6 months ago I acquired from a friend of mine who runs a junk yard. I traded him a shotgun for it. They used it to tow junkers around their lot. It is probably the ugliest truck you have seen it a while. It is painted primer grey and most of that is pealing. It has 340 thousand miles on the original motor (4.0 ltr V-6) and transmission (5 speed manual) Has rust over the rear wheel wells and the entire underside. I made the trade thinking I was just going to strip it down and make a rock crawler out f it. To my surprise the truck rides better than my 2011 Silverado. It is an incredibly smooth ride. I replaced the tires and a ruptured brake line and that's it. The 4X4 works great and the motor is smooth and powerful. It has a slight valve tick but does not use any oil at all. I drive it daily because it get much better gas mileage than my Silverado and to think I was going to rip this old girl apart. It started first time, every time all throughout the winter and everything works, every light, every piece of electronics (the stereo rocks) and in four wheel drive the damn thing will climb a tree. She is nothing at all to look at but I wouldn't give this thing up for anything. If a 25 year old ranger runs this good and is this reliable I can only imagine what the new ones are like.
I've owned this 2.3, 4 cyl, 4wd, 5 speed, short bed ranger for 3 months and is nothing to brag about. I have never exceeded 19 mpg and 14.5-15 is common, with a top speed of about 75 and going up most hills, it might lose 5-10 mph even after dropping a gear. The only good for this truck is most parts are still original, other than the steering sector and the mirrors can never stay in place.
Just bought this ranger knowing it had a noisy transmission. Once it came out of the shop I fell in love with it. Easy to park, easy to drive and very quiet (fords always are). Plenty of torque from the 2.9 L V6. Twin I beam front suspension, rock solid and rides like a car down the highway. Don't know about the fuel mileage and really don't care if it only gets mid teens. If you're looking to buy one make sure you get one with the Mazda transmission not the Mitsubishi transmission, as the Mazda is cheaper to rebuild and source parts for. No point in throwing away a good running gas engine, but if i can wear the V6 out i plan on a 4BT cummins swap. Great trucks. Built Ford Tough.
Handy is every situation. Truck just almost drives itself.
If purchasing a 4WD unit, spend a little and buy manually locking front hubs. Installing these will keep the truck from spinning the front drivetrain until you lock the hubs in, resulting in better fuel mileage. But if you happen to get stuck you will have to get out to lock them in. Small trade-off.