I purchased my 1997 Ranger XLT Flareside in 2003 with about 60,000 miles.
5 speed manual.
It now has 198,000 miles.
The only time I had any trouble that prevented me from running was around 120,000 when the alternator went out.
That was an easy repair.
Replaced original clutch two years ago around 175,000 miles.
Instrument cluster lights started going out around 150,000 and are all out now.
I haven't seen a way to get to them besides taking apart the dash.
Door chime issue hasnt' been solved, but I haven't spent time on it.
I believe now the fuel injectors need to be replaced.
Manual transmission, good low end.
Even I can change the oil myself.
Handles good enough even in the snow (add extra wt. over rear axle and slow down).
Runs well on highway.
So far has always started and run with one exception above.
If Ford could produce this exact model again (I wish they would), chase away the electrical ghosts.
Figure out a way to keep the radiator support panel from rusting out.