This was my first vehicle and i wouldn't trade it for any other out there. Standard maintenance is simple and cheap, and this is pretty much the cheapest vehicle out there to insure. It is also amazingly reliable and fun to drive. It is a real economy vehicle (mine has no power steering, power windows, power locks, rear bumper, A/C, bucket seats, etc.), but it's still so much fun, especially with a manual transmission. Note though that it only makes all of 93 rip roaring horsepower. Oh, and the suspension is virtually non-existent.
Great looks. Tons of customization parts available. Uber reliable. Cheap parts. Lots to customize. Better gas mileage than any other truck. Cheap insurance. Easy to find one with a manual tranny.
Change oxygen sensor if it's old (I gained 15% better fuel economy with an efi engine). Swap in 2.2l turbo engine from late '88-'92 mx6/626/probe (same block, I'm currently doing this). Bucket seats. Wider tires (225/60r16) for better grip. About 300 lbs in bed in winter for traction a must!
i've driven my mazda for five years and 90000 miles now. In all that time, i have done nothing to to truck except change the oil, and at times i've gotten behind on that. with 120000 on the clock, i can't complain about the truck. it gets the job done.
reliability, ease of service. takes about 4 wrenches and 2 screwdrivers to disassemble most of the truck.
COMFORT and engine performance. Now that the Ford sixes are available, this is not a problem.