Used 1996 Mazda B-Series Pickup Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

A passenger-side airbag comes with SE Plus and LE trim levels, and it can be deactivated in the event that a rear facing child safety seat is installed. SE models also get new chrome bumpers.

Vehicle overview

Kinship of Mazda's B-Series with Ford's Ranger is evident both on the surface and beneath. That's because both compact pickups are built at the same New Jersey factory, from the same design and employ virtually identical powertrains and four-wheel-drive setups. Both are competent and attractive, differing only in detail and pricing structure.

New on SE Plus and LE trim levels is a passenger-side airbag that can be switched off in the event that a rear-facing child safety seat is installed. Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on all 4WD and B4000 models. A rear-wheel system is standard on all other B-Series trucks.

Horsepower of the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that powers B2300 models measures 112, and a 145-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 again goes into B3000 models. Those who like to flex their truck's muscle are likely to be attracted to the B4000 end of the scale. Its 4.0-liter V6 delivers 160 horsepower, plus a 220 foot-pounds torque wallop--just right for heavy hauling and easy merging/passing on the highway.

Two cab configurations are available, as are two bed lengths, with either two- or four-wheel drive. Three trim levels are marketed: base, sporty SE, and luxury LE. SE models get chrome bumpers for 1996. Obviously, Mazda buyers--like their Ford counterparts--get a lot of possibilities at the pickup showroom, at least one of which is likely to satisfy nearly any shopper.

A B2300 pickup looks truly basic inside, but carries full gauges (without graduations) and simple climate controls. In base form, without going wild on options, a Mazda with a simple vinyl bench seat looks to be all truck--pristine and practical, almost like a cargo hauler out of the 1940s. Add such amenities as air conditioning and power steering, though, and you get a comfortable-driving, highly functional machine for only a moderate financial outlay.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.