April 24, 2009
2009 Mazda B4000. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Review and photos by Greg Wilson
2009 Mazda B-Series
North Vancouver, British Columbia – I have often wondered why the majority of Canadian truck owners buy such huge pickup trucks. Do they really need all that payload and towing capacity? Do they really require a gas-guzzling behemoth with the aerodynamics of a brick for a trip to Home Depot?
My guess is, “No, not really.” For typical hauling and towing tasks like moving, renovating, gardening, or towing a small trailer, a small pickup is all that’s really needed – especially if, like the Mazda B-Series, it’s available with an optional V6 engine with a decent amount of torque.
Compact trucks have other advantages too: better fuel economy, superior maneuvrability, and a cheaper price-tag. Given the current economic downturn, the lower cost of ownership is a big plus for truck buyers looking for cheaper, more fuel-efficient alternatives.
At the moment, the Ford Ranger and its Mazda sibling, the B-Series, are the smallest pickups available on the market – most of their compact competitors from Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota and Nissan have morphed into mid-size trucks over the years.
Aside from some minor styling differences and different options, the Mazda B-Series is the same truck as the Ford Ranger and is built in the same plant in Twin Cities, Minnesota. Whether you choose Ford or Mazda will probably come down to the price you can negotiate, since both companies are now offering discounts and financing incentives on their versions.
For the 2009 model year, Mazda B-Series pickups come with two available engines instead of three: a standard 143-horsepower 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine (B2300) or optional 207-hp V6 (B4000). The 148-hp 3.0-litre V6 (B3000) has been discontinued this year.
Available transmissions are a five-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic with column shifter.
Four-cylinder B2300s are offered in base SX trim with a Regular Cab bodystyle and rear-wheel drive (4X2) only; V6-powered B4000 trucks are offered in new DS (Dual Sport) trim in extended cab (Cab Plus) 4X2, and in Cab Plus SE trim 4X4. A crew cab is not offered.