Best bang for your buck small pickup and best fuel economy in its class-- what's not to like?
A few things needed to be ironed out from day 1:
Radiator cap leaked
Master cylinder cap leaked.
Dealer replaced both with no hassle, washed the truck for me both times, and gave me coffee and Internet while I waited.
This (and the Ford Ranger that shares its Mazda engine and transmision and everything else except for the body), is the last of the small pickup trucks in North America. While all other "small" pickups like the Toyota Tacoma have gotten wider and longer, I wanted a small pickup that was, well, small! Specifically a dependable small truck my wife and I could use to head for the trails on logging roads here in BC, but still easy to drive and park in the city.
Many auto reviews disregard this pickup as an old model, and thus not worthy of praise. But the reliability ratings from owners, such as those compiled by Consumer Reports, are high, and the engine is a new 16 valve, dual overhead cam design (similar to the engine in the Ford Focus). Indeed, with the changes over the years this truck has the highest mpg rating, and produces the lowest smog, of any small truck. And it translates into the real world--I'm getting over its rated 29 mpg on the freeway every time I check.
It also has a 5 star crash test rating (for both front and side impact) and comes stock with anti-lock brakes. Unlike the base Ranger XL which comes pretty spartan, the B2300 comes stock with cloth seats, carpet, a rear sliding window, and a CD player you can plug your ipod into. The stock speakers were pretty crummy but replaced those with a pair of Kenwood KFC-C6880ie speakers and now the stereo sounds great.
It initially rode a little rough over the bumps because the back end is so light and stiffly sprung for carrying loads. The ride greatly improved after installing a fiberglass canopy (a Leer 100R) on it for camping which added a little weight, and now it rides much more like a car. The single cab doesn't have much room behind the seats to stow stuff, but the canopy fixed that.
Of course it is new so everything works great. But it is also designed great too. Shifts easily, lots of pep, comfy seats, quiet interior, and a pleasure to drive. And it only cost me a little over a grand more than a Chevy Aveo! I couldn't be more pleased.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th April, 2007