Pros: Reliable, durable, short distance hauler
Cons: Bumpy ride, long distances not the best
This is a great utility hauler for general purposes, moving, towing small rigs, debris etc. Automatic shifts smothly and reliably so far, going on 85,000 miles. Gas mileage is acceptable and highly dependent on weight towed/hauled.
PURPOSE OF FORD/MAZDA TRUCK :
As noted above, this is a general hauler for just about anything you could imagine. We have used it for moving items, borrowing items, returning things from near and far. It has been reliable enough to use as a secondary commuter over the course of ownership and seems like it will continue to provide good usefulness after it no longer is used as a secondary commuting vehicle.
The best thing about this truck is that we can obviously place large/bulky items for transport easily in the bed of the vehicle. It serves this primary purpose well, and if we one day decide to buy a shell, it can be locked down for more secure transport at that time. Right now, because the bed is a little bit higher that other pickup trucks, there is a small degree of security offered from the casual passerby who does not look into the bed for small items left by us.
The model we purchased has a sliding rear window that allows air to circulate freely, as the cab does heat up quickly on hot days. The air conditioning system is also fairly adept at cooling the cab down, but I find it to be too dry and uncomfortable for long trips, really any trip longer than an hour is too long to use the a/c as the humidity drops too far into the uncomfortable range after more than a few minutes in a small area like the truck cab. Therefore having fresh air circulating is a big plus, or you could cycle the a/c on and off with the vent option, but that's a bit convoluted way to regulate humidity.
The cab is also fairly comfortable on short trips with supportive seats, but the suspension again is not terribly good for long outings. On a drive longer than an hour or two you would be advised to take a rest stop to stretch and also if you are carrying a load, to check that load for shifting / safetly and just take a break from the rattle that is sure to accompany a heavy load.
Driving with a heavy load is actually not much different in handling, aside from the bounce, than a weighed down car sedan. In some situations, the load actually provides a better ride quality than an unloaded vehicle. This is noticeable at freeway speeds, more than any other time.
The chief dislikes are the inherent attributes of any pickup truck, namely, the small cab, the lack of cab storage and comfort during transit. Rattle while driving is also a major downside if you can't find any music to cover over the noise while hauling a load through an isolated stretch of road.
Out and about, the errands that can be run for this vehicle are limited by the lack of being able to secure items in the bed without purchase of a lockbox or camper. This makes running assorted errands difficult when you need to stop at several shops and those items won't fit into the cab area.
After several long trips with cargo and countless local trips the Ford Pickup or Mazda B2000 equivalent has proven to be a great general purpose hauler.
Overall mileage is highly variable as to be expected by load. Reliability has been good, with only required maintenance done, no major mechanical defects or repairs were needed. We really liked the durability over the years and would not hesitate to buy again.