In the last five years we’ve experienced a lot of growth in our automotive preferences. Some lessons readers handed to us like a pie to the face, and others we’ve come to on our own. In my case, I learned I needed a small truck, not a V8-powered monster that got 10 fpg (feet per gallon). So to fix that I had to square up, lose the big beast, and opt for a more sensible ride. Enter one sweet little 2008 Ford Ranger.
The way I use vehicles has changed somewhat, but the big factor in the shift was overall cost. A smaller truck is just cheaper all the way around. Over time, the 2.3 liter, four cylinder Ranger is cheaper than the 350 V8 in my old Chevy. The little Ford uses less gas, less oil, and in many cases features less expensive replacement parts, such as one head gasket instead of two, four plugs instead of eight, smaller tires, cheaper insurance when compared to trucks of the same year, and so on.
The bed in the Ranger is 6’ by 5 1/2’ instead of the longbed 8’x6’ my Chevy had. In retrospect it’s really not that much different than the larger truck with regard to objects I actually carry, like large boxes, furniture, and sheet goods. Sheet goods are the largest change in that I need to angle the sheet over the wheel-well and strap them at the back instead of just laying it in and slamming the gate closed behind me. Even then, only about five inches stick out the back with the tailgate open.
Another change in thinking with my new truck happened in the way I think about “extras”. After having worked on them for the last five years I can honestly say the best way to keep things like door locks and windows operational is to have them manually operated. It’s blasphemy, I know, but it’s really the best way to guarantee they work all the time.
It may be that budgets and economics have got my thinking messed up, or for the first time in a decade I have my head on straight — either way it’s a small truck for me for the next few years. The change in styles is a bit of a departure from previous years, so we are curious to know if others have made the downsize decision or just had a small truck the whole time, and how it is working out for you? Let us know in comments.
Ranger Regular Cab Pickup [Website]