I have onwned my Ranger for over a year now after purchasing from the original owner who kept detailed records and never had a major problem. I did put a motor in after an oil pump failure at 180K, I believe due to the limited mileage and it was being driven and waiting 5K miles between oil changes. I also replaced the original clutch at this time. Still gets at least 22 mpg with mosty city driving, but I could improve on that easily. Lacks power (2.3) but will haul small loads and is a joy to drive.
Mileage, ease to work on, price of parts.
Avoid 2.9 V6 there is a design flaw in the cooling system, but 3.0 and 2.3 are great engines. Also avoid automatics as most of them are prone to failure. Woul prefer a little more room in the truck, and more power out of the 2.3, otherwise good truck for the value.