2000 Ford Ranger L4 2.3
Passenger-side airbag disable switch failed in the first month.
Negative battery terminal disintegrated at 52000 miles due to dissimilar metals in contact plus acid overspray. I corrected by replacing both battery cables with aftermarket variety with conventional lead clamps to assure reliability.
Very good to excellent overall. Few problems, very reliable.
Good fuel economy (averages around 26 mpg) especially when considering the 3250 lb curb weight and the inherently-poor aerodynamic drag coefficient of pickup trucks.
But you must use at least 89 octane fuel, or even 92 octane when fully-loaded or pulling a small trailer. Contrary to the owner's manual claim that this vehicle will run satisfactorily on 87 octane, the engine will clatter like a jackhammer when using regular gasoline at 50 to 60 mph. This pre-ignition (or detonation or spark knock, as it may be known) seems to be characteristic as my 1990 Ranger did likewise. I suspected that the cylinders had become coked-up, but inspection revealed clean piston crowns and cylinder head so I added a water-injection system which corrected the problem and gave a slight improvement in fuel economy.
To me the L4 engine seems to be a near-ideal balance between power and low fuel consumption/greenhouse gas emission. I suspect some would be dissatisfied with the acceleration, as it is difficult to pass the many slow, elderly drivers in my locale.
Also characteristic is the brake shudder. The front-end shakes on fairly-heavy braking, such as a stoplight on a favoring grade. Disks are up to spec, just seems to be insufficient rigidity of the front suspension. 1990 Ranger had the same fault.
Hotchkiss-drive rear suspension causes a slight 'clunk' or 'jerk' when opening or shutting the throttle.
Very quiet ride, much less road noise transmitted to the body than most sedans due to the separate body/frame construction.
High ground clearance good on rutted, dirt roads and allows oil changes without jacking up, but at the cost of poor swerve-ability in an emergency. As with all pickups and SUVs, 60 mph is the absolute maximum speed at which it should be driven and this only during daylight, fair weather driving.
A good choice for deliveries, camping, construction, fishing trips. A poor choice for interstate and turnpike high-speed distance driving.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd April, 2004
I have a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT Off-Road and it hardly ever sees below 75mph on the interstate. It handles flawlessly with absolutely no negative feed back in terms of behavior, and I might also add it has a set of 31in thornbird, very aggressive tread, tires and even still no bad habits. As far as its ability off-road... let's just say I have never been stuck, although I have been in spots that I might have needed more ground clearance, but that is my fault not the truck. Overall a great performer for a small truck. Nothing compared to my giant bronco, but then the bronco has more upgrades and performance parts than most race cars, that's another story though.