Vehicle Overview from Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com 2009 Mazda B-Series Truck Overview
Fine wines and a baseball glove are examples of things that improve with age. Sadly, the Mazda B-Series compact truck is not on that list, and for 2009 it simply gets another year older. This is not to say it's a bad pickup -- it's rugged and nimble -- but more modern rivals offer more space, luxury, performance and features. A twin of the Ford Ranger, the Mazda B-Series is a true compact pickup, while its formerly like-sized competitors have grown to become midsize trucks. The Mazda's smaller size is an advantage when tackling tight trails off-road, jockeying with city traffic or parking in crowded lots. The chassis is old but rugged, making the B-Series an acceptable choice for small business owners who just need a basic workhorse or outdoor enthusiasts who need an inexpensive way to enjoy their activities. However, when compared to competitors such as the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier, Suzuki Equator and Toyota Tacoma, the B-Series is hurting when it comes to passenger space, load-carrying capacities and modern convenience features. While the competition offers a crew cab body style, the Mazda doesn't. The B-Series' rivals also provide stronger engines and more safety features (such as stability control and side airbags). If your compact pickup requirements are minimal -- meaning you've no need for a roomy cabin, a navigation system or brawny towing capacity -- the 2009 Mazda B-Series should suffice. But if you're not among that minuscule minority, we're certain that you'd find its far superior rivals much more appealing.
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The 2009 Mazda B-Series compact truck comes in two body styles -- regular cab and extended cab -- the latter of which features a pair of smaller doors to access the rear compartment. No crew cab style is offered. There are two trim levels: B2300 and B4000. These numbers indicate engine displacement (e.g., 2300 means 2.3 liters). The B2300 comes only as a two-wheel-drive regular cab, while the B4000 is offered solely as a four-wheel-drive extended cab. Standard equipment includes a sliding rear window, an AM/FM stereo, air-conditioning (on the B4000) and 15-inch steel wheels. Option choices include an SE package for the 2300 that includes alloy wheels, a CD player with an auxiliary input jack, cruise control, and chrome bumpers and grille. Foglights and a bedliner are also available.
Powertrains and Performance:
Two engines are available. The B2300 comes with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 143 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The B4000 comes with a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 207 hp and 238 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is standard on both models, with a five-speed automatic being optional. Tow ratings stand at a meager 2,260 pounds for the B2300 and a more respectable 5,600 pounds for the B4000.
Antilock brakes are standard on all models, but virtually all other modern safety features, such as stability control and side curtain airbags, are not available. Still, in government crash tests, the 2009 Mazda B-Series did well, earning five stars (out of five) for the driver and four stars for the front passenger in front impact crashes. Side impact tests resulted in five-star (standard cab) and four-star (extended cab) ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this compact pickup truck a rating of "Acceptable" (the second highest of four) after conducting its frontal offset impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features:
As expected, the cabin has a dated feel. Unlike its competitors, the Mazda B-Series doesn't offer leather upholstery or a premium sound system. There isn't much legroom and the seats are low and flat, so don't expect comfort on long trips. Extended-cab models have a pair of jump seats in the rear. Those side-facing rear seats are by no means comfortable for adults, but they can be used by extra passengers in a pinch.
Despite its relatively low horsepower rating, the 4.0-liter V6 offers respectable acceleration for this class and the five-speed automatic does a fine job of making the most of the available power. The B2300 feels underpowered. All models are easy to maneuver thanks to the truck's small size, but the basic platform and underpinnings are old tech, resulting in a harsh ride over broken pavement. The 2009 Mazda B4000 is a solid performer off-road, but the lack of an optional off-road package means hard-core trail busters will have to explore the aftermarket to outfit it properly.