Last year I made the switch from a 2001 Subaru Outback wagon, to a 2000 Ford Ranger 4.0 4x4. I miss the 25mpg I got with the Suby, while pulling my small moto trailer, and the heated leather seats, but other than that, the Ranger has been quite the nice truck. The 5 speed keeps it fun enough too.
Biggest complaint I had with the thing was the open rear differential. Even my suby had an lsd in the rear. Much preferred for how I drive. I solved the problem installing a Power-Trax Lock Right autolocker in the rear. Makes some noise in parking lots, but keeps both rear wheels putting power down.
Also installed a Sony large screen head unit in it. Very nice with the rear camera I added. Makes hooking up the trailer a breeze. Also can give the passenger a way to kill time on trips, as you can watch DVD's or AVI files off of a usb drive on the thing.
Truck had no real issue pulling a 7x14 enclosed trailer (aluminum), and actually pulled it better than our 6x10 enclosed (steel). Got the same MPG as a friends EcoBoost F150 too, but half the interior room
Fits 2 bikes & gear just fine, and even better when 1 bike is on the hitch carrier:
A bigger truck may be "better", but I just like this thing. I've been tracking my mileage on it here: http://www.fuelly.com/driver/andrewgore/ranger
Winter gas & the speedo needing calibration (31's) are hurting the MPG, but what yah gonna do.