Mazda simplified the lineup of its compact pickups in 2002 and began referring to them simply as the Truck, rather than calling them B-Series, as before. A four-cylinder engine powers the B2300 series, while the B3000 and B4000 versions are equipped with V-6 engines. All three are closely related to equivalent Ford Rangers.
For the 2003 model year, Mazdas B2300 pickups come in base trim with a regular cab and in an SE trim level with an extended Cab Plus configuration. A newly styled hood deflector imparts a tougher look. A new in-dash ashtray is installed, and selected models get a drivers vanity mirror. The front bumpers gain new black caps. A new manual-transmission version of the B2300 Cab Plus is now available.
A sliding rear window is standard on all models. An SE-5 package that includes styled steel wheels, a CD player, air conditioning, cloth seats and carpeted floormats is available for the B2300. A bed extender is optional. An electronic-shift hub lock system replaced the previous pulse vacuum setup for the 2002 model year.
Ford, which holds a controlling interest in the Mazda company, builds the B2300, B3000 and B4000 compact pickups. For many years, the two companies have shared other products and components.
The B2300 pickups come in two sizes: as a regular cab and a Cab Plus extended cab. Both have 6-foot cargo beds. The Ford Ranger comes in the same sizes, but it is also available as a regular-cab model with a 7-foot bed. The B2300s front suspensions consist of double wishbones with coil springs and a stabilizer bar, while semielliptic leaf springs are installed at the rear.
Styling differences between the Ranger and Mazdas compact pickups center on the grille. The Truck grille has horizontal bars instead of Fords eggcrate appearance. Regular-cab models ride a 111.6-inch wheelbase and measure 187.5 inches long overall; Cab Plus models have a 127.5-inch wheelbase and are 201.7-inches long overall. Two-wheel-drive models have 15-inch wheels, and 4x4 versions ride on 16-inch tires. Options include side step tubes and a soft tonneau cover.
All models have a roomy cab with a three-place bench seat. The Cab Plus versions add a pair of vinyl, fold-down rear jump seats. The B2300s dashboard is laid out like the one in the Ranger.
The front seats have a fold-down armrest with an exposed cupholder, and storage pockets are installed on the front seatbacks and jack cover. Air conditioning and cruise control are offered as optional features.
Under the Hood
The engines in all three of Mazdas Trucks are the same as those used in Ford Rangers. The B2300 is equipped with a 143-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. It teams with either a standard five-speed-manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.
Dual front airbags and antilock brakes are standard. A key-operated switch can deactivate the passenger-side airbag.