Overall I'm very pleased with my new Ranger XL. I owned a 98 model previously and my experience with that truck was certainly a determining factor in this purchase. Admittedly, the performance of the 2.3L I4 is a bit sluggish; however, what it lacks in pickup it more than makes up for in fuel economy, especially when paired with the stick shift (I've actually averaged 30 mpg a few times). The exterior is more business like than beautiful; which suits my needs. Rugged stout build provides a less than smooth ride but reassuringly capability (hey! it's a work truck!). Excellent reliability so far and as a mechanic I can say; it's all a matter of proper maintenance and not abusing the vehicle.
Basic utilitarian design, fuel economy, maneuverability. Good ground clearance (even without 4x4). New grill design so it matches the rest of Ford's truck line. That "True to it's roots pickup truck" feeling.
A 4 cylinder diesel as a standard and more efficient replacement for the dated 2.3 gas. (A 4 cylinder diesel comes standard in the British Ranger). Revert back to a steel front bumper.