The dealer I test drove the Ranger at has it discounted for $30225. Additional discounts are available for college grads, first responders and 95' and up Ford/Mercury/Lincoln owners; none of which I qualify for.
The truck has the rear electronic locking diff and cruise control, both are a must. I don't care for the steel wheels and I don't care the the rear seats. There is a delete option for no rear seats but that would pretty much require placing a custom order. This will be a cash / paid in full purchase if I buy it. I'm more concerned about getting what I want and liking it. I will be test driving a Colorado this evening and will report back.
Have you considered a Tacoma? The TRD Offroad checks those options and even has a 6 speed manual option for roughly $35K. Not just recommending that because I own one, but I believe it would work for your situation. The seating position might not suit you though, it takes some getting used to.