I bought a V8 XLT with the sport package brand new. Tows my 17' boat like it is not even back there. No real problems to speak of, except maybe poor quality of Ford service departments. The engine and transmission have been rock solid. I had some problems early on with the windshield wipers having a mind of there own. I also had the front ball joints go out at 50K. Everything fixed under (extended) warranty. At the rate I'm going, I don't think I'll get my money back (in repairs) for the extended warranty. All in all I have no regrets.
V8, 255 x 70 x 16 Michelin LTX tires, and auto headlights with auto dimming rearview mirror (best $87 I ever spent).
I think Ford hit all my suggestions with the latest model, except the load floor on the '06's should be completely flat (not almost flat).