I had to chime in here....
I bought a '00 Ranger X-Cab 4x4 3.0L back in Jan, '00.(It was my first truck, gimme a break...
) I had a problem at about 15k miles(about 8 months) with my speedo bouncing. No big deal right? WRONG! Something, somewhere was causing the auto tranny to downshift because of the bouncing speedo. Not good to downshift a few gears when you are doing 70 down the highway
. I was in and out of the dealer 5 times for this problem. It was off and on in the beginning and then got way worse as time went by. It would work for a week or three after they looked at it then crap out again. Vehicle speed sensors, cable harnesses, and bunch of other fun goodies were replaced and still, no fix. Well, I finally got rid of the POS in Jan 01 for an Escape(shoulda known better) but I was young an dumb and had a buncha problems with that cheap piece of plastic too.
Finally grew a brain in Apr 02 and bought a brand new Taco. I can tell you now, I have never been so happy with a vehicle in my life. It rides great, decent offroad(it's still stock) and has been essentially problem free(darn parking brake levers).
So I would say, drop the extra $$ on a Taco. Well worth every penny. You don't want to know the maintenance guys by their first names like I did at the Ford dealership.
PS-I saw my old Ranger about 1 year after I traded it in(my scratch for the dealer was still on the door) and it was still having the same problem(I talked to the new owner, poor guy).