I also have a plow on my ranger, its a sno-way 6'8 predator. I would like to think that the pre '97 ranger is best for this. I don't know if I'd trust IFS and CV joints for front axles, at least the TTB can take the abuse. Its also alot easier to install a leveling kit for the added weight. You can buy really tough U-joints, I dont think you have the same option on a CV axle...IDK...? tho, never had any CV axles.
I did alot of custom fab work on my setup tho. All in all I have about 1,500 into everything, fabbing up the mount, building bumpers and lights bars, Plow lights, etc..