Sharp is arguably one of the leaders of infrared distance measurement modules and these modules are very popular within the robotics community. These modules have a detection distance of 1 to 5.5 m with an analog output voltage that can be directly fed into a microcontroller ADC. The exact part number is: GP2Y0A710K0F.
This unit is kind of a monster. It's larger than you'd normally expect an infrared range sensor to be. That said, I haven't really seen it around outside of Japan so it might be interesting to check out.
These units have a JST connector and come with the matching pigtail connector wires.