If you want a reasonably decent small truck for hauling stuff around, the Ranger is a good choice. If you want a passenger car, buy one of those instead of a truck. BTW, the 3 liter engine is plenty powerful enough.
This is my third Ranger and all were purchased used. I like the Ranger and this one has not dissapointed me. I must say the previous owners took good care of this truck, I got a bargain when I found it. My own loot at it followed by my friendly mechanic's evaluation confirmed that this rig is in top shape. I like the 4.0L V-6, it has plent of power for fairly heavy hauling and medium towing.
I bought this truck Brand New in 1998 with 3 miles on the truck. I have wrecked the truck 12 times, flipped it twice and it has over 600k miles on it and still runs strong. I have repaired the truck each time it has been wrecked. When Ford says Built TOUGH they mean it. My little ranger is Built Tough. I have an extra engine in my basement if ever needed. I would not trade , sell, or EVEN GIVE away my little ranger. I LOVE my little truck. This little truck gets GREAT gas mileage as well. The only mechanical issue I have had is replacing the Clutch. I go through clutches quickly. But overall Best truck Ford Made!!!
I bought this truck new in 1998 and put 150,000 miles on it over the first 5 years. Overall the truck has been quite reliable. The two problem areas have been the interior light staying on and multiple issues with the air conditioning. Other than that the vehicle has never left me stranded. In fact, I have a 4 cylinder/5 speed stick and have never even replaced any part of the drivetrain in cluding the clutch. The truck currently has over 175,000 miles and continues to run like new.
The 2.5L motor provides great gas mileage and a decent amount of power when you need it. If you keep your right foot out of the firewall you can easily achieve 25+ mpg on the highway. However if you plan on using all 120hp plan on getting less than 17 in the city. But the handling of the truck is good for a truck; you can sling the rear around if needed, or stick the front for some decent corning out of a truck.