Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,000 – $15,500*


1998 Mazda B-Series


1998 Mazda B-Series


1999 Mazda B-Series interior


2000 Mazda B4000 Cab Plus 4 4WD


2000 Mazda B4000 Cab Plus 4 4WD

Pros:
  • Acceleration (B4000)
  • Build quality
  • Passenger room (regular cab)
Cons:
  • Acceleration (B2500)
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat comfort (extended cab)

Yes, Mazda pickups lack a few features available on rivals, including a third door (on extended-cab GM pickups) and the V8 option and full-time 4WD of a Dodge Dakota. Nevertheless, the B-Series is refined, well-built, and priced sensibly. No wonder Ranger has been the top-selling compact truck. Because Mazda’s B-Series does not sell as well as the Ford Ranger, prices are likelier to be a bit lower than trucks wearing a Ford badge.

Overview

Both the Mazda B-series and the similar Ford Ranger compact pickup trucks were redesigned for 1998. Mechanically, the two were nearly identical, but they differed in styling details. Mazda offered no flare-fendered model comparable to Ford’s Ranger Splash. However, Mazda’s swept-back look was thought to be favored by import-brand truck buyers. Improvements included a stiffer, fully boxed frame. An independent front suspension replaced the solid axle, and rack-and-pinion steering edged aside the old recirculating-ball system. In this generation, both the B-Series and the Ranger added a 4-door extended-cab body style. That made Mazda the first import-brand pickup to offer a 4-door cab, called the Cab Plus 4. Standard cabs were 3 inches longer than before. Mazda offered 2- and 4-wheel-drive regular-cab and Cab Plus extended-cab 2-door models, in either SX or upscale SE trim. The Cab Plus 4 was an SE option. Rear doors were hinged at the back and could not be opened or closed independently of the front doors. Both the regular Cab Plus and the 4-door variant had two fold-down rear jump seats. Engines were the same as those in Ford’s Ranger. The B2500 got a larger (2.5-liter) 4-cylinder engine that made 119 horsepower. A 3.0-liter V6, producing 150 horsepower, went into the B3000 series. The B4000 got a 4.0-liter V6, rated at 160 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard. Automatic was optional in the SE and regular-cab SX. With the 4.0-liter V6, the optional automatic transmission was a new 5-speed unit; other engines came with an available 4-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive models could now be shifted between 2WD and 4WD High at up to 70 mph, and changed between 4WD High and Low at up to 35 mph. Mazda’s 4-wheel-drive system, like that of the Ranger, was not for use on dry pavement. “Depowered” airbags were installed, with an on-off switch on the passenger side.

Yearly Updates

1999 B-Series Pickup
Mazda’s top-line SE V6 model now was available in regular-cab form, as the major change for 1999. Previously, that model was offered only as an extended-cab truck. All SE V6 models gained a standard antitheft system. All B4000 trucks got standard fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an upgraded audio system.
2000 B-Series Pickup
Trim and equipment revisions marked the 2000 models. An automatic transmission became standard in B4000 2-wheel-drive pickups, remaining optional in other B-Series trucks. SX, SE, and TL trim levels were offered, the latter named for Troy Lee, a designer of extreme-sports equipment. Available only in Cab Plus 4 form, the TL included bodyside graphics, fender flares, fog lights, and unique alloy wheels. A trailer hitch now was standard on 4WD B4000 models, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and fog lights went on all 4x4s.
2001 B-Series
Major changes for 2001 included new 4- and 6-cylinder engines and a 4-wheel-drive-look 2WD model. B4000s continued with a 4.0-liter V6 engine, but in a new 207-hp overhead-cam design rather than the previous 160-hp overhead-valve unit. B2500s get a new name and new four cylinder in midyear, as a new 2.3-liter 4 with 135 horsepower becomes standard on the B2300.
2002 Truck
Mazda changed the name of its compact pickup for 2002, from the B-Series to simply the Truck. New off-road equipment highlighted this year’s changes.
2003 Truck
Base and 3.0-liter V6 gained 8 horsepower this year. All models got thicker glass and added insulation.
2004 B-Series
Mazda’s pickup truck is once again called the B-Series for 2004. Other changes this year included a steering wheel and dashboard redesign.
2005 B-Series
No changes were made to the B-Series in 2005.
2006 B-Series
2006 brought no significant changes to the B-Series.
2007 B-Series
B-Series carried over unchanged.
2008 B-Series
The 2008 Mazda B-Series trucks were little changed, but the B3000 models with the 3.0-liter V6 engine were discontinued.
2009 B-Series
B-Series trucks once again received few changes.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

B-Series pickups came with a choice of three engines: 4-cylinder in the B2500, 3.0-liter V6 in the B3000, and 4.0-liter V6 in the B4000. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard. When equipped with automatic, the B4000 got a 5-speed unit, while trucks with the smaller engines got a 4-speed transmission. For 2001, B4000s got a new 4.0-liter overhead-cam V6 engine and B2300 got a 2.3-liter 135 horsepower four. The automatic for this new four was a 5-speed unit. For ’03 the smaller V6 gained 8 horsepower. In 2008, the B3000 models with the 3.0-liter V6 engine were discontinued.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/152
Engine HP 119
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 146
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
22/27
20/25
20.1
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 135-143
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 153-154
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
24/28
21/25
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 150-154
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180-185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/23
17/22
18.2
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
17/21
16/21
15.9
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 207
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 238
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
18/22
16/22

Road Test

Engines make the difference under B-Series hoods. Four-cylinder trucks struggle to gain speed when loaded with cargo or aimed uphill, especially with an automatic transmission. Even with manual shift, a 2WD 4-cylinder model took nearly 13 seconds to reach 60 mph. Fuel economy is more pleasing. We averaged 20.1 mpg in a 4-cylinder B2500.

