2003 B2300 New Car Test Drive
Based on the Ford Ranger, Mazda's pickup trucks are solidly engineered and sophisticated. They offer the most powerful engine in the compact-truck class.
If you need attitude, opt for the Dual Sport 4x2 pre-runner truck. Or consider the new 4x4 Off-Road package, with bed rail caps, tubular step plates, all-terrain tires, a compass, and other important wilderness accessories. like a stereo that plays CDs and MP3s.
Incidentally, don't refer to the Mazda pickups as the B-Series any more. They are now simply called Mazda Trucks.
That said, Mazda still offers its Truck in three trim levels designated B2300, B3000, and B4000.
B2300 is the price-leading, 2WD base model, at $12,840. Power is provided by a 2.3-liter dohc four-cylinder engine that debuted last January (2001). B2300 comes only with the Regular Cab, and on the standard wheelbase of 112 inches. A five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock brake (ABS), tachometer, variable intermittent wipers and a sliding rear window are all standard, as are dual de-powered air bags (with a key-operated passenger-side deactivation switch), anti-theft immobilizer, and a spare-tire lock. A $1,595 package called SE-5 upgrades the B2300 with air conditioning, cloth seats, full carpeting, carpeted floor mats, a CD player and styled steel wheels. Air conditioning alone costs $805.
Next up in the 2WD line is the B3000 Dual Sport, powered by a 3.0-liter overhead-valve V6, and riding higher on its pre-runner style suspension. Additional amenities range from air conditioning to an upgraded stereo to two front tow hooks. Color-matched (rather than black) bumpers provide instant identification. At this level you can choose a Regular Cab ($15,470) or a two-door extended Cab Plus ($17,890), the latter on a wheelbase of 125 inches.
The top level in 2WD is the B4000 Dual Sport ($19,685), available only with a four-door Cab Plus cabin. B4000 is powered by a 4.0-liter sohc V6 introduced last year (2001). This husky overhead-cam engine ripples with 207 horsepower. No other compact truck can quite match its muscle (except the Ford Ranger, which shares the same engine). The big V6 puts power under the driver's toes for hauling a load or powering up steep grades. The same goes for the B4000's trailer-towing capacity of 5900 pounds, which comes close to the top of its class. A limited-slip differential, larger fuel tank, and Class III trailer hitch are all standard.
Four-wheel drive is offered only on B3000 two-door Cab Plus ($20,375) and B4000 four-door Cab Plus ($22,430). B4000 has skid plates for its fuel tank and transfer case.
Any Mazda Truck can be dressed up with the $695 Convenience Package, which includes a bed liner, bed extender, cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel on a tilt steering column. The Power Package ($795) includes power windows, locks and mirrors plus remote keyless entry.
The new Off-Road Package ($1,350), available only on B4000 4x4s, adds 31x10.5R15 white-outline tires, side step tubes and bed rail caps, plus bucket seats, a center console, CD and MP3 player, automatic-dimming mirror with compass, and a unique Platinum Frost paint color.
A five-speed automatic transmission (an unusual touch of sophistication for a compact truck) costs $1,000. Stand-alone truck trimmings include a bed liner ($235), tonneau cover ($330), box rail covers ($140), flip-out cargo bed extender ($295), and side step tubes ($370).