Mazda B2600 1994 Review
Owners of one-tonne trucks spend their working week carting the pigs to market, lugging bricks to a building site or taking themselves and their tools to the next job. But these hard-working business people also want their vehicles to provide the space, comfort and flexibility of a family car at the weekends.
That's where the Mazda Bravo Plus comes into its own. Its dual cab set-up offers five-seat accommodation for workmates during the week and, outside business hours, for the family. A heap of gear can also be thrown into the double-wall cargo box which has ribbed floor and sides, a double-skin tailgate, and a color-coded fibreglass back canopy.
Added comfort is provided by standard air-conditioning, while this model is also distinguished by a polished alloy bull bar. Under the bonnet is Mazda's 12-valve 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine which offers good performance around town or on the highway.
A 4x4 selector with high and low ranges gives owners the flexibility of getting to the most inaccesible work places or taking the family to a secluded camp. But the Bravo Plus being tested also had another special feature: Mazda's factory-backed dual-fuel option.
A simple flick of a switch on the dash allows you to drive the vehicle on unleaded petrol or liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Not only does this give Bravo owners the potential to save on operating costs by using the cheaper fuel, it also doubles the vehicle's travelling range. The system, which can be fitted to any petrol Bravo model, was developed by Mazda and LPG specialists ApolloGas Products and is available from any Mazda dealer.
A conversion will cost between $1600 and $2000, and is covered by Mazda's two-year/unlimited km commercial-vehicle warranty. The gas storage tank is mounted in the rear bed of the Bravo pickup, leaving the spare tyre under the frame for easy access.
The Bravo starts up with petrol to ensure smooth operation and automatically changes to gas after 1.5 seconds. The fuel gauge gives the appropriate reading for whichever fuel is being used. Electric lock-offs shut down the fuel flow in the event of a crash and the LPG operation is connected to the engine's management system.
City range on LPG is about 300km while you will get another 300km from the 56-litre petrol tank, giving a useful combined range of 600km. There is no noticeable difference in performance between petrol and gas. While this vehicle looks and feels like a truck, it has comforts aimed at the family.
Inside, the large windows add to the feeling of spaciousness, while the vehicle height gives a great view of the traffic ahead. Gauges and warning lights are large and easy to read, and parking is made easier with power steering. As well as the standard air-conditioning, the Bravo Plus has a four-speed heater/demister.
Unfortunately, the benefit of a rear demister in the cab can be lost by the lack of demisting on the windows in the canopy. A design flaw is the extremely tight space between the cab and the canopy which makes the windows difficult to clean, although I believe this will be partly remedied soon.
The two-piece tailgate is a bit fiddly, needing a key and turn of the handle to open the top half. The ride is remarkably smooth and comfortable for this type of vehicle, using a double wishbone independent front suspension and leaf springs at the back. A limited-slip rear differential and free-wheeling front hubs are standard.
MAZDA BRAVO PLUS
Engine: In-line 12-valve overhead-camshaft 2.6-litre electronically fuel-injected four-cylinder. This four sounds like a six and does the job with ease.
Power: 92kW/4600rpm. Torque: 205Nm/3500rpm. These figures are for petrol, but power loss is negligible with LPG.
Transmission: Five-speed manual.
Seating: Five adults.
Fuel consumption: 300km range from the gas and about the same from the petrol. Range is effectively doubled by having both the 85-litre gas tank and 56-litre petrol tank.
Suspension: Front - independent double wishbones with torsion bars and double-acting shock absorbers. Rear - left spring with double-acting shock absorbers. Feels and behaves more like a car than a truck.
Steering: Power-assisted ball and nut. Turning circle is big at 12.7m.
Brakes: Front - Ventilated discs. Rear - drums. No worries with stopping.
Wheels: 6JX16 steel. Tyres: 205 16C - 8PR.
Inclines: Approach 40.5 degrees. Departure 25.5 degrees.
Warranty: 2 years/unlimited km. The warranty also covers the LPG conversion.
Range and Specs
|Bravo||2.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$2,640 – 4,070||1994 Mazda B2600 1994 Bravo Pricing and Specs|
|Bravo (4x4)||2.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN 4X4||$2,640 – 4,070||1994 Mazda B2600 1994 Bravo (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Bravo Plus||2.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$2,640 – 4,070||1994 Mazda B2600 1994 Bravo Plus Pricing and Specs|
|Bravo Plus (4x4)||2.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN 4X4||$3,850 – 5,610||1994 Mazda B2600 1994 Bravo Plus (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data