We recommend the 4.0-liter V6, which uses only slightly more fuel than the 3.0 V6 and costs only slightly more. Although the 4.0 liter is a bit coarse and noisy, it offers plenty of low-speed torque and should perform most tasks with ease. That engine also works well with the 5-speed automatic transmission and furnishes prompt passing power. None of these engines is quiet, though the sixes are slightly smoother than the four. The OHC V6, added in 2001, is smooth, quieter than previous gruff 4.0.

Like its Ford Ranger cousin, the Mazda B-Series rides and handles admirably for a truck. Yes, it jiggles more on rough roads than most cars. Still, the suspension absorbs most bumps without jarring the occupants, and provides stable cornering with moderate body lean. The 4WD system cannot be used on dry pavement, but is otherwise as convenient as they come. A dashboard knob switches between 2- and 4-wheel drive while on the move.

Slightly roomier than before, with more behind-the-seat storage space, the regular-cab interior is still not spacious. The longer regular cab allows the seatback to be tilted farther back than before, and seat travel is greater than in some rivals. Still, taller drivers may find the Cab Plus layout a necessity for comfort. Some shorter drivers may declare the bottoms of the bucket seats to be too long, catching them behind the knees. The 4-door Cab Plus 4 option is a big plus, but those rear-hinged back doors are narrow and cannot be opened unless the front door has been opened first.

Even with a bench seat, three adults would be a tight squeeze up front. Entry/exit borders on awkward in the higher-riding 4x4s. Cab Plus models have a pair of child-sized rear seats that flip down from the sidewalls, but that area is more useful for cargo than people. Controls are positioned within easy reach, in a carlike interior, though the climate panel is recessed too much for quick adjustment. Radio controls are easier to use than in the past. Solid in build, Mazda trucks use better quality interior materials than might be expected in a compact pickup.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Mazda B3000 SE 2WD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 1
10%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 32

Specifications

ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
125.7 202.9 69.4 64.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
NA 20.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 35.6 42.2 40.3
reg. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.6 187.5 69.4 64.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
NA 17.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 42.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 B-Series ext. cab

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: The automatic transmission may develop a delay when shifting into drive or reverse requiring reprogramming the powertrain control module. (2007-08)
Brakes
Description: Unless the rear brakes backing plates have been sealed, the brakes will grab due to wet brake linings in wet or humid weather. (2002-08)
Clutch
Description: The clutch slave cylinder/release bearing may make a squeaking noise due to lack of lubrication on the bearing. (2004-06)
Engine temperature
Description: The powertrain-control module (computer) will be replaced if the engine idles too high, surges or hesitates when the A/C cycles or the vehicle decelerates harshly. (1998)
Vehicle noise
Description: A creaking noise may be caused by the mounts between the cab and the frame allowing metal-metal contact. New mounts are available. (1998)
Vehicle noise
Description: 4WD models may make a pinging noise when accelerating due to a loose yoke nut on the transfer case. (1998-2000)
Wipers
Description: Poor connections in multifunction switch may prevent wipers from being switched off. (1999-2000)
Brake lights
Description: The brake lights may quit working due to a shorted wire in the ceiling near the center high-mounted brake lamp. (2003-05)
Check-engine light
Description: Lack of heat and/or check-engine light may be traced to sand, or other debris stuck in the thermostat. (1998-99)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate possibly accompanied by drivability issues due to damaged vacuum hose to the EGR valve on the 3.0L V6 engine. (2007)

Recall History

1998 B4000 w/2WD and 4.0-liter engine
Description: Flexible section of fuel line is too close to exhaust manifold; could result in damage to fuel line, and possible leakage.
1998-03 B-Series w/speed control system
Description: The speed control deactivation switch may, under certain conditions, leak internally and then overheat, smoke, or burn. This could result in an underhood fire. Dealers will install a fused wiring harness.
1998-99 w/cruise control
Description: Cable can interfere with speed-control-servo pulley and not allow throttle to return to idle when disengaging cruise control.
2000
Description: Seatbelt assemblies were not properly heat treated and therefore do not meet the load-bearing requirement of the standard.
2001
Description: Passenger’s seatbelt buckle may not fully latch.
2006 B-Series
Description: Windshield wiper motor may not be greased properly, resulting in a loss of wiper function. Dealers will inspect and grease motor, if necessary.
2009 2WD
Description: The front spindle stem may crack due to an improper manufacturing process. If a fracture occurs, the wheel may separate from the axle, which may result in a loss of steering. Dealers will inspect the front spindle and replace it if necessary free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.