Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Why I love my Ranger and Ford should not let it die
Compact trucks VS Midsize trucks, in the light of rising gas prices. This is my 99 Ford Ranger, when I bought this I looked at many trucks including non-Ford trucks. I bought this for several reasons, I needed 4 wheel drive and wanted something that could haul anything I wanted. Many people asked why didn't I get a full size truck. Well there were several reasons, gas milage, parking, ease of getting around and price. When I bought this it was not my primary mode of transportation, I also had a 92 Ford Crown Victoria, but I knew that one day this could become my main mode of transportation. Today this is the only vehicle I own, having sold the fleet (92 Crown Vic, 93 SHO Taurus) and I'm quite happy with it.
I have had full size trucks in the past and have had ocassion to drive the newest F-150. While I don't have any problems with them, I don't see them as being practicle for anyone who doesn't have a real need. Back in 99 I could have afforded to buy an F-150 and gave it serious consideration, but the Ranger can haul everything I need, and gets marginally better fuel economy (15 city 20 highway 13 if I beat the piss out of it) On the rare ocassion that I venture into New York City for a show or other ocassion I can find parking at a reasonalbe rate or sometimes on the street. U-turns are not a big deal even on our narrow suburban street and highway ride is very good. My honey and I have done home renovations over the last few years and the Ranger has served us well with trips to the dump and Home Depot. I've helped people move or just picked up large items for our home or friends. I've never met a job that the Ranger can't handle (maybe it's been too much for me, but not the truck) I did add a bed extender cage to my truck for loads longer than 6 feet, but have had no problem with 4x8 sheets of lumber or drywall. For most people a truck the size of the Ranger just makes more sense. My older brother has an F-250 with the powerstroke diesel, but he plows. The Ranger just makes sense.
When Ford came out with the Ranger in the early 80's I was not impressed, the styling was fine, but it was underpowered and too small. Now my Ranger's 4.0 V-6 at 170 hp would be considered underpowered by the automotive press, hell even I've griped about other trucks offering more power, but the reality is my Ranger has seen tripple digit speeds on long trips and has been used to pull small trees off of the driveway at work. I don't panic getting on highway entrance ramps and have never felt any weakness from my truck. Mind you I don't race it, but who does?
The Ranger was the King of small trucks, then every other truck makers started to pump them up and stretch them. Now the line between "midsize"(remember whent they were Compacts?) trucks and fullsize trucks has become blurred. The Dodge Dakota and Ram both come with V-8's the Japanes trucks are larger and everyone but Ford offers a crew cab. Ford has let the Ranger suffer, not wanting to invest money in a losing proposition. I am sick of the thought that the Ranger may be heaped on the scrap pile.
What Ford should do is bring over the 2.5 L Diesle engine they offer in the Ranger overseas and offer the Crew Cab. That could be enough to bring back sales until a new platform can be designed and the Ranger can regain it's crown. A little more power from the new 4.0 SOHC V-6 wouldn't hurt either.