Not the most powerful 4 cylinder but definitely one of the most reliable and low cost vehicles that have been produced. Bought new in early 1995 as a leftover, I can say it fit the bill for my needs. Regular maintenance is all that has been required. I still have original clutch and alternator at close to 24 years and 230000 miles.
94 ranger 375k miles 2.3 liter 4 cyl. 5 speed manual. in south carolina. only non original parts 1 brake caliper, muffler,clutch replaced at 370k. tires and brake pads plugs and wires still an everyday drive and cant wait for them to be rereleased in 2019 maybe get good trade in on mine.
I have the Mazda badged version of the '94 Ranger (B3000), identical except for body cosmetics. Bought it used w/ 75K miles almost 20 years ago, now has 183K. The 3.0 V6 is pretty anemic, especially climbing hills on the freeway (often I have to downshift to 3rd gear), but gets job done. Truck is super reliable -- replaced 5-spd. manual trans at around 130K, because grease monkey at lube joint didn't tighten drain plug, or fill up after draining. Costs: $700 for rebuilt trans found online and $200 installation with mechanic friend. Compare that to the $4K or $5K it takes to replace a modern auto trans in many vehicles. But you can't find manual trans anymore... brakes, shocks, wheel bearings, master cylinder, idler pulley and tires have been replaced -- normal wear and tear for a vehicle this old. I was thinking of getting something newer, but the horror stories of maintenance with these computerized wonders terrifies me ($1500 to fix power sliding doors on minivans, $9K to replace sensor deep in the bowels of a Toyota engine... it goes on and on). I decided to keep this "antiquated" jewel until it collapses into heap of scrap metal -- simplicity and cheap maintenance are values I do not care to sacrifice for any level of costly, power-assisted, processor-driven convenience!
I bought mine new and as a young driver, really put it to the test. It was honestly driven like it was rented--it 'may' have even gone a bit airborne at one point, it was off-roaded plenty, and it really stood up. It hit a deer at highway speed and the body held up -impressively-, just needing a headlight and the grille replaced. It was also rear ended a few times and not only was I never injured, but it rarely needed repairs. It was a small tank. It had the inline 4 engine, manual transmission, and no power windows or locks and it was fun to drive. It had approximately 200K on it when one of the engine cylinders developed a problem but we kept driving it anyway with the three functioning and it did just fine. It was pretty good in weather given it was a 2WD small pickup but it was also pretty reliable. We had to put a new starter into it in later years and at about 180K I think we had to replace a couple of the gears in the transmission and the clutch. The parking brake did go out on it around 200K miles as well as the A/C. The A/C wasn't a big deal because it had the rear slider. One of the leaf springs went when it was around 15 years old and the rear differential was the final nail in the coffin at around 225K miles. It's a great starter vehicle because it takes a BEATING and keeps going. I did a lot of trips that were 3-4 hours long though and it was quite comfortable to ride in. The fuel economy was pretty good, even to the end.