A good truck, but not a great one
Door alarm module shorts out, so "door open" light comes on and buzzer sounds (exceedingly annoying) if outside temperature is above freezing (meaning about 99.5% of the time in southern California). Only way to disable is to unplug the alarm module in the dash (by pulling out the radio), but that disables the dome light and the windshield wipers. Trying to pull out the radio while driving to plug in the windshield wipers is not very fun, and I imagine not very safe either. BTW, the dealer "fixed" this twice (once under warranty, once on my dime) and I gave up after shelling out ~$150 on the second try.
I now have irregular battery charging problems while driving, even though the battery, cables, alternator, and voltage regulator have all been replaced. At night the battery will discharge, the lights will dim, and the truck will start hesitating until it feels just like it's going to die, then kick back to life and start working normally. Rather disconcerting when several hundred miles from home at 1:00 in the morning...
The stock Firestone Wilderness AT tires have come close to killing me on more than occasion due to blowouts. I barely recovered from flipping the truck one night when I spun out and went off the road after a complete DISINTEGRATION (not just a "blowout") of the sidewall. Other than some crumpled sheet metal and the obligatory underwear change, I walked away from that one. I thought that the 5 previous blowouts (like a moron, I kept putting the same tire on) were due to picking up nails and debris due to my habit of driving off-road, along side RR tracks, and the like.
This vehicle was a new replacement for a 1987 Mazda B2200 that I just plain wore out after 220K+ miles of hard driving and borderline abuse (I used to off-road the poor little 2WD thing). Since Fords and Mazdas are now build on the same assembly line (Twin Cities) I figured this would be a repeat of my Mazda experience (not much power, but pretty reliable). However, the Ranger has been a bit of a letdown.
On the positive side, the thing keeps running - over 250K miles all over the US, Canada, and Mexico on adequate, but not always regular care and maintenance. The truck has never refused to start other than the occasional dead battery. Running costs have been pretty minimal.
On the not so positive side, the 2.3L is severly underpowered and not acceptable for the extended cab version I purchased. The electrical problems mentioned above have been a source of frustration. In addition, the fit and finish (paint, sheet metal alignment, interior quality) just don't measure up to my "Toyo Kogyo" Japan-assembled Mazda.
In short, I got what I paid for, but not much more. If I had to do it again, I would prefer to buy another truck built 100% in Japan.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd May, 2004