It needed a battery once... in 2006. Other than that, I am just now (March 2008) giving it the full on plugs, wires, distributor cap, etc. and it's needed an O2 sensor for a couple years.
But aside from a drastic gas mileage cut (anywhere from 10-14 city, down from the 23 it usually gets), it never failed to start, even in the coldest Ohio winters.
This has been the BEST vehicle I have ever owned, driven or been affiliated with in any way in my 19 years on earth.
I have an extended cab and a long bed, and even still that 4 cylinder gets up, goes and stays there.
Gas mileage (when running right) is about 22/23 city, and its even achieved 34 on the highway.
In its current state of needing general maintenance and such, it's about 20 highway.
As I stated, it has never left me stranded, no matter what the weather. It starts on the first try and purrs like a kitten.
It's surprisingly comfortable. I'm a big guy, and I never have to fiddle around for comfort.
But it is a truck, and it hauls whatever you ask it to without a peep.
If you can pick one of these up with low enough miles affordably, you definitely have a vehicle that will run, and run, and run. And will put up with an incompetent teenage girl who can't drive long vehicles through bank parking lots (my genius sister), and old guys who don't pay attention to other vehicles at the gas station. (hooray for insurance). This truck will be with me and my family for many, many years to come.
Basically, to sum it up. if you're looking for an economical truck to drive and sometimes haul with, this is the truck for you.