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...
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