2007 Mazda B2300 2.3 16v dual overhead cam 4 banger from North America
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
Same owner, but now reporting after 18K.
I had two new problems that required service:
1) The seals under the coil were slightly leaking
2) the left headlight had condensation.
The dealer replaced both with no hassle at all, but they had to order the parts so both repairs took two trips.
I also had one flat tire, but happened on a bad logging road so it isn't really the tire's fault. That said, the stock Contitrac tires are really nothing to brag about. But, tires aside, even after some punishing dirt roads there isn't a rattle or squeak in the truck anywhere.
Some good points: I've almost never driven a standard that starts as easily on a hill, and the power steering and power brakes aren't overly aggressive so there is enough "road feel" and decent, straightforward handling as long as there is a hundred pounds or so in the back (otherwise the rear is too stiffly sprung and a little jumpy over bumps). It comes with the same 16 valve, dual overhead cam engine that also comes in the Mazda 6, a car with a base price 1/3 more than the truck. Mated to a 5 speed stick it is zippy and fun to drive.
As I stated before I'm also really pleased with the fuel economy, but the main reason I bought this truck is because it has the lowest carbon and pollution output of any truck on the market--about the same as a Honda Accord. And unlike the Accord it can carry a half ton of outdoor gear down dirt roads you wouldn't want to take your Grandma on!
In retrospect I wouldn't get black! It looks great for about an hour after its washed, then shows every speck of dirt. But for that hour it looks good! To me it looks more like a truck than the bloated Toyota Tacoma. But looks are subjective--whatever "turns your crank"!
Same owner a year later with 40K miles.
Nothing went wrong with the truck at all except much of the undercarriage has surface rust after only 2 years. So the undercoat is thin too. But absolutely nothing else broke or went wrong. It still runs like new.
Only sad thing is I lost my job and couldn't afford the payments and so I had to sell it. It didn't hold its resale value as well as a Toyota (in terms of percentage of purchase price), but I did the math and because a similar Toyota would have cost me a lot more to buy new, reselling it would have translated into a greater loss.
But the loss is still great enough. For the same amount of money I could have traveled around the world. For months.
Buying new vehicles is a rich person's sport.