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.