I considered my 2006 ranger a solid truck. I am not impressed with the mileage, but I think I can live with it. I should have bought a 4x4 if I knew they were going to go out of the market, but oh well. I was ready to trade it in about two months ago and realized that the only competitors (Toyota and Nissan) have the same problems with fuel economy and dated models. They have added fun stuff like USB ports, etc but cruise control is still optional? That is kind of crazy. Pros: It handles well on the highway, low price compared to the Japanese models, cheap repairs. Cons: no cruise control, no steering wheel with positions adjustment, questionable fuel economy, clunky ride, bad brakes.
Bought mine used off Clist. Love my truck! The 4cyl isn't fast on steep grades but neither am I. However, with the 4cyl and 5spd, I'm averaging 29.5mpg combined and 32.2mpg hwy and that's running the a/c and with a Leer canopy. The truck is very quiet and comfortable that we prefer to take it on long road trips instead of our honda, subaru or dodge caliber. Our ranger is a 2wd but I installed a powertrax no-slip in the rear end and off road it's fantastic. I've pulled a small utility trailer with 2 motorcycles on it with no problems. I've had zero problems with our truck. It handles well on windy twisty back roads and is a great truck for exploring those same roads.
I purchased a 2006 Toyota Tacoma because of all the rave expert reviews. I traded it in less than a year for the much lower rated Ford Ranger 2006. Why? The Ranger is the best market value - simply put you get more truck for the money. Another reason, cosmetic toughness - breath on Tacoma and it scuffs. Everything feels cheap. 18 years of engineering refinement in my opinion has made the Ranger rock solid. Don’t pay attention to the experts. They most likely don’t own the vehicles they recommend.
Gas mileage should be better. I had to pay for jack bolts to be installed so the front end could be aligned. These items used to be installed at the factory. Neither Ford or the dealer would assist with the expense. the front end could not be aligned without this $200 expense at 8000 miles. I will consider a Toyota or Honda for my next truck.
The truck drives well and handle adequately. It does lean a little too much due to the stiff suspension. The only major complaint is the gas mileage. I have the large engine with the 4:11 rear end, but the mileage is less than 17mpg. Pretty bad for a little guy. Also the base cost of the vehicle is a little high.