If this is a "tired design" I'll take more. In fact I did, this is my second new Ranger, the first one gave me 18 years of good service. The 2006 XLT is solid and powerful, fun to drive. The Ford OHC 4.0 has plenty of punch and the 5 speed shifts well. The Tacoma and Dakota are too large to be considered a compact truck. I drove a GMC Canyon, it's OK but it didn't impress me.
Nice build quality and proven reliability. Looks good and fun to drive. Spacious enough for my needs.
Well, the moderate gas mileage is to be expected I guess. Anyone expecting great mileage should buy the 2.5 four with 2 wheel drive.