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.