Firstly, the best car I ever owned wasn’t a car. It was a truck. It was the first vehicle my wife and I purchased together and the first truck I’d ever owned, or even contemplated. It was a 1993 Mazda B2200 and was small as trucks go, but as far as hauling capacity it was way beyond anything I’d owned prior to buying the little truck.
Getting a truck is something my wife had wanted to do for a while and she’d managed to sell me on the idea. We knew we needed a new vehicle since the two we owned were on their last legs.
I managed to do enough research via TV and magazines, in those days before being online, to find that the Mazda was the most highly regarded compact truck on the market. Mazda first introduced their ‘mini-trucks’ in Japan in 1961 and entered the North American market in 1972. The fifth generation of Mazda trucks was instituted in 1985 as the B2000 and became the B2200 two years later. We felt confident about the Mazda because of the truck’s 6 successful model years. A test drive told us our research was accurate.
The B2200 came with a 2.2 litre inline 4 cylinder engine that made a reasonably lively 92 horsepower. We chose to get it with the 5-speed manual transmission that was really smooth and easy to shift, especially relative to the very basic 1983 Pontiac Acadian, with a 4-speed transmission and a shifter more reminiscent of a farm vehicle, we had prior to the truck.
The interior of the B2200 was surprisingly roomy and comfortable and the instruments were easy to read. Most of all, the vehicle was incredibly reliable. The only part that we replaced was a pin in the clutch at about 20,000 kilometres. Aside from that small part the only money spent on the little Mazda was for gas, oil and regular maintenance.
It proved to be a very versatile piece of transportation, easy to maneuver around town and comfortable on the highway. It hauled countless loads of garbage to the dump, renovation material home from the hardware store and took us on many camping and road trips as well (including a monumental 6,500 k trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands and back).
Alas, we ended up having our wonderful little Mazda for only 5 years and 75,000 kilometres. Why wouldn’t we keep a vehicle we loved so much longer than that? As much as we loved our truck, we loved our dogs more and the Mazda just wasn’t roomy enough when we adopted a third canine. We traded it in for the larger Ford F150, a terrific truck to be sure. But it’s certainly no Mazda B2200.