When you think of the term “Pickup trucks” usually something American and chrome comes to mind. It’s easy to forget that other manufactures used to make trucks as well, like Izuzu, Nissan, and Mazda. Its equally easy to forget how much fun those little imported trucks were. Well I drove a 1991 Mazda B2200 recently and while behind the wheel, it’s very easy to remember just how fun they are to drive.
The B2200 has, as the name suggests, a 2.2L inline four cylinder under the hood and a five speed manual transmission. While the spunky 2.2L only puts about 90hp to the crank, it’s enough to make the car fun. Essentially, the B2200 is a lifted Miata with a bed. While the steering isn’t as exact (Thanks steering box) nor does it have a low center of gravity of the Miata, acceleration is identical. It’s the same story with the transmission, a notchy and fun stick-shift that makes gear changes a positively anticipated event rather than a chore. The truck feels thin and light, which gives the driver confidence to make tight corners and swift turnarounds.
The interior is bare, but I like it. Parts from the first generation Mazda Rx7 make appearances inside the B2200, such as the door cups, climate control knobs, and steering wheel. It’s easy to fall in love with the retro feel. Besides that, the interior is functional and no flair. A noticeable difference between the Miata and B2200 is the seating position. The B2200 places the driver (and passenger for that matter) in a traditional truck fashion: straight up and down. Not helping, is the bench seat. If you take a corner at any form of speed, be prepared to slide.
I really did love the B2200. In my mind, it’s the perfect run-around little truck for everyday use. No, it can’t tow your fifth wheel camper or pull the side of a building off its foundation. But how often do you really do that?