I still have my 2001 Ranger for the very reasons that you listed.I have had 3 of the old Rangers and I still have my 2003 Ranger. I really really really hope there is a two-door extended cab version. A tiny bed, four door version just does not do it for me. (Same comments for the Santa Cruz; it looks like it will be four door, tiny bed.) Maybe I will need keep my old Ranger for another few years.
Ford has not been doing very well the last few years. They are mostly follow-the-leader, trying to make one size fit all, and making very few people happy. They do the F-150 (and larger) rather well, but the list stops there. There seems to be a large, waiting market for a compact truck, but not for a sedan with a tiny bed tacked on the back.
I was unhappy that Ford moved the Ranger onto a midsized platform, but, in the beginning of the Ranger's development, I remember reading that they were going to make the Ranger a less expensive truck, which would appeal to people looking for a base work truck. But then somewhere along the line, they decided that there wasn't enough profit in the overseas two door model, so they shucked that idea. The Colorado was priced at 20-21k, so Ford thought that they could move the Ranger to the mid 20's by installing a more powerful powertrain.
I wonder what it'd cost to rebuild the Ranger's ten speed automatic.
'Don't worry,' said Ford, 'we're gonna bring out a truck and slot it below the Ranger.'
But now as the prototypes have come out, we're seeing a sedan with a tiny bed tacked on the back.
Not so great.
If Ford screws up the Maverick, I might be forced into a Ram 1500 Classic; I don't want a full sized truck, but I do want a functioning bed, and I do not want a turbocharged engine. The new F150 starts at 30k, and that price point is absolutely ridiculous.