2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Bob McHugh

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2008 Mazda B-Series

Surrey, British Columbia – A small pickup truck is a very handy vehicle to have around. That couch or appliance you want to move, that bookcase on sale you’ve been eyeing, those messy gardening supplies, that renovation project or that long overdue trip to the dump – all a lot easier when you have a little truck.

The Mazda B-Series is a reasonably-priced, fuel-efficient little truck that just might be the ticket. It comes with two-wheel or four-wheel drive, and there’s a choice of three engines, two cab configurations and three trim levels.

And just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s not tough. The little B-Series truck is built on a sturdy ladder-style chassis with fully boxed frame rails. Up front, it has an independent, double-wishbone front suspension with a stabilizer bar. At the back, it has a rigid rear axle, which is attached to the frame with leaf springs – a typical truck setup.

2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup. Click image to enlarge

A change for ’08, the ride height on 4×2 Dual Sport and 4×4 models has been reduced by 16 millimetres, and 4x4s receive new front and rear 35-mm shocks.

The base B2300 is powered by 2.3-litre, 143-hp four-cylinder engine. It’s currently the most fuel-efficient truck on the market, a recipient of the EnerGuide award from the Canadian government. Drawbacks to this fuel-miser are that it only comes in two-wheel drive and a regular cab configuration with a 60/40 split bench seat inside. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic transmission is an option.

On the plus side, standard equipment in the B2300 includes four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and a sliding rear window. A tire-pressure-monitoring system, auxiliary audio-input jack and an MP3-compatible CD player are also included.

A move up to the popular B3000 gives a lot more choices. Powered by a 3.0-litre V6 engine that produces 148 hp, it comes in an extended cab bodystyle. Called the Dual Sport model, it has body-coloured door handles, bumpers, front grille surround and lower front fascia, fog lights and rear jump seats. A standard Class III hitch receiver on Cab Plus and 4×4 models is also a new ’08 feature.

2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup. Click image to enlarge

In addition, a factory-installed Sirius satellite radio is now part of an optional Power Package and SE+ Package (4×4 models). The Power Package is available on the B3000 Dual Sport model and standard on the B4000 Dual Sport model. The SE+ Package is available on B4000 4×4 models.

The B4000 is only offered in an extended-cab (Cab Plus) configuration and comes in two-wheel-drive Dual Sport or a four-wheel-drive SE version. The 4.0-litre V6 engine can produce 207 hp and 238 ft.-lb. of torque and has the highest towing capability of all the B-Series trucks.

If you see a similarity to the Ford Ranger, that’s not surprising as the Mazda truck is a close relative. While the Ranger and B-Series share the same chassis and mechanical stuff, there are plenty of styling differences – the hood and front grille are different and the Mazda has more pronounced flaring at the wheels.

Interior impressions

2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup. Click image to enlarge

My test truck was a B4000, which is the only version that offers front bucket seats. They are real bucket seats with generous side bolsters on both the cushion, as well as the seat back, to hold you firmly in place. Otherwise there were no surprises inside – it’s simple and workmanlike.

There are lots of storage areas to put stuff and I particularly liked the big, well-padded centre arm rest. When equipped with the optional SE+ Package, the B4000 also comes with a nice, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Access to the rear is via two rear hinged doors that are overlapped by the front doors when closed. The rear flip-down seats are not really viable adult seating positions and there are some safety concerns for children using them, too.

The B4000 has two frontal airbags for the driver and front passenger, but no side or side curtain bags. The outboard mounts for the front seatbelts are on the rear door and the front passenger seat is the only possible position for a child seat. So, with a child seat in place, access to the rear is sealed on that side.

In fact, this is not a small-kid friendly vehicle. The rear seats are unusable for any type of child seat and the front bench seat (in the B2300 & B3000) is probably a better choice than the high-back front bucket seats in our test B4000. Most child seats will likely require a tether extension in order to reach over the high back and down to the anchor at the base of the seat back.

Driving impressions

Tight and rattle-free, the B4000 is an impressively rigid little truck that feels very solid on the road. The ride, as you might expect, is firm and you sit high in the short wheelbase vehicle, so you do feel the bumps.

2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup
2008 Mazda B4000 pickup. Click image to enlarge

The 4.0-litre V6 is tuned to pull, not to fly, and can produce an impressive 238 ft.-lb. of torque at just 3,000 r.p.m. It also allows the B4000 to attain the highest towing capability of the B-Series line. The 4×2 B4000 is rated at 2,614 kilograms (5,760 lb.) and the 4×4 with an automatic is rated at 2,540 kg (5,600 lb.).

On the other hand, there’s a significant (about 50 per cent) variance in fuel economy between a B4000 4×4 and a B2300 4X2: the B4000 4X4 offers 15.4 L/100 km (18 m.p.g.) city and 11.6 L/100 km (24 m.p.g.) (highway) while the B2300 4X2 rates 9.9 L/100 km (29 m.p.g.) city and 7.5 L/100 km (38 m.p.g.) (highway).

With its bigger engine and drive system, the B4000 is about 295 kg (650 lb.) heavier. Yet it doesn’t change the maximum payload rating which is 572 kg (1,260 lb.) for all versions of the B-Series truck.

In deciding which B-Series to buy, consider the primary reason why you need a truck – it’s easy to get swayed by all the possible, occasional uses and end up with more truck than you really need.


A price leader in the small-pickup category, the versatile Mazda B-series can be a fuel-frugal utility truck, a powerful puller or a capable off-roader.

Pricing: 2008 Mazda B4000 SE

  • Base price: $22,375
  • Options: $3,415 (Five-speed automatic transmission, $1,400; SE + Package, $2,015: Power door mirrors, Power door locks, Power windows, Keyless entry (with 2 transmitters), Cruise Control, Tilt steering, Sirius Satellite Radio, Sport Bucket seats, Leather wrapped steering wheel)
  • Freight: $1,390
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Price as tested: $27,280 Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives


  • Click here for complete specifications

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