Buying a pickup often means sacrificing comfort and style for practicality. Truck drivers usually have to travel economy class in return for the ability to carry large loads with them.
But Mazda doesn’t believe it needs to be this way. That’s why the 2006 Mazda B-Series truck has been designed to give its owners the best of both worlds - great carrying capacity and a comfortable and refined cabin.
The B-Series can haul heavy loads (up to 5,600 pounds towing capacity), and with available four-wheel drive, handle the toughest terrain. But this stylish truck is just as happy strutting its stuff in the city or taking long-haul trips in its stride.
Available as a two-door Regular Cab or four-door, four-seat Cab Plus and with a choice of 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V6 and 4.0-liter V6 engines and two or four-wheel drive systems, the B-Series is ready for anything.
The Mazda B-Series truck continues its value story into 2006 with a wide array of standard features and an extensive options list to allow customers to personalize their vehicles.
New colors and a standard equipment anti-theft system on some models mark the most significant changes to the B-Series for 2006. Volcanic Red and Redfire replace 2005’s Performance and Sunburst Reds, and Dark Satin Green has been dropped. All 3.0-liter and 4.0-liter V6 B-Series trucks now come with Mazda’s anti-theft system fitted at the factory – a valuable addition to an already superb value truck.
"It’s not a conventional truck by any stretch of the imagination," says Kevin Mori, vehicle line manager. "Built with a touch of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom standards, and offering impressive safety credentials in concert with stylish design and superb practicality, the B-Series makes other trucks feel like tractors."
A spec sheet that doesn’t read like a truck
The available automatic transmission in the 2006 Mazda B-Series is a sophisticated and smooth-shifting five-speed. Standard transmission is a five-speed manual, which like all Mazdas, is designed for quick shifting to get the very best from the engine.
The entry model B2300’s 2.3-liter double overhead cam (DOHC) 16-valve, four-cylinder engine produces a spirited 143 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 154lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm. With the manual, the B2300 returns 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (22/26 with 5-speed A/T).
The B3000 is powered by a 3.0-liter overhead valve (OHV) V6 engine producing 154 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and a heavy-duty 180 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 rpm. Equipped with a manual transmission, the B3000 returns 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway (18/22 with 5-speed A/T).
Topping the line-up is the B4000. Its 4.0-liter V6 packs a mighty 207 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 238 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. It achieves city/highway fuel economy of 16/19 mpg (16/20 with 5-speed A/T). A limited-slip rear differential is standard, as is a Class III trailer hitch. With this equipment, this powerhouse has a towing capacity of 5,600 pounds, which is more than enough to handle a ski boat, camper or racecar.
The powerful 4.0-liter engine also can be mated to a sophisticated 4x4 drivetrain, with shift-on-the-fly activation for go-anywhere ability. In vehicles with automatic transmissions, the driver simply presses a button on the dash to electronically engage 4x4 High. In cars with manual transmission a simple lever does the job. 4x4 High can be activated at speeds up 25 mph.
All 4x4 B-Series trucks feature low-range gearing and automatic-locking front hubs for tackling steep hills and low traction situations like deep mud or snow, or slippery boat loading ramps. In concert with the limited-slip rear differential, the B4000 is ready for nearly everything.
With usability at the forefront of most truck designers’ minds, driveability hardly gets a thought. But at Mazda things are different. Mazda’s sports car heritage ensures that every single Mazda is great to drive – and that includes the B-Series.
Mazda B-Series trucks are fitted with an independent double-wishbone front suspension, which allows a great amount of wheel-travel for tough off-highway operation without sacrificing on-road feel or performance. A leaf-spring set-up for the rear is tuned to provide a comfortable ride and great road handling without compromising the truck’s core ability as a load carrier.
On B3000 Dual Sport and B4000 models, the standard-issue front coil springs are replaced with torsion bars in combination with a raised ride height to give buyers a rugged off-road look, but without the additional cost and complexity of a 4x4 system. Dual Sport models also benefit from a rear stabilizer bar to minimize body-roll when cornering.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, gas-filled shock absorbers and a front stabilizer bar are fitted on all models for sure on-road drivability and response as well as great off-highway durability.
In addition, all B-Series trucks feature power-assisted front ventilated disc brakes with rear drums. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are fitted as standard across the range to prevent wheel lockup and reduce stopping distances in certain conditions. These features, more commonly found in road cars than trucks, combine to ensure that the B-Series is a great drive.
Style meets substance
The tough good looks of the B-Series emphasize this truck’s superb usability and all-round performance. The wide stance gives reassuring stability as well as a real sense of power, and the rounded corners and sculpted fenders add a sporty feel.
Dual Sport models offer an even more aggressive stance with their raised suspension, wheel arch flares and body-colored bumpers, mirrors and door handles. Riding on 15-inch alloy wheels, Dual Sport models emulate the off-road racing "pre-runner" trucks that scout race courses.
The top-of-the-line B4000 4x4 SE rides on unique 16-inch alloy wheels and boasts a chrome grille to further distinguish it.
All B-Series model are superbly practical, offering standard cargo-bed tie-down hooks, and a wide range of options such as a cargo-bed extender, retractable tie-down hooks, tie-down loops, a soft tonneau cover and a folding storage box.
Front and rear mudguards are standard across the range. Lighting is taken care of with clear-lens halogen headlights and tri-color-lens taillight clusters. . B4000, B4000 SE and B3000 Dual Sport models also add standard fog lamps.
Inside, a spacious 60/40 split-bench front seat is standard on all B-Series trucks, and stylish sports bucket seats are optional on B3000 Dual Sport Cab Plus four-door and B4000 SE models. Base models (B2300, B3000 and B4000) have manual windows, door locks and an AM/FM two-speaker audio system. Dual Sport and SE versions boast electric windows, power door locks with two-stage unlocking, and an AM/FM/CD four-speaker audio system.
Interior storage space is abundant and clever. Bins within the center console, center armrest and front doors are spacious, and a pair of cupholders are also positioned to be driver-friendly.
Cab Plus four-door models add extra storage in the rear doors and a pair of cupholders for rear passengers. In keeping with convenience, an optional remote keyless entry system is available on Dual Sport and SE models.
Mazda vehicles are designed with safety at the top of the agenda and the B-Series is certainly no exception. All B-Series models provide side-impact door beams in the front and dual front airbags. The passenger airbag has a deactivation switch which is ideal for use when carrying a child or when using a rear-facing child seat. Mazda was the first import-nameplate manufacturer to offer this switch. Front safety-belt pre-tensioners with force limiters, three-point safety belts for outboard seating positions and height adjustable front shoulder-belt anchors are also standard.