I wanted a small 4 cyl truck with auto transmission. I bought on price and features, 4 wheel disc brakes, 5 speed auto, air, tow package, abs, traction and stability control all standard on my Ranger. On Tacoma air was extra and only drum rear brakes, Colorado also rear drum brakes. So far I've clocked 7,000 miles, average gas mileage is 23 mpg since new. Best gas mileage was 29 mpg on extended trip on the freeway. Handling feels very secure and traction control in the snow/ice really worked well-that was my main concern with a light weight rear drive truck. I don't carry very heavy loads but middling load doesn't seem to bother ride/handling acceleration.(although the preselect header says 5M I have 5A..
It is not as bad as all the reviews would indicate, the truck is really well equipped for the money. 5 speed auto is great, really helps acceleration in traffic, neither Tacoma or Colorado had 5 speed autos and were sluggish by comparison even though they had bigger engines.
If you want improvements, spend more money, the dealer added cruise and bed liner to get me to close deal. For a basic workaday pickup that can run comfortably on the freeway and is easy to handle/park in town do you really want or need all the fru-fru? Radio upgrade would be nice.
Having taken the Ranger on several trips I questioned the horsepower ratings made by ford. I took it to a dyno shop here in Sacramento and the truck produced 124 peak horsepower. This is about right counting drive train power lose. Ford claims 156 so at 20% drive train lose, this number, 124, is right on. Here is what I don't understand. The Ranger won't pull the same hills as the 1991 Mazda truck did. The Mazda got 27.5 miles per gallon. The ford Ranger gets 27.5 miles per gallon. So where is the progress? Ford has had 19 years to get the same gas mileage? Ford also chose to make the bed shorter, presumably to save money. I purchased the ford bedliner, now the bed cannot hold six feet.
As I stated before, arm rest, big side mirrors, good styling, 4 wheel disk breaks, very quiet, well priced, bucket seats, good head rest, good visibility.
Lengthen the bed by one inch so when the ford bedliner is installed you still have a six foot bed capacity. This truck really needs a six speed transmission. The passenger side seat belt has a patch like thing sewn on it that makes it difficult to use the seat belt. The buckle gets stuck on it.
I drove a 1991 Mazda B2200 for 238,000 miles. I decided to buy a new truck and settled on the Ford, which is supposed to be the same as Mazda. The Mazda had 94 horspower, the Ranger claims 148. On the same trip I have driven a 100 times with the Mazda, the Ranger couldn't pull the same hills without slowing down. It has higher gearing so it can't pull like the Mazda did. On some sections of bad road it handles very badly, kinda like skips. Quality is a bit sloppy. there were burrs on the door handles, on the steering wheel, and down under where you grab the emergency brake lever. The cover on the steering wheel that covers the air bag, has a gap that caught my coat sleeve button, not good.
Arm rest, big side mirrors, good styling, 4 wheel disc brakes, is very quiet. I think it was well priced. Bucket style seats, good head rest, good visibility.
Deburr the parts before you install them. Get rid of the sleeve catcher on the steering wheel. Fix the suspension handling problem. a little lower gearing, or go to a six speed. Rework the glove box. Get rid of the hump behind the seat or make it a utility tray or box.