The Ford Bronco II was a compact SUV introduced in 1984, largely in response to GM's successful Chevrolet S10 Blazer compact SUV that was introduced for 1983. The Bronco II was naturally based on the compact Ranger pickup and largely resembled its larger Bronco SUV brother (which stood to reason, since the Ranger strongly resembled the larger F-150 pickup that the Bronco was based on). The Bronco II also shared the Ranger's dashboard layout and most of its drivetrain options in addition to its other standard features. Some have considered the Bronco II to be at least a spiritual successor to the 1966-1977 Bronco, since they were very dimensionally similar, but the Bronco II doesn't quite share the cult-following that the original Bronco did (and still does). Although the Bronco II was a good seller, it was not without controversy (see separate report below). The Bronco II would last 2 generations before being replaced by the staggeringly successful Explorer in 1991.

Here's a quick rundown:

Ford Bronco II
Ford Motor Company
Production 1984-1988
Class Compact SUV
Body Style 3-Door Wagon
Length 158.3"
Width 68"
Height 68.2"
Wheelbase 94"
Weight 3000-3400 lbs
Transmission 4-Speed Manual, RWD/4WD
5-Speed Manual, RWD/4WD
3-Speed Automatic, RWD/4WD
4-Speed Automatic, RWD/4WD
Engine 2.8L (171 cid) V6 (1984-1985)
2.9L (176 cid) V6 (1986-1988)
Power 115-140 hp

1st Generation (1984-1988)Edit

The Ford Bronco II came along at exactly the right time as the compact SUV craze was just starting to take off. The new compact XJ Jeep Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner were also introduced this year, with the Chevrolet S10 Blazer and GMC S15 Jimmy a year earlier. At a diminutive 94" wheelbase (shorter than an Escort's), the Bronco II was a bit smaller than its rivals, but some considered that quality a plus instead of a negative. A 3-door wagon bodystyle was the only one offered. Unlike its Jeep, GM and Toyota competition, the Bronco II would not offer a four-cylinder engine, even in its base models. The German-built 115 hp 2.8L (171 cid) V6 was the only engine available, with either a 4- or 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission, and could be had in either 2- or 4-wheel drive. Base, XL, sporty XLS and top-of-the-line XLT models were available, and even the base models had full instrumentation with an optional tachometer. A small number of XLTs had the Eddie Bauer trim package, outfitted with premium accessories, high quality upholstery, and special Eddie Bauer badging including stitching in most seats. 1985 Bronco IIs had virtually no change other than a couple of new colors and some interior trim revisions. In 1986, the 2.8 V6 was dropped in favor of a slightly enlarged 140 hp 2.9L (176 cid) V6 (also German-built) and gained fuel injection. A 4-speed automatic transmission could now be had, and the base 4-speed manual transmission was dropped. 1987 and 1988 models continued on with little change other than more color-shuffling. The Ranger would be redesigned in 1989, so that consequently meant that the Bronco II would follow suit.

Ford Bronco II
Ford Motor Company
Production 1989-1990
Class Compact SUV
Body Style 3-Door Wagon
Length 161.9"
Width 68"
Height 69.9" (2WD)
70.4" (4WD)
Wheelbase 94"
Weight 3000-3400 lbs
Transmission 5-Speed Manual, RWD/4WD
4-Speed Automatic, RWD/4WD
Engine 2.9L (176 cid) V6
Power 140 hp

2nd Generation (1989-1990)Edit

The 2nd gen Bronco II would be short-lived, lasting only 2 years (actually, only a year and a half). Sales had started to plummet after word of the truck's supposed tendency to roll over in certain conditions got out in the media (the Suzuki Samurai and Jeep CJ-series, among others, would garner a similar reputation, deserved or not). Nonetheless, the Bronco II was again based on the Ranger, and differed from the previous generation by offering dual composite headlights, an all-new dashboard and a slightly longer and taller body than before, although the wheelbase length remained the same. Base engine was still the 2.9 V6 with either the 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Base, XL, XLS and XLT models continued, the latter still being available with the top-of-the-line Eddie Bauer package. There were no changes to the 1990 model as it was cancelled mid-year in favor of the all-new (and far more successful) Explorer as an early 1991 model.


Safety ControversyEdit

The following information was contributed from Wikipedia.

The Bronco II was dogged by reports that it was prone to rollovers. Some of the headlines in 1989-90 included "NHTSA Investigates Bronco II Rollovers," Automotive News (3/20/89) "Magazine Gives Ford's Bronco II 'Avoid' Rating," Wall Street Journal (5/8/89), and "Consumer Reports Criticizes Ford Bronco II's Handling," Washington Post (5/18/89)

After analysis of SUV crashes of the Suzuki Samurai, the NHTSA opened a formal study of the Ford Bronco II in 1989. There were 43 Bronco II rollover fatalities in 1987, compared with eight for the Samurai, but accident data in four states showed the Bronco II’s rollover rate was similar to that of other SUVs, so the investigation was closed. NHTSA declined to reopen the investigation in 1997 after more Bronco II crashes. SUVs in general tend to higher higher centers of gravity compared with passenger cars, and most come with owner warnings today, but there is little conclusive evidence that the Bronco II is much different from other SUVs in this respect.

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