As the 2021 Ford Bronco crawls closer to launch, enthusiasts and the automotive media continue to look for any relevant information related to the Bronco. It is the most anticipated vehicle launch of the year, and we all want to drive it now. While we won’t have the opportunity to drive the Bronco today, we do have Bronco news. Both Full Size Bronco and Bronco Nation have fuel-economy numbers for the 2021 Ford Bronco, and they aren’t great.
I doubt anyone thought that the Bronco would be a fuel economy star, but some of the ratings are well below the Jeep Wrangler. The most fuel-efficient version of the 2021 Ford Bronco is powered by the 2.3-liter four-cylinder. The Base, Big Bend, and Outer Banks trims will receive a fuel economy rating of 20 city/22 highway/21 combined.
The much-hyped Sasquatch-package-equipped Bronco will feature a 17 city/17 highway/17 combined rating when equipped with the 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6. With the smaller gas tank on the 2-door, that gives the Bronco Sasquatch a range of around 290 miles. In Canada, the 2.7-liter Sasquatch is rated at 13.9 L/100 km combined, and the 2.3-liter with an automatic is rated at 11.2 L/100 km combined.
The Bronco’s biggest and most direct competition, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler, outperforms the Bronco on the EPA’s treadmills. The most fuel-efficient gas-powered Wrangler is the 2-door with the 8-speed automatic transmission and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It features a rating of 22 city/24 highway/23 combined. The least efficient, non-V8 equipped, Wrangler is the 3.6-liter powered 4-door with a 6-speed manual transmission. It is rated at 17 city/23 highway/19 combined.
So how could a newer vehicle, with two extra gears, and two fewer cylinders perform the same or worse on fuel economy testing? One of the biggest reasons could be weight. A four-door Jeep Wrangler Sahara has a curb weight of 4,263 pounds. The lightest Bronco, the Base 2-door with the 7-speed manual transmission, weighs 23 pounds more than that. The closest comparison to the Wrangler Sahara is the Bronco Outer Banks. The 4-door version with the 2.7-liter V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission weighs 4,558 pounds. And that isn’t even the heaviest Bronco.
Aerodynamics could also be part of the answer. While both the Wrangler and Bronco are relatively boxy, the Bronco is quite brick-ish in shape.
The other reason the Bronco seems to have lower fuel economy ratings is that options like 33-inch and 35-inch tires don’t come without a downside. The Sasquatch-equipped Bronco features more armor, bigger wheels, and a different suspension than other Broncos. Those purchasing a Bronco Sasquatch probably don’t care much about fuel economy. The ratings are in line with other off-road-focused vehicles like the Ford Raptor or lifted Wranglers. It is important to note that Jeep does not currently offer a Wrangler that directly competes with the Bronco Sasquatch.
Still, I am slightly disappointed that a new vehicle with a four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission can barely crack twenty miles per gallon.
I shouldn’t be surprised though. My own daily driver is a 2019 Ford Ranger XLT 4×4. The current fuel economy number on the dash sits at 18.7 miles per gallon. I rarely see anything above 20 miles per gallon on a drive. I’m hopeful that the Bronco equipped with the 7-speed automatic will beat EPA estimates in the real world, but I wouldn’t put money on it. It’s still a 4,300-pound brick that will have 33-inch tires and the top removed. I guess I’ll have to bank on smiles per gallon.
[Image © 2021 Adam Tonge/TTAC]