2003 Ford Ranger 2.3 from North America


Mechanically OK, interior and body total junk


This truck is the best truck I've owned. However it is not a good car for long cross country trips. It's a perfect car for short <1000 mile trips. However, I drove it once from Connecticut to Arizona, and the manual transmission wouldn't go into first gear from neutral with the truck running at a gas stop in Texas, but after a lot of tries, it finally went in. So continuing my trip toward Arizona, it happened again in New Mexico; this time it was very serious, and I thought I was stranded in the desert because the transmission wouldn't go into first gear.

Eventually after many tries, I got the idea of putting the truck into first gear with the engine turned off (it went in without the engine running), and then starting the truck with the clutch down. It worked, but it made horrible grinding noises and sounded like my throw out bearing or something in the clutch assembly was completely ruined. It ran extremely rough for the next couple of hundred miles, and continued to be hard to shift into gear. Eventually though, the truck seemed to work out of this problem on its own after about 10000 miles of driving, and when I sold it, it was shifting fine. So other than the manual transmission issue, the engine ran flawlessly... but without a reliable transmission, a good running engine is as good as a dead one, so I decided to sell the truck while the going was good...

I would be very very careful when you buy a Ford Ranger with a manual transmission, to double check the transmission for problems...

General Comments:

Extremely cheap interior and suspension, I mean really really cheap... no interior night light, which at times I found a big inconvenience. Also, this truck has plastic door handles, and the one on the driver's side broke in the middle of the winter in the Midwest, and I found that it's impossible to fix. I would have to say that putting plastic door handles on a truck is a bad, bad, bad idea. You'd think that Ford could save money in better ways than plastic door handles and no interior lights?

But still, the truck has a good engine that gets good gas mileage, so I kept it in spite of cheap body parts, poorly designed interior cabin (little leg room to stretch out on long road trips), bad visibility/poorly placed mirrors and a suspension that is really rough and basic...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd March, 2012

2003 Ford Ranger XLT 2.3L from North America


Nine years after I bought it, I still think of it as my "new truck"


Mass airflow sensor replaced at 70,000 miles.

General Comments:

Extremely reliable truck.

Towed a loaded U-Haul 5'x8' trailer over 1400 miles.

Gas mileage, at least 23 mpg.

I traded a 97 Ranger in for this Ranger. The upgraded engine (now DOHC, 16-valve, 143 hp, 154 foot lbs torque) makes a big difference. The truck is not fast, but is not the slouch it used to be.

The rack-and-pinion steering, full-size spare and a plug for trailer lights are appreciated.

Seats are very comfortable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th January, 2012

2003 Ford Ranger XLT Extended Cab 4x4 4.0L SOHC from North America


Best vehicle I've owned


Since I bought the vehicle, it had problems with a sensor in the passenger seat, which causes the airbag light on the dash to illuminate. Problem only occurs when the seat is not adjusted correctly.

64,000 miles:

Shifts from 1-2 and 2-3 had become difficult when the temperature outside was -10 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Turned out the transmission oil/fluid hadn't been changed since new. I changed the fluid and it shifts smoothly now.

77,500 miles:

Fan for climate control makes a light ticking sound.

General Comments:

This is the absolute best vehicle I have ever owned. I have not driven a truck I like more (including mid-sized and full sized trucks). It is a very enjoyable vehicle to drive. Seats are comfortable to me (cloth split bench). I have driven this vehicles from Mohall, ND to Oakland, CA and back, and it was a great vehicle to have for the trip (3400 miles round-trip, no hiccups).

This truck takes anything I throw at it. I drove it after a night where there was about 18 inches of snowfall and it drove around town with ease. The 4.0L engine makes quite a bit of torque for the size of the truck, but almost all of this engine's power comes in low (below 4800 rpm, a good thing to me).

One feature I wish I had tried to find was the rear doors (to ease access behind the seats in the extended cab); this feature would have been quite nice.

My only complaint about this truck is that it uses a lot of fuel for a V6. The best gas mileage I have managed was 23mpg on the open road (us gallon). My average fuel economy is 16mpg in mixed driving (more city than highway) and it's much worse in the winter. But if fuel economy is what I'm after a truck would be the wrong vehicle (regardless of model).

I can't think of a truck I would buy if I had to replace this one, except for another Ranger.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th May, 2010