Mazda has launched its interesting styled all new BT-50 ute range – the fourth chapter in new Aussie utes for this year (Volkswagen Amarok, Toyota Hi-Lux, and Ford Ranger).
Like the Ranger and Hi–Lux, all new Mazda BT-50 is available in single cab, freestyle cab and dual cab. Power comes from Mazda’s 2.2-litre, four-cylinder and 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo-diesel engines driving though six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
Mazda has broken new ground with model grades – the all new BT-50 lines up in XR, XTR, and GT versions. For those who want to spice things up, Mazda BT-50 XTR and GT dual cab 4x4 models can add two accessory kits – “Boss sports kit” and “Boss adventure kit”, which both bring bullbars, driving lights, 17 inch alloy wheels, alloy sports bar and more.
A joint development between Mazda and Ford’s Australian based Ranger development team, styling of the Mazda BT-50 provides clear differentiation from its Ford sibling. It’s apparent Mazda’s stylists chased a softer appearance for the BT-50 whereas the Ranger’s looks are totally “Ford-Truck”.
The front end features a look borrowed from Mazda’s passenger cars, and there is a powerful image delivered by the bonnet character lines and curved wheel arch flares. We particularly like the modern rear end styling with its split rear light design.
Once again dimensions are up considerably over the superseded BT-50 (204mm longer and 43mm wider just for starters)-it’s this extra space inside which provides a real boost for Mazda BT-50/ Ford Ranger over the opposition. For dual cab models this means 16mm more headroom and 30mm more shoulder room up front, while rear seat passengers enjoy 55mm more legroom.
Freestyle models use the front-hinged /rear-hinged access panel door system of the RX-8. The 90 degree opening rear access panels provide easy access for rear seat passengers and extra cargo versatility.
Inside, the all new Mazda BT-50 again ramps up the appointments overs its predecessor. Single cab models dispense with the single bench seat and gain a 60/40 arrangement giving the driver a separate seat.
Dual cab models add a three person rear seat with extra seat back height and cushion length to match the front.
Dashboard design is all new and there are improved seat materials and trim choices to thoroughly modernise the all new Mazda BT-50. Audio is a MP3 capable, Bluetooth enabled CD system with a dashboard mounted multi-function display (3.5 inch monochrome in XT, 5 inch color LCD with satellite navigation for XTR and GT models).
Of course the big thing with these vehicles is cargo capacity and the Mazda BT-50 delivers with an extra 104mm in width, 48mm in height and 19-94mm in length (depending on the model). Dual cabs deliver 1214 litres and freestyle cab 1453 litres. Towing capacities are impressive – 3350kgs (3.2-litre) and 2500kgs (2.2-litre)
Heading the under bonnet action is the first Mazda application of the familiar 3.2-litre, five-cylinder direct injection turbo diesel engine. Maximum power is 147kW @ 3000rpm, and peak torque of 470Nm is available between 1750rpm and 2500rpm.
Mazda considered its 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine, but opted for the 5 cylinder 3.2-litre, not only for its extra performance, but also because – surprisingly – it’s smaller and lighter. Fuel economy is as low as 8.4l/100kms.
The new 2.2-litre direct injection turbo diesel provides for 110kW at 3700rpm, and maximum torque of 375Nm at 1500 -2500rpm. Fuel economy is as low at 7.6l/100kms.
Drive is via six speed automatic or manual transmissions.
Like its Ford Ranger sibling the all new Mazda BT-50 is commendably equipped for handy 2WD performance and handy off-road abilities. The ladder frame chassis is appreciated by commercial users and off-road enthusiasts. While the new rack-and-pinion steering is a step up over the predecessor.