By KBB.com Editors
Although the 2008 Mazda B-Series pickup bears the Mazda nameplate, it is actually a thinly disguised Ford Ranger. As Mazda does not build trucks for the U.S. market and Ford is its parent company, the economic advantage of this arrangement should be obvious to all. Available in Regular Cab and Extended Cab Plus 4 configurations, the compact B-Series trucks compete well with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, but are no match for the larger and more powerful trucks from Nissan, Dodge and Toyota.You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a compact pickup that is inexpensive to own and operate, but want something a bit more stylish than the Ford Ranger, the 2008 Mazda B-Series is your best bet.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you need a pickup to haul heavy loads or transport four people on a regular basis, you may want to look at one of the larger mid-size or full-size V8-powered choices.What's Significant About This Car?
B2300 models receive upgraded shock absorbers, while the B4000 SE receives a front suspension skid plate. The B3000 has been discontinued.Driving It Driving Impressions
The B-Series with four-wheel drive makes a great off-road warrior, as its high ground clearance and compliant double-wishbone front suspension allow it to move over almost any barrier. The four-wheel-drive system is easily engaged by merely pressing a button on the dash. Once engaged, the two-speed transfer case allows choosing between four-wheel high or four-wheel low. The B-Series' four-wheel-drive system is intended only for off-road use or very slippery surfaces and cannot be permanently engaged during normal driving.Favorite Features
Sporty Interior Trim
The B-Series' sporty interior trim is in keeping with the Mazda image.
A new grille brightens the base B-Series.
The B-Series puts the Mazda sport treatment onto the base Ranger interior. Seats have a richer pattern and the instrument panel features white-faced gauges and a revised center stack. Cab Plus 4 models provide space behind the seats for luggage or groceries. The flip-down jump seats are best used for short trips only.Exterior
To set the B-Series apart from the Ford Ranger, Mazda performs a front-end freshening, with more brightwork around the grille and headlamps and a raised "power dome" hood. The Regular Cab and extended Cab Plus 4 models feature six-foot beds with an optional fold-out bed extender.Notable Standard Equipment
The base B-Series truck includes a 143-horsepower 2.3-liter engine, a five-speed manual transmission, anti-lock brakes (ABS), two front cup holders, dual side mirrors, AM/FM stereo, cloth split-bench seat, power steering, tachometer and steel wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Trim levels for the B-Series include the B2300 and B4000. You can order your B-Series with four-wheel drive, a five-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power locks, sliding rear window, cruise control, keyless entry, 4.0-liter V6 (SE), limited-slip rear differential, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear tonneau cover.Under the Hood
The standard 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine is geared toward the economy-mindedthose who use their trucks for light-duty hauling and around-town driving. With the five-speed manual, the 2.3 performs adequately, although you have to get it past 4000 rpm to feel any inspired acceleration. While we prefer the 4.0-liter V6 for its power and smoothness, it is available only with the four-wheel-drive extended Cab Plus 4 models.
2.3-liter in-line 4
143 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
154 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/26 (manual), 19/24 (automatic)
207 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
238 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 (manual), 14/17 (automatic)
The two-wheel-drive B-Series Regular Cab's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $16,000, while the four-wheel-drive Extended Cab Plus 4 starts just over $22,500. A look at the Fair Purchase Price will show you what others in your area are paying for the B-Series, so be sure to check it out before you set out to purchase. The Mazda B-Series is not a particularly high-selling vehicle, so its resale is somewhat on the low side.