mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, October 09, 2006

So, how you like that there truck, MadAnthony

So I've had the new truck for a little over two months. I figure that's long enough to get an impression of how I like it.

Of course, I loved my old PT Cruiser - until it started having major, expensive, catastrophic electronic component failures (including the gauge cluster dying, the transmission controller needing to be replaced, andthe air bag sensor coming on every time it rained). The true test of my new Ranger is going to be how it is in two years - which is when the first problem with the PT Cruiser cropped up, where the check engine light came on for the first time).

But besides reliablity, I have impressions on the Ranger. It's more fun to drive than I expected. It's pretty quick (it's the first vehicle I've owned that has a V6). It's also the first vehicle that I've had that's rear wheel drive (when the part time 4wd is turned off) It handles great in dry weather - it's surprisingly agile for a truck. If it's wet and I don't have the 4wd on, it gets pretty squirrly though - I've fishtailed it at traffic lights a number of times.

The ergronomics of it aren't quite as good as the PT - that's where the age of the design and the trucky-ness show through. It lacks a bunch of the electronic and ergronomic doodads I'd gotten used to on the PT - coin holder, digital outdoor temperature sensor, door locks that lock automatically when the vehicle gets over a certain speed. Some of the things it doesn't have that the PT did - like heated leather seats are because the ranger is a middle trim level - XLT - while the PT was top-of-the-line Limited Edition (limited, presumably, by the number that they could sell) with every available option except the roof rack. But I'd rather have a vehicle that gets me to work reliably, even if I have to hit the door lock button.

The one other thing I still need to do is address the bed, which would make the vehicle way more useful - the one hamfest I went to was a pain, because I had to cover everythng with a tarp. I do sometimes wonder if I would have been better off buying an SUV, since it would already have an enclosed back. But I wanted something truck-based and cheap, and that is a pretty much impossible combination (the only answer being an XTerra, but I was nevervous about buying anything in it's first year of production). I still haven't gotten a bedliner or a cap/cover. I will eventually, but I'm having trouble getting myself to drop $900 or so on a cap that I use once a month when there are so many other bills to pay and things to do around Casa De Mad.

One nice thing about the Ranger is that, while there are a ton on the road, there aren't many like mine. I've seen a bunch of other yellow ones, but they are mostly older Splash models. I saw one like mine for the first time yesterday - a Shocking Yellow '06 XLT extended cab 4X4 (I'm pretty sure it was an '06 or '07 - I think the older ones don't have the big chrome vertical grill). When I had the PT, I saw a red Limited pretty much every day.

Overall, I think I made a good choice, but time will tell in terms of reliablity.


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