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A long lifespan is a good thing

The Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickups might be the longest-lived models on the Canadian market.

The Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickups might be the longest-lived models on the Canadian market.

With a lifespan from 1998 to 2010, these small, cross-branded pickups lived from 1998 to 2010 with minimal changes.

Cheap, capable and reliable, they offered plenty of selection to shoppers after anything from a simple two-wheel drive work truck to a nicely loaded 4x4.

Low used prices and good overall reliability make these trucks worthy contenders for your used pickup dollars.

Selection is tremendous. Depending on the year and model selected, used shoppers can look for numerous engine, transmission, drivetrain and body configurations.

Also depending on the year and model in question, feature content included such goodies as tire pressure monitoring, tip-up rear seats, ABS brakes, fog lamps, chrome accents and power accessories.

Engine options included a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with 120 horsepower, and both three and four-litre V6 units with 150 or 160 horsepower, respectively. From 2001 and on, a new four-litre V6 engine ramped output up to 200 horsepower.

What Owners Like

Owners seem most satisfied with the styling, comfort, interior space, legroom, off-road capability and overall value of their trucks.

Depending on the model in question, ride quality is also highly rated, and depending on the equipped engine, some owners even report good fuel mileage. Confident trailer towing and 4x4 operation round out the package.

What Owners Dislike

Common complaints include small rear seats, sub-par power output with the smaller engines, a bouncy ride (depending on the model), excessive fuel consumption with the larger engines, and a big turning circle.

“Clumsy” rear doors and limited headroom for taller drivers and passengers round out the list of common complaints.

Common Issues

Check your potential used Ranger or B-Series for rust at the rear cab corners, lower portions of the doors, driver’s floor board, around the wheelwells, on the bottom of the tailgate, and on the corners of the roof.

Owner’s forums also suggest checking for cracks or leaks from the differentials and transfer case.

Ensure the transfer case switches between its various drive modes as outlined in the owner’s manual, and note that any unwelcomed vibrations or sounds from beneath the vehicle could be the result of a worn out or damaged suspension component or driveshaft.

Finally, note the quality of the gear shift between second and third on models with the automatic transmission. If the transmission feels like its slipping or “flaring” during said shift, there’s likely a problem with a gearshift solenoid in the transmission.

The Verdict

Search for as new a used model as possible, and note that a Ford or Mazda mechanic will be familiar with how to search for any potential issues.

The low price of a used Ranger or B-Series, as well as its overall value and looks will be its biggest draw.

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