Towing 16-18 foot jon boat
Would a V-6 (the smaller 3 liter) Ford Ranger 4x2 have enough ass to do this reliably?
Yep no problem.
I towed a 3,200 lb boat with a Dakota for quite a few years. Just remember when you feel the overdrive going in and out a lot to turn it off to save your transmission and allow for additional stopping distances due to weight.
Cool, thats good news. Want to get another truck, but prices are really up there. Dont even want to think about fueling a bigger one either.
You shouldn't have a problem what so ever.
Heck I used to move mine around by hand , they don't weigh much . Your V6 Ranger will have no problem , be careful when you put in at muddy places with that 4x2 . Don't back so far that your truck's rear tires get stuck in the mud.
Yeah it will work fine. My Mazda B3000 (same truck) has pulled heavier trailers. It definately dogs a bit with a heavier trailer but a medium size aluminum boat isn't really that heavy. A heavily loaded 15 ft cargo trailer or a large pop up camper does make a noticable difference.