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SEE ALSO: Mazda Buyer's Guide

A Teens and Cars Review

Mazda B4000 LE

By Larkin Hill

Mazda makes a truck…a FULL size truck? Huh? I know Toyota attempts to make one, with the T-100 series, but I didn't know Mazda makes one too? How come I've never seen a full size Mazda pick-up on the road…did they just start this year, or what?

Well, when I first saw this baby, I thought this ain't no full size pick-up! Sure, it's larger than the average Mazda truck, but when I think of full size I think of the Dodge Ram or the Chevy 4X4. This thing is about the size of the Dodge Dakota (Dodge's mid-size) - my boyfriend drives a Dodge Ram, so I was comparing it to that. The size was the first thing that didn't measure up. The second was the sound. The Dodge has a V8 engine, while the Mazda had a V6, thus making the Mazda sound and feel significantly weaker. In addition, the Mazda felt like it had small windows compared to it's overall cab size, making me feel like I was in my own little world looking out: like you felt when you were a little kid. As a passenger I didn't like it very much. The B4000 simply looks like a 4 wheel drive version of their more popular 2 wheel drive trucks.

As a driver, I fell in love. Once behind the wheel, the truck was quite nice, with a sleek, yet strong body style. It has an extra cab, which was simply a bare carpeted piece of space behind the front seats. Enough room to pack a couple of bags or a large well mannered pet in. In reality, most likely a nice place to store a lot of junk in (just in case you needed it one day, of course).

The ride was very, very smooth (an absolute necessity in my book). I felt secure yet not overbearing on the road, in other words I didn't feel like I would bounce off the wall in the fast lane on the freeway (Ya know the cement barriers on the freeway that separate you from the other side, the ones where there is NO shoulder!). This was a definite PLUS, in addition to the fact that I actually could be in the fast lane without either feeling sluggish, or burning up my entire tank of gas. Those of you who have big trucks with big tires know exactly how that goes. It sucks, but it's either that or look stupid. The Mazda had relatively large tires for it's size, meaning you didn't have to go out and buy larger rims for the size tires that look cool (saving you an additional couple hundred, if not thousand dollars). Not only that, but for a truck, the Mazda got pretty good gas mileage (city: 16, highway: 21 ).

The more I drove, the more I wanted this truck…It was the right size, had above average power, and had all of the amenities that make a truck comfy. It had soft seats, power windows and one of those hand held gadgets that lock and unlock your door (with a feature that allowed you choose whether you wanted to unlock the passenger door also…nice safety precaution). The dash, while seeming high in the passenger seat, felt like a cockpit in the drivers seat, sort of sporty and fun.

While I would by no stretch of the imagination categorize the Mazda B4000 as a full size pick-up, I recommend it. It has the height necessary in a 4X4 -- one didn't feel as though they were in a low flying plane, but rather in a good size truck. To me, it felt a bit feminine, meaning that I couldn't exactly imagine two grizzly grease monkeys thrashing the cushy interior. The cab comfortably fit the average person, perhaps even petite persons who have been neglected as prospective full size truck buyers.

The only three problems I had with the entire package, was the full size pick up price, the full size pick up label, and the awkwardness of the seat movements and center compartment armrest. For a truck that has really no reputation, the $25,000 price tag was a bit confusing, sure it was nice, but get real now… it's not even "full size", and aren't trucks notably less expensive than cars? Well, over all it was pretty good, easy to get into, cake to park, and definitely maneuverable in traffic…a city "full size" pick-up. Definitely not a "stinker", but it wasn't all that "sweet!" either.

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