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2000 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab

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SAN FRANCISCO:  A truck is a truck is a truck. And the 2000 Ford Ranger is still a truck, even though it rides more car-like than its predecessor, gets better gas mileage and has a more sporty character than it did many years ago, before the small truck rage really caught on. This truck is one of the best Ford has ever produced and its popularity proves that.

People seem to expect more these days from their trucks than they ever expected from any car. They expect their trucks to:

* Haul people, cargo, tow trailers, and do whatever else they can think of.

* Be comfortable like the family car.

* Provide the same convenience and features as the family car.

Ford has worked hard on offering all these wants with the Ranger, and they seem to have succeeded very well overall.

The 2000 Ranger is a very capable, comfortable small truck, especially with the four-door Supercab (in Ford jargon). The added versatility of the extra openings goes a long way when a trip to the local discount grocery store, during a nice summer rainstorm, results in more bags full of food than one can carry in two hands. Once you open one of the rear-hinged half-doors, the "Super" part of the cab, the area behind the seats, is as easy to get into as a college party at full swing. Feelings about the opening can best be described as joyous, for not making you contort your body to get between the front seats and the B pillar.

Inside, the seats offer comfort not seen in small pickups of the '70s and most of the '80s, when the truck world started to get more car-like. The cloth covering the seats is of a high quality and seems like it will last as long as you might own the truck. The padding is somewhat firm but isn't uncomfortable to make long drives seem tedious. And just a note about the rear "jump seats", they are meant for small beings. Period. Any sane adult would rather ride in the bed of the truck than in one of those tiny seats that are now attached to the rear wall of the cab rather than the side, as they were before the whole "four-door" rage caught on.

On the highway, the 2000 Ranger rides smoothly and tracks nicely, with firm weighted steering to help keep you on the straight and narrow. Driving over freeway expansion joints or potholes on the secondary roads will sometimes bring a little shudder to the truck, felt more through the seat of the pants and up the back of the seat. This feeling is not unlike that of a top-down convertible driving over the same road surfaces, like there is a part of the body missing. The probable cause here is the removal of the hard mounted B pillar from the cabin structure. Other trucks with the four-door option experience the same phenomenon, so it is not much to worry about, really. Nevertheless, it does give one an almost sinking feeling when it happens.

The 150 hp 3.0-liter FFV SEFI V6 our test truck was equipped with moved the truck quite well. And with 190 lb-ft of torque available, towing shouldn't be a problem either. The FFV designation stands for Flexible Fuel Vehicle, which means that it will run on regular unleaded gasoline, E-85 (a fuel mixture comprised of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas) or a mixture of the two.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the insurance industry group that crash tests all U.S. vehicles, the 2000 Ranger rates an "A" overall in crashworthiness and an "A" for restraints. On that front, the Ranger features driver and passenger airbags, dual-locking shoulder belts and comes standard with rear-wheel antilock brakes (four-wheel antilock is optional).

There are only a few real complaints that can be made against the 2000 Ranger. Number one is the fact that the press material and the showroom brochure both imply that the four-door option is standard on the 2000 model, when it is actually a chargeable item listed at $695 with the optional equipment on the vehicle sticker. Number two, in previous years, the cruise controls on the steering wheel lit up at night. Either Ford has cut corners to keep costs down or they just didn't work on the test truck. Number three is the shudder felt in the superstructure when traveling over potholes and bumps in the road. It is up to you, the consumer, to decide if that is a livable trait. In our opinion, it is.

The 2000 Ford Ranger is a capable, durable and affordable small truck. The base price starts at $15,890 and our loaded 4x2 test truck listed at $21,460, including the $560 destination charge. It will most likely age quite well with grace, as long as it is not upstaged by its replacement in 2002. Only time will tell. By J. E. Bryson AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  By J. E. Bryson AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name:   "A Capable, Durable and Affordable Small Truck"
Topic:  2000 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4x2
Word Count:   901
Photo Caption:  2000 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4x2
Photo Credits:  Ford Internet Media
Series #:   2000 - 44

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2000 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4x2

Download the original image file here:  2000 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab 4x2 20k

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