The 1988 Ford Bronco Was All About Off-Road Simplicity, Not Luxury

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Leather seats? Are you joking?

Before automakers realized just how profitable luxury SUVs can be, SUVs like the 1988 Ford Bronco XLT relished in simplicity, if not outright cheapness at times. This latest Motor Week Retro Reviews brings us back to a time before O.J. Simpson made the Bronco somewhat infamous in 1994. A time when SUVs were built for those who actually did things like towing and off-roading instead of using them as a status symbol. Based on this old review, the 1988 Bronco XLT was pretty basic, even though it was a higher upgrade package.

Powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with 180 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, it's clear Ford knew exactly who would be buying this thing, given that large amount of torque. The interior was pretty cheap, actually. Not all of the plastics were of high quality. Leather seats? Are you kidding?

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This thing was about as utilitarian as one could get at the time, save for the even more ancient Chevy Blazer. And you know what? That worked just fine. This old Bronco, like its predecessors, was a true SUV with absolutely no appeal to those seeking a luxury vehicle. Of course that would all soon change with the arrival of the smaller Explorer a few short years later. Today, SUVs, namely luxury SUVs, are huge money-makers. Just look at present day Land Rover. But watching this old Bronco review does get us excited for the upcoming 2020 Bronco revival. Obviously it won't be as Spartan as this one, but at least it'll return to its off-roading roots.

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