Mazda B Series

Carpedia

Feb 03rd, 2020

Mazda B Series

The Mazda B Series of pickup trucks went into production from 1961 until 2009, with the Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger succeeding it. The naming of models in this series is based on engine displacement. For example, the Mazda B1500 has a 1.5L engine, while the B2600 has a 2.6L engine powering it. In Australia, the B series was called the Mazda Bravo and was only launched in 1970.

The same line of pickup trucks was also sold by Ford, due to a partnership between the two car companies. The Ford line was called the Courier, which was later renamed the Ranger.

The First Generation (1961-1965)

The first truck in the B series was launched in Japan, the home country of Mazda, back in 1961. The first model launched was the B1500. Subsequent models were named differently for the Japanese market. The truck provided a smooth ride, courtesy of its advanced suspension feature, which was a novelty at the time. The B1500 was modified as years passed, making it more spacious and updating its features including a new grille. 

The pickup truck had a 2-door configuration, although other body styles were available, including a 2-door double-cab pickup as well as a 2-door double-cab coupe utility (called a pickup). All of the trucks had a front-engine RWD layout. 

The first generation was powered by a 1.5L UA overhead-valve inline-4 engine. The B1500 was undoubtedly ahead of its time and sturdily built. Due to its steep price, however, it did not meet Mazda's sales expectations.

The first generation was not released in Australia.

The Second Generation (1965-1977)

The 1966 model of the B1500 carried forward the same engine that had been introduced in the previous generation, although minor tweaks had been made to improve the engine’s performance. The previous engine delivered 44 kW of power, while this one gave 53 kW. The new truck had a longer body style, with a design that gave the vehicle a squarer look. 

In 1967, the B1500 became the first Japanese pickup truck to be assembled in the New Zealand region. The Steel’s Motor Assemblies in New Zealand assembled the pickups from CKD kits. 

In 1971, Mazda introduced a new model, called the B1600, which came with a 1.6L engine and delivered 70 kW of power. This one was made available in markets around the world, including the US. In 1972, Mazda launched another truck, called the B1300, which had a 1.3L engine capable of delivering 64 kW of power. This one remained in production until 1975 for the Japanese market. 

In the US and Canadian markets, Mazda also launched the B1800, a truck with a 1.8L engine delivering 73 kW of power. 

The following trims were available in this generation for the Australian market:

  1. B1500 - 1.5L UA OHV inline-4 petrol engine, 4-speed manual gearbox - 52 kW, 118 Nm
  2. B1600 - 1.6L NA inline-4 petrol engine, 4-speed manual gearbox - 70 kW, 136 Nm

The Third Generation (1977-1985)

In 1977, Mazda released the third generation of the B Series, this time calling it the Mazda Proceed in Japan while calling it the B Series in the rest of the world. The first third-generation B Series/Proceed model to be released in Japan had a 1.6L engine that delivered 71 kW of power. This model was more comfortable compared to the previous B Series vehicles, offering a wood-grain-trimmed dashboard as well as other luxurious settings. It was also an upgraded version of the B1600 model already launched in North America during the second generation. 

An upgraded version of the B1800 was also launched at a later time, replacing the B1600. In 1980, Mazda launched the B2000 in North America, a pickup truck with an even more powerful 2.0L engine replaced the B1800. A B2200 model was also launched in 1981. 

In the Australian and New Zealand markets, the B Series was launched under the brand of the Ford Courier, a compact pickup truck. This was first launched in the market in 1979. That same year, Ford also developed the double-cab version of the Courier. 

The following trims were offered in this generation for the Australian market:

  1. B1800 - 1.8L VC inline-4 petrol engine, 4-speed & 5-speed manual gearbox - 59 kW, 133 Nm
  2. B2000-DLX - 2.0L MA inline-4 petrol engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 57 kW, 138 Nm
  3. B2200-DLX - 2.2L S2 inline-4 diesel engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 46 kW, 122 Nm

The Fourth Generation (1985-1998)

Mazda launched a revamped B Series in 1985 that remained in production until 1999. Most vehicles launched under this series had both the 5-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed automatic transmissions. The B series welcomed a new model, called the B2600, which had a 2.6L engine. This engine was manufactured by Mitsubishi, although Mazda eventually replaced it in 1988 with its own 2.6L 4-cylinder fuel-injected engine, and renamed the B2600 to B2600i. 

After 1991, Mazda developed an SUV/RV variant of the truck, which was sold under the Mazda Proceed Marvie and Ford Raider brand names in Japan and Australia, respectively. 

The following trims were made available in this generation for the Australian market:

  1. B2000-DLX, Super DLX - 2.0L FE inline-4 petrol engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 62 kW, 155 Nm
  2. B2200-DLX, Bravo DLX - 2.2L R2 inline-4 diesel engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 47 kW, 135 Nm
  3. B2200-DLX - 2.2L F2 inline-4 petrol engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 68 kW, 171 Nm
  4. B2500-Bravo, Bravo SDX - 2.5L 4JA1 diesel engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 64 kW, 174 Nm
  5. B2600-Bravo, DLX, Bravo SDX, Bravo Plus - 2.6L petrol engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 73-92 kW, 182-205 Nm

The Fifth Generation (1998-2006)

The fifth-generation B Series continued to sell under different brand names around the world, including the B Series, Proceed, and Ford Courier (in Australia and New Zealand). At this time, the truck had developed a market in over 130 countries and was branded under different names. For example, in Southeast Asia it was called the Fighter and Ranger, the Mazda Bravo in Australia, and the Ford Courier in New Zealand. 

In 2005, a Mazda-sourced 4.0L V6 powered the Ford Courier that was marketed in Australia. It was made available in two trims, including a GL trim (Super Cab and Double Cab), and an XLT trim (only Double Cab). Further trims were also added, including B4000 Bravo DX, DX+, and an SDX trim.

Mazda concluded the sale of the B Series in the Australian market in 2006. 

The following trims were available in this generation for the Australian market:

  1. B2500 - Bravo - 2.5L WL inline-4 diesel engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 64 kW, 174 Nm
  2. B2500 - Bravo DX, Bravo SDX, Bravo DX Cab Plus - 2.5L WL-T inline-4 diesel engine, 5-speed manual gearbox - 86 kW, 280 Nm
  3. B2600 - Bravo, Bravo BX, Bravo DX, Bravo DX Cab Plus, Bravo Plus, Bravo SDX - 2.6L G6E inline-4 petrol engine, 5-speed manual gearbox & 4-speed automatic transmission - 92 kW, 206 Nm
  4. B4000 - Bravo DX, Bravo DX+, Bravo SDX - 4.0L Cologne SOHC V6 petrol engine, 5-speed manual gearbox & 5-speed automatic transmission - 154 kW, 323 Nm

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