up from a massive home foundation project and fines from a big tax mishap. The bank accounts were on low, my time was nil, and stress was high. Now, I had to get my Jeep ready to sell, obsess about whether I was making the right move, and research accessories to build up this new toy, hah.

I mean, I could’ve also just canceled my order, but…

Fast forward to May 10th. Ford said they were building my vehicle, 5 days early. Shit was getting real. May 18th, it’s built. May 23rd, it’s at my dealership. I then spent the weekend returning my Jeep to stock-ish, traded it in, and brought a new Bronco home exactly 2 months after ordering it. Wild.

Why I wanted a Bronco

Mainly: Innovation, competition, and it seemingly fitting our needs a little better than the Jeep.

Ford took the modularity of adventure SUVs to another level. They really thought through their accessory mounting points, the ability to customize every panel, etc. They launched with 360 degree cameras, and many other tech features that were absent in my loaded 2020 Rubicon.

I enjoy off-roading, but I spend muuuch more time on pavement and hauling our tiny camper around. Highway miles in a squirrely-ass, solid axle Jeep are fine, and kind of hilariously sketchy… but they’re a little less fun after some hours, especially when hauling a camper - as tiny as it might be.

The Bronco has independent front suspension, a longer wheelbase, almost twice as much towing capacity, and a lot of highway conveniences like adaptive cruise, lane keeping, etc.

Plus, the boxy styling just looks cool and seemed like it might be a nice break from the Jeep wave, rubber duck, tacky accessory reputation.

Don’t get me wrong, the Rubicon was one of the most fun vehicles that I’ve ever owned. I really loved whipping around town in that thing... especially in the winter, and topless in the summer.

It was just time for a change… even if that change came a little faster than I was prepared for, lol.

First impressions and comparisons

Right out of the gate, the Bronco drives and tracks so much better than the Jeep, especially on the highway. But, there‘s absolutely more wind noise, which is unfortunate. The Bronco hardtop kinda feels a little beta in every way. The JL Wrangler hard top is much more sturdy, seals better, unlatches easier, and is much quieter at speed.

The Bronco also feels bigger, which makes sense, because it is, heh. 8” longer and 3” wider… but it feels like a lot.

It’s also much more powerful. The Jeep jumps up and goes off the line, but it’s a dog above like 55mph. You can feel the power across the whole band on the Bronco. I love turbocharged engines so much.

The audio system in my package (bang and olufsen) has gotten a lot of flack on the internets, but it’s far better than the stereo in my Rubicon, which also had the upgraded sound system. Wireless CarPlay is also really great. No fumbling with cables, just get in and shit’s ready to go.

Overall, the bronco kinda feels like mixing the niceties of Kari’s Range Rover with the fun and capability of the Rubicon.

Where the Bronco shines above the Rubicon:

  • Ride quality
  • Interior comfort
  • Stereo quality
  • Wireless CarPlay
  • Adaptive cruise with lane keeping
  • 360 degree cameras with front and rear parking sensors
  • Power
  • Towing capacity
  • Modularity
  • Cargo space
  • Lighting (convenience, ambient, etc)
  • The frameless doors offer much better side visibility and are less in the way when getting in/out, going topless, etc.
  • Less carpet/fabric means better weather resistance and less stuff for dog hair to get stuck in
  • The Ford mobile remote app is free. Jeep’s is subscription based
  • The addition of auto 4WD will be welcome in the winter
  • The wife likes driving it much more than the Jeep

Places the Bronco falls short of my Rubicon:

  • Tunability is way simpler on the Jeep with modules like the Tazer Mini. I gotta buy a windows computer and a dongle to start flipping bits on the Ford.
  • No rear climate control. wtf?
  • The rear seats are a pain in the ass to remove and don’t fold flat
  • Wind noise is significantly worse
  • Removing the doors is a little more involved and kinda looks weird when they’re off anyway
  • Off-road articulation isn’t quite as good
  • General fit and finish, especially on the interior, isn't quite as good as the more established Wrangler platform
  • The instrument cluster feels a bit slapped together with the single analog speedometer, and small, weirdly placed screen
  • Ford didn’t fully think through winch mounts with the locations of adaptive cruise sensors and cameras
  • I actually really enjoyed Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system. It’s full featured, simple, stable, themed well, and doesn’t feel like a damned Microsoft product

First mods and plans

After the pinstriping and scratches that we endured on a recent trip to the Ozark National Forest, I decided to bite the bullet and immediately do a full XPEL paint protection wrap… and I had the front windows tinted while I was at it. 💸💸💸

Then, I deleted the whip antenna and moved my ditch lights over from the Jeep.

After that, my plans are:

  • Steps / rock sliders / door ding preventers - if I can ever decide on a set
  • Hard top lift
  • Sun shade (the vinyl seats get pretty warm in the sun)
  • Fog light array from Baja Designs
  • Black out emblems
  • Leveling kit
  • Wheels/tires - if I can ever decide on some
  • Rear seat delete + flat platform for the pup
  • Tailgate reinforcement with some modularity to mount other accessories
  • Tailgate/cargo molle / storage for fire extinguisher, first aid, recovery stuffs
  • Winch - as soon as I can find a mount for the modular front bumper
  • Rear bumper
  • Forscan tunes
  • DC to DC charger for the camper

Wishlist of things that I will probably never do:

  • Wide body fenders from ADV Fiberglass
  • Headlights from Morimoto
  • Raptor Grille
  • Light bar / array on the bumper or roof - I would almost never use it, but they sure look awesome

Ford, and the aftermarket still have some things to work out, but overall, this Bronco feels like a pretty big upgrade from the Jeep - at least in the ways that we use it. I'm excited to finish building it out the way I want it and see how it does when pulling the camper. We're halfway through the 1,000 mile break-in period, and then we can start hauling things!

Tags: Auto, Bronco, Jeep

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