Had a '97 regular cab 2.7l and '99 ext cab V6 auto trans both 4wd. I really liked the 2.7l in the '97 with the manual. It came with 31x10.50 tires and would go anywhere my TJ Wranglers of the era would go. Liked the manual hubs and manual transfer case shifter because it would go into 4 low in 2wd. They were simple good trucks. I don't believe the current gen of Taco even comes close.
OK This is my 1999 Taco that still looks brand new. 147,000 miles on it. I have or almost always had 3 vehicles. The toyota, my Yamaha FZ6 and a Ford Fusion Hybrid. I traded the Fusion on my Ranger and really love it. I still have the taco and will probably never get rid of it. It has the 3.4L V6 and hauls ass. That being said I love my Ranger and it's so much easier towing my tent trailer. I probably will never get rid of it either. The old taco's were great and from what I gather the new ones are not so good. Everyone has there own opinion.