2009 Mazda B-Series Truck Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 8, 2009

The 2009 Mazda B-Series is frugal and performs decently, but its styling is dated and safety equipment isn’t up to modern standards.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Mazda B-Series in order to give you an expert opinion here in this Bottom Line. Then TheCarConnection.com researched available road tests relevant to the 2009 Mazda B-Series to produce this conclusive review and to gather the most complete collection of shopping information.

The 2009 Mazda B-Series is an inexpensive, fuel-saving alternative to big pickups, but it feels every bit of its advanced age. A clone of the Ford Ranger, the Mazda B-Series shares its dated styling and chassis design.

The B2300 model has a 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder is grouchy, but frugal enough to indulge its slow acceleration. It can get 21 mpg city, 26 highway—great figures for a basic pickup. The B4000 comes with a 4.0-liter V-6 that generates 207 horses. The 207-hp V-6 is reasonably smooth and powerful, though fuel economy drops to 14/17 mpg with the automatic. A five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission is available in either model.

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The Mazda 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 2009 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.

There's no cargo-storage system inside, but a fold-down armrest and a decent-sized glove box are found within the cabin. 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.

The six-foot bed of the 2009 Mazda B-Series is useful for some weekend and professional tasks, but the ubiquitous 4x8 sheet of plywood won't fit. Towing is rated at 5,600 pounds. Handling is trucklike, and steering is vague even on rear-drive vehicles. Braking performance is acceptable.

The 2009 Mazda B-Series is rated "acceptable" by the IIHS for front impacts; it scores five and four stars for front and side impacts from NHTSA, but its rollover rating of three stars points out the limits of its taller, older design. Anti-lock brakes and dual airbags are standard on all versions. No curtain or side airbags are offered, nor are stability and traction control.

An iPod jack is on the standard-equipment list; options include the off-road package, a 510-watt audio system, and Sirius Satellite Radio.

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2009 Mazda B-Series Truck

Styling

The 2009 Mazda B-Series trucks still look like their Ford Ranger counterparts—and reflect a design that’s nearly two decades old.

The 2009 Mazda B-Series' styling isn’t as notable as its functionality. As Edmunds puts it, the 2009 Mazda is "essentially a Ford Ranger wearing different clothes."

TheCarConnection.com notes that very few sources have much to say about the Mazda 2009 B-Series' outward appearance, except for Kelley Blue Book, which comments that for 2009, Mazda performs "a front-end freshening, with more brightwork around the grille and headlamps and a raised 'power dome' hood."

Edmunds reports that the Mazda 2009 B-Series has remained true to its roots by staying relatively small while similar pickups have grown in size, remaining a "true compact." Car and Driver expresses disappointment that there is no four-door club cab available, although an extended cab is an option.

Car and Driver considers the interior of the 2009 Mazda B-Series dated: "no hiding the fact that the fundamental design work on this truck...aesthetically, was done a decade ago." Edmunds agrees, stating that "the cabin has a dated feel." ConsumerGuide does note that the Mazda has a "convenient dashboard design with easy access to audio and climate controls." Autoblog reports "four different cabin configurations" for the 2009 Mazda B-Series and says "the interior is fairly elegant."

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2009 Mazda B-Series Truck

Performance

As with its styling, there's not much about the 2009 Mazda B-Series’ performance to get excited about.

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."

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2009 Mazda B-Series Truck

Comfort & Quality

It's a pickup truck—a vehicle historically built for utility, not comfort—but the 2009 Mazda B-Series is better in this regard than many similar vehicles.

The 2009 Mazda B-Series trucks are surprisingly comfortable, but don't expect a luxurious ride.

Overall, the 2009 Mazda B-Series is "designed for the active person who needs to haul stuff like jet skis, scuba gear and mountain bikes," says Autoblog. There's plenty of room for all that gear in the generous 6-foot bed, reports Cars.com, adding that "occupants get a fold-down armrest, and storage pockets are installed on the seatbacks." ConsumerGuide also likes the "better-than-average behind-seat storage space" of the regular cab and indicates the extended version "can carry lots of stuff."

ConsumerGuide notes that the 2009 Mazda's extended "cab model has slightly more seat travel and seatback recline angle than class rivals," but Kelley Blue Book advises that the small jump seats behind the front row are "best used for short trips only." Car and Driver says there's "not much passenger space" in the Mazda 2009, although Cars.com reports a "roomy cab with a standard three-place front bench seat." As for Mazda B-Series' standard cab vs. extended, the latter offers slightly more headroom and storage room behind the seats, but beyond this, there's little difference between the two.

ConsumerGuide says that "interior materials are appropriate for the price, and all models we've tested have been solidly built." As for noise, this source reports "the interior is well isolated from engine, wind, and road noise," though the Mazda 2009 is not "as car-quiet as the Dodge Dakota." According to Kelley Blue Book, the seats of the 2009 Mazda "have a richer pattern and the instrument panel features [more readable] white-faced gauges."

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2009 Mazda B-Series Truck

Safety

The 2009 Mazda B-Series lacks some of the important safety features now found on comparable pickups.

Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com conclude that the 2009 Mazda B-Series scores acceptably in crash tests, but many modern safety features are not offered.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2009 Mazda B-Series an overall rating of "acceptable” for frontal offset crash tests. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the driver is well protected in collisions. Front- and driver-side impacts both receive a rating of five stars with the regular cab of the Mazda 2009; scores for the passenger and driver with the extended cab version of the 2009 Mazda are slightly lower. Both variants receive a rollover rating of three.

Cars.com reports that the 2009 Mazda's passenger-side airbag can be deactivated with the use of a key-activated switch and confirms that "side-impact airbags are not available." According to Edmunds, standard safety features on all variants of the Mazda 2009 include anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system; however, "all other modern safety features, such as stability control and side curtain airbags, are not available."

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2009 Mazda B-Series Truck

Features

The 2009 Mazda B-Series is a basic work truck, with very few advanced features offered.

The 2009 Mazda B-Series is a relic in terms of features. However, the base model of the 2009 Mazda does include AM/FM stereo and a sliding rear window.

ConsumerGuide tells us that four-wheel drive is completely unavailable for the 2300 trim, as does Edmunds: "The B2300 comes only as a two-wheel-drive regular cab." Edmunds reports "two trim levels: base B2300, base B4000 and B4000 SE,” and four-wheel drive is standard on B4000 trucks.

Kelley Blue Book notes power steering, a tachometer, and front cup holders are included on all of Mazda 2009 model's trims. Cars.com reports some other minor goodies available for the B-Series 2009 Mazda: A fold-down armrest and storage pockets installed on the seatbacks are standard on all models.

According to Edmunds, optional equipment for the 2009 Mazda B2300 includes "foglights, skid plates, a limited-slip differential, 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded upholstery, cruise control and a bedliner"; these features are standard on the B4000. Features like iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as power sliding rear windows, are unavailable.

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