actually it looks to me like the might need help finding the right truck for him and with current trucks if its even worth it considering what he already has.
Just a little advice from me on the subject (and if it is a ad shame on you
I would NOT go to a newer s-10, as underpowered as the older ones were they were definetly the strongest. I currently have a 01 s-10 4cyl. and in the last year ive spent over 1000 dollars on upkeep alone.. that doesnt count tune-ups and oil changes. It is hugely underpowered and only gets about 20mpg on average. The 3rd door latch, the seat adjuster and the rearview mirror has fallen off(all known issues with the s-10). And im on the 2nd cat conv., you cant reach anything in the engine compartment, so even changing the plug takes extreme effort. As far as looks go I love it. For a mini truck that is my daily driver i couldnt be happy with appearance inside and out. However Im about to trade it in for a cherokee and cant wait until that day. To answer your question however... If your looking for fuel economy go for the mazda. The dependability will be better in the long run and usually imports do have more power for the mileage. As far as it being an import it is just a rebadged ford. And i personally think they look just about as good.
Not trying to tell you what to do. just a warning and my 2cents.