The Ford Bronco is a classic vehicle loved by many enthusiasts and consumers. Ford stopped production of the Bronco in 1996, leaving a hole in the automotive market for durable off-roading SUVs. But with the release of a new Ford Bronco in 2021, many customers are curious about what they should know about this beloved SUV.
The 2022 Ford Bronco includes models with 7-speed manual and 10-speed automatic transmissions. When it comes to older models, the best ones include those from 1974, 1979, 1992, and 2021. Many owners claim Bronco models in the ’80s were lower quality, especially those from 1980, 1984, and 1989.
There’s a lot to consider before purchasing a new (or used) vehicle, especially if you’re considering a model with a long history like the Ford Bronco. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Ford Bronco, including which transmissions are available, the best models, and the models you should avoid.
Is a Ford Bronco a Stick Shift?
Old Ford Broncos included standard 3-speed transmissions, and most models had a manual gearbox.
The 2022 Ford Bronco offers consumers a seven-speed manual transmission with the Sasquatch Package. The transmission is sourced from Getrag and is the third manual vehicle in Ford’s current lineup.
The Sasquatch Package includes six standard gears and one crawler gear. The crawler gear is quite impressive when paired with the enhanced four-wheel-drive system.
With the manual gearbox, the Ford Bronco can travel around 80 mph in top gear while the engine spins at 2,400 rpm.
Do They Make Automatic Ford Broncos?
Although most of the original Ford Broncos included manual transmissions, you can still find first-generation models and newer ones with automatic transmission systems. For instance, the 2021-2022 Ford Bronco includes automatic models.
The 2021 Ford Bronco Out Banks, Wildtrack, and First Edition models include a 10-speed automatic transmission system with Trail Control.
The Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, and Badlands Ford Bronco models include a 7-speed manual transmission.
What’s the Best Bronco Model Year to Buy?
The Ford Bronco was originally released in 1966 as the first generation compact SUV with different body style configurations. The Bronco is unique because only a limited number of vehicles are released each year.
Although the best year will depend on personal preference, each model has advantages, disadvantages, and unique features.
1974 Ford Bronco
One of the best overall Ford Bronco models is the 1974 edition. The 1974 Ford Bronco was widely popular as an off-road vehicle thanks to the robust 5.0L V8 engine with automatic transmission.
The 1974 model came in three trim options, including sport, ranger, and explorer. Most of the 1974 models included a 302 CID V8 engine with 125 horsepower at 3,400 RPM.
With 243 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 RPM, the 1974 Ford Bronco was a versatile and effective off-roading vehicle.
1992 Ford Bronco
One of the best models for daily driving is the iconic 1992 Ford Bronco. The vehicle was renowned for its robust design, toughness, and off-roading capability. The 1992 Ford Bronco is a long-lasting option, as many drivers claim over 200,000 miles without significant issues.
The 3-door full-size SUV offered a different body style and came in automatic or manual transmission. The 1992 model also included safety improvements with anti-lock braking and airbags.
The 1992 Bronco doesn’t have the same collector value as older models, but the reliability is hard to beat.
1979 Ford Bronco
If you’re looking for a durable model that doesn’t compromise design, consider the 1979 Ford Bronco. The full-size 3-door SUV included a valve body, which allowed it to use unleaded gasoline or diesel fuel without sacrificing performance.
The body size and chassis of the 1979 Bronco increased, making it substantially more powerful on the road. However, the handling and robust power provided the 1979 model with off-roading capability and longevity for daily use.
Which Ford Bronco Years Should You Avoid?
The Ford Bronco was in production from 1966 to 1996 and then stopped until recently. Although the Bronco has a positive reputation, some models are better than others.
1989 Ford Bronco
Many consumers claim the 1989 Ford Bronco is the worst out of all the generations. Owners claim the 1989 model had engine issues and a bad ignition, which aren’t cheap problems to fix.
The ignition module typically starts to malfunction at around 100,000 miles in the 1989 model.
This can result in electrical issues, overheating, smoke, and fire hazards. Ignition issues lead the 1989 Bronco to break down faster, meaning more frequent maintenance expenses.
1991 Ford Bronco
Another year you might avoid is the 1991 Ford Bronco. The 1991 models had issues with the transmission, causing the vehicle to lose power while driving and endangering countless lives.
The 1991 Bronco typically encountered transmission issues around the 100,000-mile range. The first symptoms of the issues include rough shifting or debris in the transmission fluid. Unfortunately, transmissions must be rebuilt or replaced, which aren’t cheap fixes.
1984 Ford Bronco II
The 1984 Ford Bronco II originally received positive reviews when it first hit the market. Unfortunately, owners started to criticize the Bronco II because of stability issues that caused it to tip over frequently.
At low speed, the 1984 Bronco II had a high risk of tipping over. Ford also had to pay over $2.4 billion on settlements from the issue. For those reasons, it might be best to avoid the 1984 Ford Bronco II.
1980 Ford Bronco
Many owners suggest that Ford Bronco models in the ’80s are best to avoid, including the 1980 Ford Bronco. Although Ford enhanced fuel efficiency in the 1980 model, they included an underpowered engine that frequently failed.
The 1980 Ford Bronco encountered problems with the carburetors supplying fuel to the engine, resulting in countless issues.
Although it isn’t the worst model, the 1980 Ford Bronco can encounter engine problems, fickle carburetors, and poor drivability.