This truck doesn't receive the credit it deserves. Any online review you read bashes its dated design and powertrain. But they never take the time to think of why.The Ranger works! It has to be one of the most reliable trucks out there, and its design is tried and true. I've owned two, a 93' XLT 4X4 fully equiped standard cab 4.0, and my current 04' XL 4X2 standard cab 3.0 5spd. Both were well built, rugged, and fun to drive. I beat up my mostly stock 93' and only broke a radiator mount (which was rusted anyway). The only thing I wish is that the Ranger had more support from aftermarket companies. The truck has a lot of performance potential, it just needs more people to notice.
I love the feedback I get from the steering in my 04', and the 5spd manual is geared very well. I love the Rangers simplicity. It has a lot of performance potential, but there is so few aftermarket parts for it. However, with a little effort and mechanical know how, you can make anything work.
The Ranger is a great canvas for sport truck, muscle truck, and off roaders alike. Take a look at the right starting canvas and let your mind wander a bit. With a little imagination you can see where the Rangers potential lies. I can't suggest anything for this truck, it works, give it a chance.