A brand new Mazda BT-50 has been released in Australia. The term ‘brand new’ is used willy-nilly by sales and marketing people – but in this case the BT-50 really is brand new.

For many years the Mazda BT-50 was been designed and manufactured in partnership with Ford, which calls its model the Ranger. That’s now changed and new BT-50 is a collaboration with Isuzu, which makes the D-MAX pickup. That’s important because these days Isuzu is purely a truck maker, not a car company. So the emphasis is on ruggedness rather than just passenger use.

The brand new Mazda BT-50 is built in the Isuzu factory in Bangkok. We have toured that factory in the past and were impressed by the attitude and standard of work from the people there.

The BT-50 uses the same steering and suspension as the Isuzu D-MAX. Mazda says it’s happy with the ride and handling and that if any changes are made these would be carried out with in conjunction with Isuzu.

It goes without saying that the new BT-50 has Mazda’s Kodo very successful frontal styling. We feel it’s a nice combination of toughness in its lines.

At this stage only the BT-50 four-door pickup is coming Downunder as buyers are gobbling up pickup trucks as soon as they get off the ships. Other variants will come later and include a two-door.

A large touchscreen infotainment system offers Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

Power comes from a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. With 140kW of power and 450Nm it has up to 3,500kg towing capacity and up to a 1,000kg payload.

Mazda says it’s offering best-in-class safety and that the new Mazda BT-50, brings features to the segment to meet tougher safety standards. The local Mazda people are currently talking to ANCAP about this and hope to gain a five star rating.

Adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are standard equipment. The latter is particularly useful as these are long vehicles and you have to reverse a fair way before you can see vehicles coming across your path.

We have yet to see the new Mazda BT-50 in the metal as Covid-19 meant that the launch was done over the internet. We have arranged to borrow a Mazda BT-50 for a week’s road test and will get back to you with our thoughts.

XT Dual Cab Chassis 4×2: $44,090 (automatic)
XT Dual Cab Pickup 4×2: $45,490 (automatic)
XTR Dual Cab Pickup 4×2: $49,470 (automatic)
XT Dual Cab Chassis 4×4: $49,360 (manual), $51,860 (automatic)
XT Dual Cab Pickup 4×4: $50,760 (manual), $53,260 (automatic)
XTR Dual Cab Pickup 4×4: $54,710 (manual), $57,210 (automatic)
GT Dual Cab Pickup 4×4: $56,990 (manual), $59,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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