My 1995 Nissan King Cab served me well. Six years and it still ran great. But, sometimes you miss that new vehicle smell and feel. So, after surfing Carmax.com (see my review on this) I came across a 2001 Ranger XLT at a very good price and great features.
I called to set up a test drive for the next day and headed over to "the big city". After a minor snag or two (see those on the Carmax review), I finally drove the truck. My wife hopped in the back and occupied one of the pull-down jump seats. You would not want to ride far on them, but she found them to be surprisingly comfortable.
I looked over the controls to see where things were and started the engine. As soon as I accelerated, I noticed the difference between my Nissan and this Ford. The Ford was more sluggish. You can tap the gas on that Nissan and it is off! And, it was a 4 cylinder versus Ford's 6 cylinder engine. So, I was surprised about that. The engine sounds like an F-150. But, it did not deter my further inspection of the vehicle - I liked it.
This truck was a fairly loaded XLT model at a great price with only 11,000 miles on it. It was sharp looking and had some neat options which I'll describe.
I liked the keyless entry system. The remote has lock/unlock and horn. It also has power locks inside.
There were power windows and power side mirror controls.
Tilt steering, cruise control on the steering wheel. Wiper controls on the steering column. AND, I really like the gear shift on the steering column instead of on the floor!
Split seats have a little upholstered extension on the driver's side that appears to connect the two. There's pull-down storage bin between the seats as well. It will hold cassettes and CDs but my truck only came with a CD player. There's a built-in change holder (good for tolls, etc...).
The radio/CD player has a fantastic sound. It has 6 presets and the usual controls for balance/fade, bass/treble, etc...There are two speakers in the cab and two in the front.
Built in cup holders in the front and in the cab are quite handy. There are also two compartments in the cab built into the wall. This is convenient for maps, kleenex,ice scrapers, small items, etc.... The tire change tools are also in this area.
Seats are cloth covered and sufficiently ergonomic. They adjust and recline to several positions. My wife remarked about the comfort. Normally we would take our Buick on long trips, but she felt we could travel comfortably with the ride this truck gives us. I agree.
The front doors also have map holders in them. And, speaking of the doors - the window ledge is at just the right height to rest your arm while driving! They even padded it a little for comfort. I have upper back disk problems and sometimes I need to rest my arms in several positions. This truck is great for that!
I used my defrost for the first time this morning. Ford did a good job placing and aiming the air deflectors. It cleared my windshield much faster than the Nissan. The heater and the A/C have both worked well.
There are no push-out windows in the back, but there is a sliding rear window.
Now, the most marvelous feature - REAR DOORS! Upon opening either front door, you can pull the interior latch and open a door to the cab area! Hooray! Groceries were always a pain in the Nissan (no pun intended) - now it's easy to put them in and take them out. And if anyone rides in the cab - it's easier to get in and out.
The body styling is attractive. I bought a white truck with black/gray interior. The styling is sleek and rounded - no stark corners or lines.A truck liner was already installed (nice!).
You can turn off the passenger side air bag - a good feature if you are hauling wee ones in that seat.
Premium wheels- they look sharp!
Not So Neat Features
No cassette player
The engine is loud when you accelerate
The gas mileage is supposed to be 20/24 but I'm not getting that much.
The overdrive switch is on the gear stick. Every time you put the truck in gear you knock it off and have to turn it on again. A minor nuisance.
The rear window seems low to me. The visibility is not what I think it should be.
There's an interior light, but no reading light.
Firestone HT tires. These aren't the ones they recalled, but I still feel funny running Firestones. I was told they are safe. Let's hope!
I will not take up space with a myriad of specs - you can get those on the Ford website - but basically this truck has a 6 cylinder engine (available in 3.0 or 4.0 L). It has dual air bags, ABS brakes. Gas tank holds 19.5 gallons. Four quart oil capacity. You can get it in 4X2 or 4X4. The truck bed comes in 6 or 7 ft. lengths.
I've driven this truck for about a week and I love it! So far this is the best vehicle purchase I have made in a long time. I love the handle, the features, the warranty (3/36), the styling - and there are two Ford dealers within 6 miles of my house , so service will be a breeze. I recommend this truck for work or pleasure!
Update - 2004
It's almost 2004 and I thought I'd update the truck performance. Overall, it's been good. My oil pressure and temp gauge stick on cold mornings for a while and a bulb over the gas gauge burned out (they wanted over a hundred bucks to replace that bulb!). I just got new brake pads at 43,000 and the dealership charged an arm and a leg for them! So, I'm not in a great frame of mind writing this- but I still like the truck and will keep it for a while.
Update - 2007
Still have the Ranger! Runs good - 80,000+ miles. A couple of dash lights burned out and needs a belt and some tires, but she's running like a top. Think I'll drive her one more year.
Amount Paid (US$):
2001Model and Options: