The 1988 Ford Bronco XLT Was a Surprisingly Good Truck

With a new Bronco finally on its way, it's a great time to revisit its near-30-year-old predecessor.

Ford

The Ford Bronco got an update for 1987, but its bones dated back to the 1980 model. It didn't show its age though. Back in 1988, MotorWeek found the Bronco XLT to be a surprisingly comfortable, nice handling daily-driver despite its aging, utilitarian platform. The 1988 Bronco wasn't a full-on luxury off-roader like the contemporary Range Rover, but it was better than its US and Japanese 4x4 competition.

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MotorWeek was impressed with the Bronco's optional 5.0-liter V8, its rear-wheel ABS brakes, and its stable handling. Watching this tall, heavy 4x4 on a slalom course is funny, but its steering feel, and controlled body roll were praised. It was also good off-road, and MotorWeek liked the fact that locking wheel hubs came standard.

The Bronco XLT's red velour interior was nice too, but MotorWeek found a handful ergonomic failings and low-rent materials. Back seat space was tiny, though that did mean the Bronco had a big trunk.

Naturally, this old review has us excited for the upcoming 2020 Bronco. We hope the new model offers this 1988's rugged simplicity and an affordable price.

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