2008 Mazda B-Series Performance
This performance review was written when the 2008 Mazda B-Series was new.
Reviewers generally find the 2008 Mazda B-Series handles extremely well off-road and turns out adequate performance on highways. Edmunds describes on-road driving as "a positive experience with smooth, spunky acceleration and responsive brakes." Consumer Guide finds ride quality "decent for trucks."
Acceleration and Power
The B-Series models come with two engine choices that are identical to those found in sibling Ford Ranger. The base B2300 model comes standard with a 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 143 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. However, most find the engine lacking in power. Kelley Blue Book notes the I4 is "geared toward the economy-minded -- those who use their trucks for light-duty hauling and around-town driving. With the five-speed manual, the 2.3 performs adequately, although you have to get it past 4,000 rpm to feel any inspired acceleration." Consumer Guide had no opportunity to test the base engine, but still estimates "it's likely to feel underpowered when heavily loaded or going uphill." The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the base model to net 21 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway with the manual transmission, and 19/24 with the automatic.
For more power, B4000 models upgrade to a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 207 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque. Pickuptruck.com says "if you want to cruise around everything on the road, uphill and down, loaded and unloaded, invest in the B4000 with the 4.0-liter V6. With an output of 160 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque, it will power any version of a B-truck over and around anything with ease." However, the V6 isn't as powerful as a V8, an engine that is offered in many similar pickups. Kelley Blue Book writes, "If you need a pickup to haul heavy loads or transport four people on a regular basis, you may want to look at one of the larger mid-size or full-size V8-powered choices." The EPA estimates the 2WD B4000 to net 15/20 with the standard automatic transmission. The 4WD should achieve 14/17 with the automatic transmission and 15/19 with the manual.
The B2300's I4 engine comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission with floor mounted shifter. A five-speed electronic automatic transmission with column mounted shifter is optional. The B4000 Cab Plus in SE trim comes only with the automatic transmission.
Handling and Braking
B2300 models in base trim feature a double wishbone front suspension with coil springs and a rear leaf spring suspension. B4000 models upgrade to a raised double wishbone front suspension with torsion bar springs and a raised rear leaf spring suspension. All models provide stabilizer bars in the front.
Of the suspension, Consumer Guide notes "They jiggle some on rough roads, but absorb big bumps well." Referring to a model with the upgraded suspension, Pickuptruck.com says "It handled well on freeways -- surprisingly well, considering it boasts a serious off-road suspension between the tires and the body. While there was a bit of a bounce at freeway speeds, it wasn't bad." But off-road is where the B-Series shines. Pickuptruck.com continues "Aside from the occasional fishtail, the truck was as much fun to drive off highway as it was on. Okay, it was more fun to drive off road."
Reviewers have very little to say about the B-Series' power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Consumer Guide finds it "Stable in corners with moderate body lean, nicely weighted steering, and good directional stability."
All B-Series models feature power-assisted front ventilated disc and rear drum brakes, along with an anti-lock braking system that makes for sufficient stopping power. Pickuptruck.com says, "If you have to stomp on the brakes the rear ABS keeps the truck in a nice, straight line, even on dirt."
The B2300 is rear-wheel-drive only, while the B4000 models come with four-wheel drive that includes low-range gearing for rough terrain. In addition, the B4000 SE model also comes with a standard limited slip differential and skid plates for the fuel tank and transfer case.
Kelley Blue Book calls the 4WD B-Series "a great off-road warrior, as its 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." The B4000 comes with a two-speed transfer case with two modes -- four-wheel high or four-wheel low. The system should be disengaged on dry pavement.
Regular Cab B-Series models come with a choice of a six- or seven-foot bed. Cab Plus models come with a six-foot bed to accommodate a larger cabin and longer wheelbase. With the manual or automatic transmission, the B-Series can carry a maximum payload of 1,260 pounds.
NewCars.com notes that hauling is not the B-Series' greatest strength: "The typical compact extended cab truck is a better choice than the Mazda B-Series Truck in terms of hauling capacity, especially if you often need to carry a lot of equipment or large dogs."
With the automatic transmission, the B2300 can tow a trailer up to 2,260 pounds, while the B4000 can tow up to 5,600 pounds. With the manual, they can tow up to 1,580 and 3,100 pounds, respectively.
All models come with a trailer towing wiring harness. On top of that, the B4000 SE gets a Class III frame mounted trailer hitch receiver and front tow hooks. The hitch receiver is optional on the other models, and a trailer hitch cover is optional on all models.
B2300 base model
The base B-Series pickup comes with a 2.3-liter dual overhead cam I4 engine that puts out 143 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a five-speed manual transmission or optional 5-speed automatic. The B2300 comes only in rear-wheel drive.
B4000 base model and SE
The B4000 boasts a 4.0-liter single overhead cam V6 that puts out 207 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a five-speed automatic transmission only, with no optional manual. The B4000 comes only in four-wheel drive and features a special raised suspension.