Well, after my prior altercation with a bus, and a bit of dickering with insurance, I got my total check.

Staying with the theme of “small truck that I could afford that doesn’t have 200k miles,” I mostly hunted Frontiers and Rangers. Found an ‘11 Ranger with 51k on the clock. No dings, one owner. Test drove, dickered on price, left, slept on it, waited for last day of the month, and called the dealer. Got them to slide a few more bucks down, and brought it home this am.

So, first impressions of the last of a breed: the stripper small pickup. (Will do a real Oppo review after I get some miles in). The 2011 Ford Ranger Sport, v6, 2wd, manual.

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Baaaasssiiiccc. Manual locks and crank windows, people. I have no fear of not being able to escape if I drive it into a lake. Also, I need to break the habit of pushing on the key fob expecting the door to lock.

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The interior doesn’t appear to have been updated since my last version of this truck, a 1999 B-series.

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I think all Ford did was periodically update the grill to sorta match the f150. After all, they were selling scads of Rangers to contractors and utility companies with no marketing. Why add hi-faluting features like tilt steering or cruise control?

I think the suspension, and possibly the seats, are based on the Conestoga wagon.

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This one came equipped with a Ford-branded Bakflip tonneau. Which was a big purchase point for me, as I would have bought one anyway. So having that in the purchase was a big incentive.

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The 4.0 v6 pulls nicely. At 207hp, I think it has more HP than the 1977 trans am, although Bandit wouldn’t be caught dead trying to outrun Buford T Justice in one. The shifter throw is monkey-arm long. Because pickup.

So far, though, I’ve had a silly smile driving this thing. I’m happy to have snagged an example of the final year of the Ranger (not holding my breath for the bloated abomination that will be the new ‘mid-sized’ variant). For me, it’s a decent example of buying no more vehicle than one needs. Already desecrating it with work gear, and yes, I’ll need to dig around for that spare Oppo sticker I have stashed somewhere.