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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Mazda B2300 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Mazda B2300 Overview

Cargo Carrying, Mazda Style

When a car company is best known for its performance cars, having a compact pickup truck is a bit of a standout. Such is the case for Mazda and its Mazda Truck. A product of the happy union between Ford Motor Company and Mazda Motors U.S.A, the Mazda Truck is basically the same vehicle as the best-selling Ford Ranger, but with a bit sportier styling. Such a merger gives Mazda a much-needed successor to its former line of B-Series trucks while freeing up cash for development of more important projects—like the upcoming RX-8.

For the record, Mazda officially dropped the B-Series name last year and replaced it with Mazda Truck; the B-series designation is now used only to describe various trim levels within the line. As if this was not confusing enough, there are also three models within each trim: base, Dual Sport and 4x4 SE. The Mazda Truck is available in standard and Cab Plus configurations, the latter offering the option of hinged rear-quarter doors for easier access in and out of the cab. All Mazda Trucks come standard with a six-foot bed.

The B4000 is the most potent truck in the line. It's 4.0-liter V6 engine boasts 207 horsepower and 238 lb-ft. of torque and comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission (a five-speed automatic is optional.) Two-wheel drive models also come standard with a limited-slip rear differential—an absolute bonus for those who take their 2WD trucks off-road. With a tow rating of 5900 pounds, the B4000 is also the best choice for those who intend to bring along a small boat or camping trailer.

If you don't need all the power of the B4000's V6, you can save a little money and opt for the 154-horsepower V6 found in the B3000. The B3000's V6 is still a strong engine that is adept at moving the Mazda Truck with little fuss; it's just not as quick off the line as its big brother. The economy-minded will find the entry-level B2300 to be more in line with both their finances and their monthly fuel budget. With a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood, the B2300 makes for the perfect daily driver or delivery truck and its frugal engine earns and EPA city/highway rating of 24 and 29 miles-per-gallon respectively while still developing a respectable 143 horsepower.

The Mazda Truck 4x4 is one of the most competent off-road vehicles in the compact truck segment. The Mazda Truck's 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, you can opt between four-wheel high or four wheel-low via the two-speed transfer case. The Mazda Truck's four-wheel drive system is intended only for off-road use and cannot be permanently engaged during normal driving.

When using your Mazda Truck for everyday chores, you'll find that it handles fairly well, with good road feel and manners. The 4x4 versions require a bit more caution in the curves as their taller off-road tires have them sitting up higher than base two-wheel drive models. The Mazda Truck also returns a very comfortable ride, with a quiet cabin, cozy bucket seats and plethora of well-placed options designed to pamper your every sense; these include power windows and door locks, automatic day/night mirror, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, upgraded audio with in-dash 6-disc changer, plastic bedliner, and rear jump seats (Cab Plus models only.)

You'll like the new interior of the Mazda Truck and its handsome fabrics and you'll appreciate the additional legroom provided by the extended seat track. Mazda wanted to be sure that the Mazda Truck could stand on its own when placed side-by-side with its Ford twin, so you'll find the fit and finish to be equally good and the fabrics and exterior treatment to be handsome and stylish.

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