Mazda’s all-new dual-cab rival to the wildly popular Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux will be revealed sooner than expected.
Details about the new BT-50 dual-cab ute have been tightly guarded by Mazda, but dealer sources have told CarExpert the all-new model will be unveiled next month.
It’s also believed Mazda already has a pre-production BT-50 in Australia.
Unlike the current BT-50, which was co-developed with Ford, the upcoming model shares its platform with the next-generation Isuzu D-Max.
Although details about the BT-50 are thin on the ground, it’s expected the ute will be powered by the same 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine as the Isuzu D-Max.
If that is the case, the Mazda will pack 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque – down on the 147kW and 470Nm offered by the current car’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine.
Expect a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, along with two- and four-wheel drive options.
The current BT-50 lacks active safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, along with autonomous emergency braking.
The new D-Max promises to offer a full suite of semi-autonomous driver assists, so expect the 2020 BT-50 to follow suit.
Rivals such as the Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, and Ford Ranger now offer autonomous emergency braking from the bottom end of the range.
Inside, it isn’t yet clear whether the BT-50 will feature the same touchscreen infotainment system as the Isuzu D-Max, or whether it will feature MZD Connect with its rotary controller.
However it seems more likely Mazda will integrate MZD Connect, given it trod its own path with the previous-generation BT-50 instead of using Ford SYNC.
A new infotainment system is long overdue given the current BT-50 makes do with an aftermarket Alpine head unit.
The new BT-50 can’t come soon enough for Mazda. When it arrives, it’ll take the fight to the Ford Ranger, which will carry on until late 2022 or early 2023 in its current form.
Toyota is reportedly preparing an update for the HiLux, adding more power under the bonnet and much-needed smartphone mirroring technology for the interior.
The new BT-50 will also go head-to-head with its D-Max cousin, which is expected in dealerships in July.
The current model was last year comfortably outsold by the Ford Ranger, Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Toyota HiLux, and Volkswagen Amarok in the 4×4 ute segment.