Mazda’s B-Series compact pickup truck line continues almost unchanged into 2005. It’s available in two-wheel or four-wheel-drive, with a choice of three engines, two cab configurations and three trim levels.
While Mazda used to make trucks for Ford, Ford now makes them for Mazda: the B-Series is a twin to the Ford Ranger. Two body styles are offered: a three-passenger regular cab, and an extended “Cab Plus” model with two small rear-hinged access doors. The extended cab becomes a five-passenger when its two rear jump seats are folded down, but they’re too uncomfortable to be anything other than short-haul for adults. They’re fine for older children, but must not be used with infant or child seats.
The B2300 uses a 2.3-litre four-cylinder; the B3000 uses a 3.0-litre V6, while the B4000 carries a 4.0-litre V6. A five-speed manual transmission and optional five-speed automatic are offered on all trucks. The B2300 and B3000 are two-wheel-drive, while the B4000 can be ordered with four-wheel-drive with an electronically-controlled shift-on-the-fly transfer case. The 2.3-litre is only in the regular cab; the 3.0-litre V6 is available in regular or Cab Plus, and the 4.0-litre is Cab Plus only.
The B-Series can be ordered from a bare-bones work model to more civilized trucks featuring sport bucket seats, power accessories, leather-wrapped wheel and air conditioning.
The Mazda B-Series is a small truck compared to much of the competition, which has bulked up to midsize. Still, shorter drivers may find that the Mazda’s seating position still favours larger owners; those with shorter legs may have difficulty with the clutch, and a tilt wheel is only available on the B4000. The Mazda is an older design and lacks much of the refinement available in other models, but its low prices are very appealing if you don’t want a truck that thinks it’s a luxury car.
The B-Series is built in Twin Cities, Minnesota.