Mazda's B-Series pickup, a clone of Ford's Ranger, sees minor changes to its color palette and the addition of an anti-theft system as standard equipment on B3000 and B4000 models. Aside from that, the B-Series is unchanged as it has been for several years.
Back in the early 1970s, Ford introduced a compact pickup, which it named Courier. It was, in fact, a re-badged Mazda. Things came full circle in 1994 when Mazda introduced their latest iteration of the B-Series, which was a re-badged Ford Ranger. The B-Series was updated in 1998, but has since remained largely unchanged.
The B-Series lineup includes the four-cylinder B2300 (143 hp), and V-6-powered B3000 (154 hp) and B4000 (207 hp). Four-wheel drive is only available on B4000 models. The B2300 is available only with the regular cab, the B4000 is available only with the extended Cab Plus 4, and the B3000 is available in both cab configurations. All models give buyers a choice of 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions, and anti-lock brakes are standard across the board. Box length is 77.1 inches for regular-cab models and 77.3 inches for Cab Plus 4 models.
The B3000 model lineup includes the Dual Sport, a 4x2 pickup that has the taller ground clearance and beefy off-road look of the 4x4. The Dual Sport uses the torsion bar front suspension from the 4x4 in place of the usual coil springs, along with 15-inch alloy wheels. The B3000 Dual Sport is available in either a regular cab or Cab Plus 4 extended cab versions.
The Mazda B-Series competes in the Midsize Pickup segment that consists of a dozen models. Some buyers in this segment are seeking a pickup truck that offers a compromise between capacity and maneuverability, while others want a recreational pickup that returns reasonable fuel economy.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Toyota Tacoma was the top-selling pickup in this segment in 2005 with 168,831 sales, followed by the Chevrolet Colorado (128,359 units sold) and the Mazda's cousin, the Ford Ranger (120,958). The Mazda B-Series sold 5,872 units in 2005. Other main competitors include the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier, Honda Ridgeline, Ford Explorer Sport Trac, and GMC Canyon.