- Towing capacity
- Crash-test performance
- Available four-cylinder engine
- Dated styling
- Unresponsive handling
- Lack of features
The 2008 Mazda B-Series is an inexpensive, fuel-saving alternative to big pickups, but it feels every bit of its advanced age.
The 2008 Mazda B-Series is a clone of the Ford Ranger, and shares its dated styling and chassis design--as well as its good construction quality, its frugal four-cylinder option, its good crash-test performance, and its high towing capacity.
The 2008 Mazda B-Series comes in two- and four-door models, with rear- or four-wheel drive. The Cab Plus version has two small access doors that make it easier to reach into the cargo area behind the seats, but there's no real four-door option. The B-Series hasn't seen a complete makeover in a long time, and it shows, though the materials used in its cabin are put together well.
The Mazda B-Series is available as the B2300, with a base 143-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, or as the B4000 with a 4.0-liter V-6 that generates 207 horses. Each can be fitted to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission. It can get 21/26 mpg, great figures for a basic pickup. The four-cylinder is grouchy, but frugal enough to indulge its slow acceleration. The 207-hp V-6 is reasonably smooth and powerful, though fuel economy drops to 14/17 mpg with the automatic.
Handling is trucklike, and steering is vague even on rear-drive vehicles. Braking performance is acceptable. Its six-foot bed is useful for some weekend and professional tasks, but the ubiquitous 4x8 sheet of plywood won't fit in the Mazda B-Series. Towing is rated at 5,600 pounds.
The Mazda B-Series' front bench seats are comfortable for a few hours but sit low. The Cab Plus versions have two fold-down seats that should be used in emergencies only. There's no cargo-storage system inside, but a fold-down armrest and a decent-sized glove box are found inside.
The 2008 Mazda B-Series has a standard tire pressure monitoring system and an iPod jack; options include the off-road package, a 510-watt audio system, and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Anti-lock brakes and dual airbags are standard on all versions. No curtain or side airbags are offered, nor are stability and traction control. The 2008 Mazda B-Series is rated at "acceptable" by the IIHS for front impacts; it scores five and four stars for front and side impacts from the NHTSA, but its rollover rating of three stars points out the limits of its taller, older design.