The Nissan 2.4 has to be the most capable grunty work horse I have ever owned. Considering its size, it's like a Mini Pincher dog (all attitude and willing to take on larger dogs) HAHA!!
The 5 spd manual is smooth and well built. Winter driving in this 2wd is doable with 300 lbs of sand in the back. Good tires are a MUST! I have the Cooper CS4 touring tires rated at 80,000 miles.
Steering is smooth and responsive. Not a sports car, but better than my Cadillac.
Suspension is a little stiff, but it's a truck. I keep forgetting though, because it corners like a sports car. I'm thinking about getting some Monroe Sense A Tracks to help with the ride.
MPG is decent considering the HardBody 2.4 is a real truck motor (timing chain). I realized that with any vehicle, if you keep your foot off the floor, the EPA MPG rating is on par.
Working on this little guy is a breeze. The engine bay is what every car manufacturer should strive to do. Plenty of room for my big hands. Replacement parts are plentiful and reasonable for being Japanese. If you can afford it, then use Nissan or Napa parts. Most parts from the dealer are either made in Japan, or the good Ol' USA.
The only inherited issues with the 2.4 are that the plastic timing chain guides become brittle over time and will break, thus allowing the chain to rattle on start up for about 3 seconds until oil pressure builds. Everyone I talked to says it's harmless. The parts manager at my dealership ran his to 300,000 with no ill effects. I use Nissan oil filters with the patented anti-drain back valve. It seems to be helping. Every MFG has its own quirks. Yes, even Honda is not perfect. Remember, cars are machines that are designed by fault riddled humans.
Long story short... I would buy another HardBody in a second. I'm currently looking for a 93-97 HB 4x4. They are hard to find with low miles. I wonder why? :) I over paid for this truck, but hey it has lived up to the HB reputation. If you do light hauling and want a well engineered vehicle, then the HardBody is the one.