What’s in like in person? We had the chance to bring the BT-50 out of its studio environment to the outdoors and get up close and personal with Australia’s latest dual-cab utility.
- On sale in Australia late in 2020
- The BT-50 will be powered by a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine producing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque
- It packs a 3500kg braked towing capacity
- There’s a payload over 1000kg
- A full suite of active safety features comes standard
Mazda says none of the external panels of the new BT-50 are shared with the Isuzu D-Max.
Looking at the BT-50 head on, it carries a unique design that’s nowhere near as happy and cheerful as the outgoing BT-50.
The front end looks aggressive with a thin LED headlight cluster drawing your eyes down to the wide-set fog light and daytime running light cluster.
Around the rear it’s a more simplified design, but the Mazda badge is worn proudly atop the tailgate. The BT-50 uses rear drum brakes and leaf springs, and misses features such as a 12V or power outlet in the tray or basic niceties such as a torsion bar to make opening and closing the tub easier.
But in terms of external features, there’s a remote engine start function on the key, plus a proximity key system that automatically unlocks the car on approach (within two metres of the car) and locks it again when you get more than three metres away.
Inside the cabin it feels premium. It’s a big step forward from the current BT-50 and right in the mix with the higher end utes in this class.
Probably the most exciting part about the technology in the car is wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meaning you’ll never need to use a cable to connect your phone to smartphone mirroring technology.
The 9.0-inch tablet-style screen has been pulled from Isuzu and while it looks good, it’s not quite as sharp as something like Sync3 from Ford. But it works well and the integration of smartphone mirroring removes the need to actually use the screen outside of this technology.
The seats are super comfortable and come with perforated leather and a wrap-around bolster. They also feature seat heating for the front row.
We had the chance to switch the car on and move it around and found the steering to be very light. It’s now electrically-assisted instead of the current hydraulic setup, which has allowed for the integration of a semi-autonomous parking aid.
Outside of that, the rest of the cabin is nicely presented with soft touch material atop the dashboard and soft padded sections surrounding the centre transmission tunnel that acts as a knee pad.
Second row accommodation is good, if a little tight with the first row pulled back, but comes with top tether points, underfloor storage and two ISOFIX points, along with rear air vents, a centre arm rest with cup holders and USB charging.
With a payload of over 1000kg, a 3500kg towing capacity and a revitalised four-cylinder turbocharged engine, we think the Mazda BT-50 should do well in this segment if the pricing is right.
There needs to be enough of a pricing differentiation with the Isuzu D-Max to make it a worthwhile proposition.
Mazda is also working on accessories locally to suit the vehicle that are likely to be made available for international markets.
Let us know what you think of the new Mazda BT-50 in the comments section below!
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