I got my first ranger of my OWN in 1993 (an 86 model), my family had them all the way back to the full size ranger days so I've been around them all my life. I bought my first brand new ranger in 1997.
When I bought my red '97 I got a red XLT with carpet, bench with console, sliding glass, alloy's, chrome package, and upgraded door panels with pockets. (v/s the xl solid flat ones)
......all to the tune of $9,995 +TTL.
That price tag isn't really even a base model these days. You can have all the chrome and XLT goodies, but it'll cost you at least $14,999. For ten G's you get a skeleton.
I'm disappointed that real bumpers were replaced with plastic and a crash bar also. The base ranger is really sad for a TRUCK to be all plastic bumpers. It's a TRUCK and the base model is the one that is gonna work the hardest in most cases.
So why should I pay $5,000 more or settle for for a less equipped truck FORD has shaved most of the heavy metal off of and replaced with plastic? I say that they have taken too much off, and added too much expense. it takes too much investment to get into a small lightweight truck like the ranger compared to say a 1997 ranger when it was new and more of a truck IMO. These little boogers are expensive now!
Do I still love them? Of course I do
However anyone who has bought a few over time is going to notice a lot more plastic and a lot more cost V/S the truck we got in the 90's.