By on May 11, 2021

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]

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22 Comments on “Report: 2021 Ford Bronco Fuel Economy Ratings Revealed...”

  • avatar

    They are within 10% of each other, maybe less depending on rounding. Both are aerodynamically bricks. I doubt that will be a determining factor for buyers.

    What would be interesting is a real world on-road and off-road capability comparison. I’m also interested to see how they handle while towing a load. If I recall correctly, motortrend found the Jeep gladiator downright dangerous to drive while at full tow. (I’m assuming the regular JLU has similar towing characteristics)

    • 0 avatar

      On the towing, a number of other sites have done towing tests and didn’t have those issues. So something may have been wrong in set up on that trailer for MotorTrend. TFL has done the Ike gauntlet, etc.

  • avatar

    Those fuel economy rating are disappointing, and everyone knows that “real world “ fuel consumption is worst than industry estimates

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know that. I’ve never had “real world” fuel consumption that wasn’t better than EPA estimates. That includes pre-2008 EPA estimates. Then again, it’s mostly been Fords.

    • 0 avatar

      Any ICE vehicle has much worse fuel economy than corresponding EV. I suggest to buy Tesla next time or if you need offroad capability – Hummer.

    • 0 avatar

      Is fuel economy a deal breaker? If hordes of pre-orders are now being cancelled then I have a chance to purchase a Bronco at reasonable cost. Darn Bronco’s are sold out for first model year production!

    • 0 avatar

      If you use your Bronco Box as if it were some autobahn sled, the fuel economy may well be worse than EPA. But if you back off speed a bit compared to EPA’s highway test, you’ll gain mileage. And such boxy vehicles aren’t really designed for sustained high speed use, so it’s a bit pointless to buy it for such. Doubly so then be surprised and disappointed by it.

  • avatar

    So the tiny four cylinder gets only slightly better mileage than an Expedition and the tiny V6 gets very slightly better mileage than a proper V8 powered Suburban.

    Clearly the new Bronco II was someone’s high school senior project. These numbers are horrendous.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    What do you expect when you put a turbo 4 and 6 in a 4×4 off road vehicle. Bronco is heavy and is not designed to be a fuel sipper. Same is true with a 4×4 Ranger with a turbo 2.3. I doubt most buyers of these types of vehicles are as concerned about mpgs otherwise they would buy a subcompact car.

  • avatar

    If one is going to make comparisons then one needs to look at gear ratio’s and tire sizes. A 4 cylinder Jeep with bicycle sized stock wheels is going to fair better than a Bronco on 33’s.

    I saw a drop in MPG when I transitioned from stock GoodYear Wrangler SR-A’s which are the standard domestic pickup tire. A 10 ply all terrain or mud terrain yielded around a 12-15% drop. It was worth the penalty for a more solid ride, less flats and better winter and off-road grip.

  • avatar

    I don’t care that it sucks gas but the 16 gallon tank on the SWB is an appalling oversight. You’ll be gassing up every other time you take it out.

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    The Jeep 3.6 V6 makes a wheezy 285hp & just 260 lb-ft of torque.

    The Broncos 2.7L V6 makes 310hp & a massive 400 lb-ft of torque.

    Factor in the larger 33″ tires and off-road goodies that the Sasquatch has and you shouldn’t be surprised it has lower mpg.

    I think it’s a fair trade off for what you get.

    • 0 avatar

      Why not compare it to the diesel wrangler? You know…one forced induction engine to another?

      442 foot pounds versus 400 for the Bronco II (on premium fuel) all while returning over 35% better fuel economy (over 47% with non Rubicon models).

      Oh and the diesel fuel tank is 21.5 gallons vs 16 for the Bronco II (over 34% smaller) so you have a combined range of almost 500 miles in the Wrangler Rubicon vs 272 miles in the Bronco II.

      Anybody with an ounce of common sense would buy the Wrangler. Far more reliable, better infotainment, better looking, better drivetrains, far better aftermarket support, etc. all while avoiding Ford’s notorious absence of quality.

      • 0 avatar

        The diesel Jeep has a smaller fuel tank to make room for the DEF tank.

        As far as reliability goes, the Bronco is too new to accurately make any fact based judgements. The Wrangler is well known to have multiple issues but has a massive aftermarket.

  • avatar

    I didn’t expect good EPA numbers, and I’m still a little surprised at the official ratings. A year ago I would have called it a non-issue, but the gasoline market looks a lot different now. I suspect consumer uneasiness will lead to some canceled reservations. On a positive note, some buyers won’t have to wait as long for their Broncos, and Jeep is dealing with the same gasoline market, and doing so with inferior powertrains.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s terrible fuel economy and range. In day to day use, that could become tiring.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the info on the Ranger… I am considering one but also waiting for Santa Cruz MPG to be released. I’m pretty sure the Santa Cruz even with AWD will get better mileage then a 2WD 4 door Ranger. My current V8 Dakota Quad Cab is rated at 13/18 but while towing its gets like 11 MPG.

  • avatar

    My next question would be, is it Premium or Regular?

    And then this… This car being so heavy and metal price shooting up. How much it will affect the price here?

  • avatar

    That is a bit disappointing. The 4cyl in particular seems worse than I would expect.
    For comparison.
    Combined MPG
    Suburban Diesel 23MPG
    Bronco sport 26MPG
    GMC Acadia 24 MPG
    Durango penta star 21 MPG
    2.7 F150 22MPG
    Penatastar Ram 22MPG

    Looking closely the combined isn’t horrible it’s more the highway mileage that stands out.

  • avatar

    It’s about the same as a Defender I think.

  • avatar

    > 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.

    7 speed manual. 10 speed auto.

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