"Ford Ranger xlt, supercab, 2wd, 3.0, 5 speed
The cab is very comfortable for a compact truck. The seats are very nice and if you don't like them there are a wide variety of seats from luxury vehicles that will easily swap right in. The rear, with it's fold out seats, allows for nice storage room or 2 additional seats. With the two rear seats and the split bench in the front the supercab is advertised to seat 5. This is possible, as I do it all the time, but it is not comfortable at all. On the other hand, with only one passenger, it is the most comfortable compact truck I have ever been in. Overall the supercab is great.
The 3.0 is a very reliable engine. Mine is on 111,000 miles and running strong with no previous problems. It is not uncommon to find these engines running with more than 300,000 miles. The 3.0, although bullet proof, is an absolute dog. It has a very narrow power band, and very poor low end torque. With the 3.0's lack of power, it is still able to light up the rear tires in any condition with the exception of dry pavement, which says a lot about the Rangers traction. With that lack of traction and an absence of front ABS, driving in any kind of weather gets a little scary. Another effect of having a power plant under the hood that produces no power is the need for low gearing. The Dana 35 with 3.73 gearing makes for nice city MPG, but it also makes the little 3.0 scream on the highway. At 45 mph in fifth gear the engine is running at 2000 rpm, and the engine makes a loud droning noise above 3000 rpm, which you will need to be at if you are on the highway. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that light takes the form of decent gas millage. I get on average in the low 20's mpg, but my record is 28 mpg.
Basically this truck is only good at getting you where you want to go. It won't turn heads and you won't have any sort of fun, but it will get you there. I would take the 97 Ranger any day over the Dakota or S10 of the same year. The comfort, gas milage, and dependable engine makes this truck a very good choice."
"I have had a 97 Ranger extra cab for 8 years now. It's got 117,000 miles on it and has been mostly reliable.
I must have one of those cars you hear about and hope to never own.
I call it Ghost in the Machine.
I have had many issues with the AC leaking, and the kicker is the electrical system. The wipers will come on by themselves when I driving, the cab light comes on the same way and has been doing it for the last 6 yrs, best of all when you have on the AC and the blinker on and turn left at a light with some acceration it will blow a 30amp fuse. It's happen to me 3 times in the last year and a half. It kills the truck so I carry 2 spair 30 amp fuses so I don't get stranded again. I have had it looked at and they can't find the problem.
I just replaced the clutch and am going to get rid of it now. I would not take the chance of buying it again just from the experance that I have had."
Cons: "Not identifiable by external design, basic feature"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The Ford Ranger is designed for convenience and reliability. Both luxury and performance are not major players in the composition of this vehicle. Yet, what it lacks in ostentatiousness it makes up for in its robust operation."