Overall, this truck is nothing special, no more than average. I bought it nearly 3 years ago. I immediately had to get the transmission fixed as it leaked oil. This is a very common and well documented problem in mid-90's Ford Truck manual transmissions. Read all about it here:
The engine also burns oil, about 1.5 quarts every 3000 miles.
At 100,000 miles I had to replace the clutch, clutch master cylinder, clutch slave cylinder.
Don't waste your money and time on the 3.0 L engine - it's not worth it. The power is not amazing, more like barely adequate. If you really need the HP, get the 4.0. The problem is that the gas mileage isn't that great. I get ~ 17 mpg, and that's after I replaced both of the O2 sensors. So if you need gas mileage, I'd get the 2.5 L, and if you need HP, I'd get the 4.0 L. This engine is really the worst of both worlds.
When I used to drive this truck in cold weather, the brakes would hang up sometimes. When you pushed the brake pedal, it would brake very jerky and hard.
Speaking of cold weather, the 2wd is undriveable in any real snow. I had 300 lbs. of sand over the rear axle and very nice brand new tires, and I still had to call in to work whenever it snowed. The tires spin and rear end swings around at the first sign of any real snow. I also have problems when it rains hard.
I've also had problems with the tail-lights. They get moisture in them and stop working.
First of all, for anyone considering buying a B-series, be aware that any Mazda truck built after 1993 is a re-badged Ford Ranger.
I'll start with the good. The car doesn't leak any oil or coolant, although I had to fix a transmission leak. It always starts, it idles good, A/C still works, interior has held up. I drove this car on a 2000+ mile trip hauling a trailer, probably totalling around 3,000 lbs. of stuff. I was able to make it without problems, but I BARELY made it. Driving through the mountains I had the truck in 3rd with the pedal on the floor. I couldn't maintain highway speeds in 5th. But, I made it.
Overall, this truck is nothing special, no more than average.
Better looks than Ford counterpart.
Parts are easily available since it's mechanically identical to a Ford Ranger.
Not a Mazda - it's a Ford.
Interior has held up OK, but it's crappy plastic.
Not a good powertrain. Engine burns oil and transmission / clutch needed work at 100,000 miles.
Poor handling in bad weather, even with good tires and sand over the rear axle.