The 2004 Mazda B-2300 compact pickup truck is an outdated design in an ever-increasingly competitive class. Based on the Ford Ranger but with a shorter bed and less power or features, the B-2300 has not kept up with the competition in terms if design innovation, power, features, or utility. As such it is hard to recommend the B-2300 for anyone except devout Mazda fans; other buyers should check out rivals like the Dakota, S-10, and Ranger.
Body Styles: pickup truck
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Mazda B-2300 regular cab
For 2004, the B-2300 sees a slight interior refresh by means of a new steering wheel and airbag design, new cloth upholstery and a redesigned center stack. There is also the addition of privacy glass in the sliding rear window for higher trims.
The 2004 Mazda B-2300 comes in two body styles: regular cab and cab plus, meaning it has a back seat and extended cab. The cab plus four body style that has the backseat and extended cab body with two extra rear-hinged doors to access the backseat can only be opened when the corresponding front door is already opened. This is not available for the B-2300. The 2004 Mazda B-2300 is offered in two trims: base and SE. Regardless of trim level, all B-2300 trucks are two-wheel drive. Being two-wheel drive, this means that all B-2300 trucks are rear drive by default. All trims use a six-foot bed unlike its Ford Ranger sibling, which has a seven-foot bed. The base model has 15-inch steel wheels, trailer wiring, rear windows that can be opened, and intermittent wipers. The SE adds 15-inch alloy wheels. Stand-alone options include power door mirrors, remote keyless entry, trailer hitch holder, and outside temperature display.
The rather ""Spartan"" cab of the 2004 Mazda B-2300 starts off with cloth seats, front beverage holders, and an audio system with AM/FM radio. The SE trim adds rear beverage holders, a split/folding rear seat, CD player, and air-conditioning. Stand-alone options include cruise control, leather steering wheel trim, power front windows, and a tilt steering wheel.
The interior of the B-2300 is actually rather roomy and comfortable. The seats are somewhat uncomfortable, but the ergonomics are solid. The lack of a leather upholstery option keeps the interior from appearing upscale, but this is a basic-level workhorse type truck so the lack of amenities and appointments can be somewhat forgiven, although rivals offer better interiors with more comfortable seats, features, gadgets, and overall quality in its class.
Performance & Handling
The Mazda B-2300 uses a 2.3-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 143 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque. This engine can be mated to either the standard five-speed manual transmission or the optional five-speed automatic gearbox. Regardless of trim level, all B-2300 models are two-wheel drive only. All trim levels use rear drive. With the inline-four, the B-2300 can still handle most traffic situations and is sturdy enough to handle some light work duty and some off-road tasks and will handle some hauling and towing jobs although not as much as its V-6 powered siblings or remotely as much as a V-8 powered Dodge Dakota that is in this same class.
As far as handling goes, the B-2300 should be rated on its handling as a truck that can do some truck work, meaning that it won’t handle like a sedan and must be judged in the boundaries of the truck realm. In that respect, the B-2300 offers quite a bit of stability, especially when cornering. The steering is nicely weighted, and the body roll is what is to be expected from a pickup of this size. The ride is decent for a truck with some vibrations and jiggling on the rough stuff, but handles big bumps rather well. All things considered, the B-2300 isn’t a class leader, but it does a solid job with performance, handling, truck duties, and offers a decent ride. Mazda is known for its ""zoom zoom"" performance philosophy and that shows up in the oddest of places even in its pickup trucks.
For standard safety equipment, there’s dual front airbags and anti-lock brakes. A key-operated switch can deactivate the passenger-side airbag. In NHTSA tests, the B-2300 earned four out of five stars for passenger and driver safety as well as protection for the front and rear in side-impact crashes. No rollover tests were performed. In IIHS tests, the B-2300 received the second highest rating of ""acceptable"" for frontal offset crashes. No other tests were performed.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mazda B-2300: 21/27 mpg city/highway
- Versatile size
- Some toughness to build
You Won't Like
- Dated platform
- Lack of crew cab model
- Limited lineup
- Uncomfortable seats
Stone-age pickup past its prime is outdone by equally priced pickups.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Toyota Tacoma
- Dodge Dakota
- Chevrolet Colorado
- GMC Canyon
- Nissan Frontier