Traded my 2001 Ranger regular cab in for a 2010 Mustang GT. Once the novelty wore off, I missed my old Ranger so much that I traded the Mustang for a new Ranger. Nothin' fancy - easy to understand/operate controls, great big windows for tremendous visibility, very stable and comfortable ride, nice turn radius for parking lot ops, and 25 MPG with only 800 miles on this new truck. Although the 4 cylinder engine won't let you win any drag races, it's certainly enough power to get around town and accelerate to highway speeds safely. Great 5 speed manual transmission and clutch. Perfectly sized truck; easy to get into and out of. Perfect bed height for loading/unloading cargo.
Bought the truck 6 months ago; XLT 2x4 Extra Cab with the Duratec 2.3L I4, 5 speed Manual trans, & 4.10 rearend gears. So far the truck has been fantastic and surpassed expectations! The Ranger has not changed in years which is a good thing because it still has a great feel when you drive it. Its smooth on the highway, has a convenient interior, and the trucks size allows it to be parked nearly anywhere. Will it win a drag race? NO... but it has all the power it needs. I am happy to start my Ranger every morning... the 5 speed manual is fun to drive and has all the pep it needs with the 2.3. My first ranger was an 02' and was the best vehicle I have ever owned, thus I bought another!!!!!
Ranger gets a bad rap because the design doesn't change much from year to year. My previous vehicle was a one owner 1999 ranger (me) with 367,000 miles on it. Used synthetic oil the life of the vehicle and never had to replace even a valve cover gasket. The Ranger is a fun vehicle and extremely reliable. Go ahead and spend more money, but you will be overpaying.
2011 will be the last year for Ranger. Thats why I bought my 4.0 V6, 5 speed. This will make the 8th one starting in 1984. Every model I have owned has been better then the last, and they were all good work trucks. I have read the reviews and wonder if the writers have ever had to work, using a truck ,every day for years on end. Why do you think Ford has sold every Ranger that they can make? Simple, they work. If you take reasonable care, they will last for years with out major problems. For the price you will not find a better truck. Ford has over 28 years making this truck, I think they got it right.
This is my second Ranger. My first was a 2001 with a 2.5l and 5 speed manual which sadly, I gave to a friend in need. I had to have another one. I own other vehicles loaded with options, High Performance, NAV, Heated Seats, etc, but I love this Ranger for what it is. It doesn't pretend or try to be anything except a basic, fun hard working truck. It's small inside for a big guy, but easy to drive and easy to park, tough as nails and well built. There are enough drivetrain, transmission, cab, payload and axle combinations to meet any need. Ford kept the Ranger honest to its purpose and I am sorry to see it go.