I am 18 and this is my first car. I have the manual tranny and it is great. It is ten years old and has never broken down. It gets great gas mileage which is good because I have to pay for everything in my car. The engine is good and has a nice kick but if you don't have the manual I think it will not be as much fun. I do take it off road sometimes, but only on small easy courses. It handles fine on and off road. Overall great first vehicle or farm vehicle, which is what it originally was used for.
My little 4 cylinder Ranger has moved me from NC to NY and back to NC. Hauled everything from couches (2 at a time) to camping gear to just me with no problems. This pickup is so easy to work with and on that it is a joy to own.
I don't have a favorite feature, they all compliment each other.
Make spark plugs easier to replace. That was my only problem.
I've had a lot of fun with this truck. But heads up on a few of the things listed below. I have owned it for 5 years and now have 120 thousand miles on it. I guess I can't be too hard on it.
Good pick up, flexibility of use, stereo, engine runs great!
HEATER CORE PROBLEM! I replaced it myself and still ended up spending around $500 and 15 hours on it. You have to remove the dash. Also, the gas mileage is like 15-17 Mpg. I want more from a little truck. Have had brake issues all along.
I have had this truck for nearly 9 years and have driven it 78,000 miles. Some drive train problems which can be expensive to repair at a Ford dealership. Not the greatest truck but fairly reliable and functional. Very stiff suspension which was softened in 1998 model year. First year for 5 speed auto which has worked fine. Gas mileage is poor at 15-20 and it only gets 20 out on the road. It has been great for hauling dogs and hunting. Seats are not all that comfortable. Even though it has a 4.0 liter engine it only cranks 160 HP and 225 lb/ft torque. Dismal compared to the newer engines.
Favorite features I added myself. Bedliner, camper shell and Class III hitch. It will go just about anywhere if you have the correct tires for the job.
I purchased my 1997 Ranger new. I bought a compact 4 cylinder standard transmission truck I like. It's not a power, gas guzzling demon, like some of the V8 and V6 trucks I looked at. This truck has been reliable over the years and only had small problems. I had to replace the brakes, tires, and one oil seal in the rear axle. This Ranger rides like a truck on bumpy country roads, but on the interstate it's not bad. Still I know I'm driving a truck. The only complaint I've got is this: steep hills require downshifts, but it's only a 4 cylinder engine. I'll keep the Ranger till I have to junk it