I am looking to replace my 2000 Ranger 4.0 4x4 automatic with something a bit newer that gets better than the 15-18mpg I routinely see driving around town (65% highway 70mph, 35% stop and go).
I am finding myself looking a lot at 2005+ Tacoma trucks with the 2.7L with 5 speed manual.
I am curious what else I should be looking at? Figure $15K budget for something with around 50K-75K miles.
Occasional towing/hauling of light loads, commuting, weekend warrior, home DIY, camping all around decent truck.
My current Ranger has performed admirably for 167,000+ miles and continues to do so, but is very much in the second half of it's life as opposed to the first. Despite being paid for, I am finding it very frustrating that I cannot get close to 20mpg, much less over that figure.
I have considered small SUV's, econoboxes, etc, but find it hard to match the versatility and utility of a truck; I really would like to have cake and eat it too (4x4 truck plus decent fuel economy plus reasonable purchase price).