Ford has completely redesigned its Ranger. It's the most popular compact pickup on the market today and this new one is arguably the best. The 1998 Ford Ranger offers responsive handling on the highway, impressive suspension performance off road and a comfortable ride everywhere. The Ranger has always been a capable truck in the dirt, but the new one is even better, a benefit of a redesigned chassis based on the Ford Explorer. We drove a Ranger 4x4 in the Hungry Valley off-road park northwest of Los Angeles. Rough, sandy roads failed to upset this truck even when it was driven quickly through rutted corners. But what was really surprising was its impressive handling and steering response on paved mountain roads. After spending a few hours in the new Ranger, we were lulled into thinking we'd climbed into a sports sedan. A more rigid chassis, a new front suspension, a redesigned interior, improved engines, new styling and, on 4x4 models, a clever new four-wheel-drive system are elements that add up to a great truck.