Last year, Mazda took pains to set its B-series truck apart from parent company Ford Motor Co.'s Ranger pickup. You could say the B4000 helped craft a stronger identity for the Japanese automaker, with a leaner body mass, a new logo and sculpted sides. This summer, both the Ranger and the B4000 got even more practical with the addition of four-door models - something the competition still doesn't offer in the compact pickup segment. Our two-wheel-drive 1999 Mazda B4000, which is built on the same New Jersey assembly line as the Ranger, had a sticker price of $21,340. She: If you don't think utility is hot right now, you should have been shopping with me last weekend. I spent Saturday browsing around a college town and look what I bought, honey. He: Dirt? She: "Dirt" perfume by a company called Demeter. I had my choice of that or Tomato, Fig Leaf or Sugar Cookie. He: I like you better without the Fig Leaf. She: But I bought the Dirt. Now that's what I call not fooling around with fancy names or products. Forget Boucheron or L'Air du Temps. In fact, my new fragrance reminded me of that four-door Mazda B4000 compact pickup truck we tested. Rock-solid utility. No pretensions. And the truck made even more sense than Dirt perfume because at least you get tons of use out of what used to be basically a novelty vehicle with only two doors. He: I still like Shalimar a lot better. But I suppose you could use the B4000 to haul your Dirt, right? Actually, we used that Mazda to haul lots of stuff. I always worry about hauling guitars and amplifiers in a pickup bed because they're exposed to the elements, and you can't leave them for fear of having something stolen. The beauty of the four-door B4000 is that you can stash everything in the back seat and lock it up. In a pinch, you can also throw one or two adults back there, although they wouldn't want to travel any great distance in those seats. She: Well, most people don't haul guitars every day, but they do haul coats, purses and briefcases and that's where the four doors really come in handy. You feel like you have a sedan at your disposal, not a sports car. He: You also just put your finger on the B4000's one weakness. The extra set of doors makes this truck a great everyday utility vehicle, except for the ride. Sorry, folks. This still feels like a truck. Which is not to say the ride quality is unbearable, at least not in the standard two-wheel-drive model. On the plus side, the 4.0-liter V-6 provides lots of pep, even with two or three people aboard. Fuel economy is so-so - with only 16 mpg in city driving. She: Going back to my latest purchase - I'm surprised you didn't ask what I paid for it. Only $12. Almost as much of a bargain as the truck. He: That $21,000 sticker on the '99 truck is actually lower than on a comparably equipped '98 model. It's a pretty remarkable price considering all the equipment you get. Our te st model had air conditioning, automatic transmission, power windows and mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilt column, a sliding rear window, a bedliner, an AM/FM stereo with a cassette player and alloy wheels. Try to find a five-passenger sedan with all those amenities, and the payload capacity of the B4000, for 21 grand. She: One nagging concern I have is how you would convince someone to buy this truck over a Ford Ranger. Where's the benefit? I know the Mazda is designed to appeal to loyal import buyers who may not pick a domestic truck as their first choice. If that's the case, those people will probably have no problem with the Mazda.
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Mazda B4000
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
*Invoice prices are made available by Cars.com and are not dealer advertising. All prices are subject to regional variations. Prices last updated 9/23/10. Click here for more information.