The 2009 Mazda B-Series is a reasonably capable workhorse and a good off-road performer, but the dated design hurts its handling qualities.
When equipped with optional four-wheel drive (available only on the 4000), the 2009 Mazda makes a "great off-road warrior," according to Kelley Blue Book. This source, along with ConsumerGuide, emphasizes that the four-wheel-drive system is for off-road or bad weather driving only and should not be engaged on dry, paved roads.
On road, the Mazda B-Series corners “with a stable feel, moderate body lean, and nicely weighted steering," reports ConsumerGuide (despite the fact that it rides fairly high up above the ground), but adds that suspension components "jiggle some on rough roads but absorb big bumps fairly well." It's comfortable, perhaps, but not compelling. Also, the "flexy chassis and tepid powerplants reduce fun-to-drive index to almost zero," says Car and Driver.
Edmunds reports that of the two available engines for 2009, the 2300 is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder and the 4000 by a 4.0-liter V-6 with "207 hp, 238 lb-ft" for the B4000. This source also contends that compared to its current rivals, the Mazda 2009 B-Series is "outclassed." Car and Driver agrees, saying it is "underpowered versus most of the competing mid-size pickups." However, ConsumerGuide asserts that the 4.0-liter models they tested "have fine power at all speeds and mesh nicely with the automatic transmission."
The 2009 Mazda B-Series may be underpowered, but it offers a distinct advantage at the gas station. According to ConsumerGuide, EPA estimates for the truck range from 14/17 mpg for the B4000 with automatic transmission to 21/26 mpg for the B2300 with a manual.
According to Cars.com, all B-Series 2009 Mazda trucks are equipped "with either a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.” According to Kelley Blue Book, when equipped with "the five-speed manual, the 2.3 performs adequately, although you have to get it past 4000 rpm to feel any inspired acceleration."