The Ford Bronco
's smaller, short-lived sibling, the Bronco II was released in 1984
. The Bronco II provided many of the desirable features found in the full sized Bronco in a smaller, more economical
Built on Ford's Ranger pickup truck platform, the Bronco II was something of a return to the popular small, pre-1978 Broncos. Besides the truck's high, boxy shape, there were several key differences between the Bronco II and its predecessors. Like the early Broncos, the Bronco II was available with a 4 cylinder engine; however, 4-wheel drive was not an option with this engine size. This exclusion, coupled with the fact that V8 engines were not offered, led some Bronco enthusiasts to believe that Ford had ignored the offroading community during the design process. Another major difference was the absence of the removable hardtop that many Bronco owners so loved. Despite its departure from previous Bronco models, the Bronco II sold well.
Although it is not unusual to see a Bronco II with 200,000 miles or more, many engine components will need replacing at 100,000 miles or less. It must be remembered that the Bronco II was essentially a prototype for the Ford Explorer; therefore, it does not have the same quality found in either the Explorer or Bronco. The electronic 4-wheel drive transfer cases found on later Bronco IIs, then a new development, are often tempermental. Introduced in the 1989-90 model years, these transfer cases tended to short out fairly quickly and are often found in nonworking condition today. Also, the stock transmissions in Bronco IIs are known for their spotty reliability. These problems, together with other "nickel and dime" flaws that can occur with Bronco IIs, have given the truck a reputation as a lemon in some circles. Many longtime Bronco II owners, however, report that their trucks are quite reliable and require surprisingly little maintenance.
Despite only being manufactured from 1984 to 1990, the Bronco II has an impressive following today. Bronco IIs are fairly easy to find on used car lots, with the 4-wheel drive V6 model being the most common. However, a great deal of searching will be needed to find a defect-free Bronco II with low miles. A legacy of durability and a devoted fanbase have kept the Bronco II a common sight both on and off the road, 14 years after the last truck rolled off the assembly line.