Sparkly rims,and a bright red paint job. I purchased a Leer canopy for it and mounted Thule bike and kayak racks on the top. I can take it anywhere. I sleep in the back and go kayaking or biking the next day. At 27 mpg and a zippy little engine that gets me over those high mountain passes with ease, I have no complaints. AC works great and sound system is just fine. Seats are comfy and interior attractive. Yes you could buy a more expensive truck but for the price and reliability it doesnt get much better than this.
I have had the Ranger for 8 years, and it has NEVER been in the shop. 1 set of brakes and 1 set of tires. Regular maintenance. Driven from CA to TN 4 times. CA to AZ countless times, towing 2 waverunners. Last week, the heater controll valve broke, but that's the only problem ever. Interior/exterior still looks new, except for someone backing into it 2 weeks ago. New complete rear bumper/Taillights ($260). In body shop next week (minor damage). Still gets 26 mpg on the hwy. Not a luxury car, but it's one of the best vehicles I've owned. Thought about selling it, but love it too much. Going to add custom upgrades and drive it for another 8 yrs. See the rest of post for more info.
Planned additions: Crown Suspension Kit w/gas shocks, 17" Mustang GT wheels w/225x50x17 tires, Cold air intake, front/rear Roush Racing sway bars, TransGO AT shift kit (smoother/positive shifts), cat back exhaust, after market cruise control (did not come equipped from factory), new bed liner.
Bought this vehicle. Saw the handwriting on the wall that gasoline was going through the roof. Mileage is 24/29 exactly as spec. Clutch pedal stiff and squeaks, no resolution, aftermarket dealer installed A/C problems resolved. window cranks squeak big time, no resolution, Rear leaf spring out of alignment, resolved. The 4 banger lacks a little here in NM, with hills and all but it's fine. Installed an Astro bed topper and the handling was much improved, and it looks great and matched the white almost perfectly. After the various bugs, a good set of Continental SUV tires, the thing is doing exactly as expected. You get what you pay for!
I wanted to give an update after owing the Ranger for 3 years. I am even more impressed with this little truck than earlier. Mileage is still great for a truck (4cyl,5spd) I still have the original tires. No squeaks or rattles, and it is a truck. Moved from Austin to DFW with a full load and a trailer load behind. Probably 2000lbs total. I thought it would be a slow 4th gear go. Not a bit of it. Got out on I35, shifted up to 5th gear and away we went. I love this truck. I have met several owners that have owned more than one and now I know why.
This is the little truck that can do it all and get good mileage doing it.
I bought my truck to serve as a "chore" vehicle so I could quit carrying things back from Home Depot in the car. I bought it from one of the Ford special sales for $10,950. 4 cylinder/5 speed stick A/C and radio. Very much a base XL. As it turned out I use it everyday and it is my primary work truck/transportation. I drive from Dallas to Austin every Monday and after working my contract for the week, I drive back Friday night. I have grown to like this truck very much. I get between 26 and 30 mpg week in and week out doing 70 to 80 mph hwy. It does all I ask and when I spill a coke or knock over the fries I just hose it out when I get home. And I still haul stuff for my wife from Home Depot weekends.
I put a shell on the back and that made a big difference. Economy. General handling, once you get used to the darty steering. Reliability.
Find a way to add a little more padding in the base model seats. Slow down the steering response. A red line on the tach would be nice. Some storage space in the center arm rest would be good too.