What once was an energetic partnership between Mazda and Ford has slowly decomposed into an automotive history sidebar. The B-Series is now just a two-vehicle lineup based on the Ford Ranger, which is the oldest compact-truck platform on the market.
Production of the Ranger and B-Series was scheduled to end by 2010, but high gas prices rekindled interest in a lightweight truck with a gas-sipping four-cylinder engine. Mazda offers a B2300 regular cab 4x2 and a B4000 Cab Plus 4x4. Both come with 6-foot-long cargo beds. There are no trim levels and few options for either truck.
The best selling points for the B-Series are the low prices, petite size and fuel economy. The B2300 gets an EPA-estimated 21/26 mpg city/ highway, which is the best among all pickup trucks.
New for 2009
Most of the changes for 2009 involve deletions. The high-end Cab Plus 4x4 SE model is discontinued. Mazda also dropped four exterior colors, and the AM/FM radio has fewer station presets. A Class III trailer hitch is now standard.
While the silhouette is identical, the B-Series is easily distinguished from the Ranger by the Mazda grille emblem. The truck has a sturdy stance and simple character lines. Those who want to spend the money can find plenty of dress-up items to personalize the appearance.
- Chromed bumper, "bright" grille optional on B2300
- 15-inch wheels for both trucks
- Available factory bedliner
- Mudguards standard on B4000
- Tow hitch includes trailer wiring
It's a no-frills truck designed for working-class heroes; no power windows or door locks. Air conditioning is standard on the B4000 but optional on the B2300. There's a cloth-trimmed front bench seat with vinyl flooring in the B2300 and carpet in the B4000. Interior storage is adequate.
- Available AM/FM/CD audio in regular cab
- Available tilt steering in regular cab
Under the Hood
- 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter inline-four-cylinder with an aluminum block and cylinder head, dual overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder and 154 pounds-feet of torque
- 207-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 with an iron block and aluminum cylinder head, single overhead camshaft, two valves per cylinder and 238 pounds-feet of torque
- Five-speed manual transmission standard
- Five-speed automatic transmission available
The B-Series offers the basics and little more. There are dual front airbags, three-point seat belts in the outboard positions and side-impact door beams.
Other safety features include:
- Front seat belt pretensioners with force limiters
- Passenger-side airbag deactivation switch
- Roadside assistance standard
Of Interest to Truck Owners
- Gross vehicle weight rating: 5,140 pounds (cab plus)
- Maximum payload capacity: 1,260 pounds
- Maximum towing capacity: 5,600 pounds (B4000, automatic)
- Axle ratio: 4.10:1 (automatic, 4x4 manual), 3.73:1 (4x2 manual)
- Transfer-case low range: 2.48:1
- Minimum ground clearance: 6.7 inches (regular cab), 7.9 inches (Cab Plus)
- Approach angle: 21 degrees (regular cab), 28 degrees (cab plus)
- Departure angle: 15 degrees (regular cab), 20 degrees (cab plus)
- Fuel Tank: 16.5-gallons
- Cargo bed load height: 31 inches
- Cargo bed floor length: 71.8 inches
- Cargo bed floor width: 52 inches
- Cargo bed floor width at wheel well: 40.4 inches
- Cargo bed depth: 16.5 inches