New Mazda BT-50 bows in, boasting Isuzu DNA
The new Mazda bakkie retains the premium workhorse outlook atop an Isuzu platform
Much like the Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen Amarok, including cushy high-end versions of the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max, Mazda’s BT-50 is positioned more as a luxury and leisure bakkie.
But it’s also a proper working vehicle and the latest iteration has been revealed. The old BT-50 was the last vestige of a 41-year marriage between Ford and Mazda which ended in 2015.
They share nothing as Mazda steps into a new matrimonial agreement with fellow Japanese brand Isuzu. Both brands will craft out their D-Max and BT-50 using the same chassis and engines.
Both will be built alongside one another at Isuzu’s manufacturing plant in Thailand atop Isuzu’s new bakkie platform, though each has its own distinctive look and, in the case of the Mazda, has been altered to reflect the brand’s signature Kodo-Soul of Motion design language.
Everything from dashboard, steering wheel, seats and centre console is said to have been redesigned for comfort, luxury and good ergonomics. It will feature a 22.8cm touch-operated infotainment screen.
The previous Ford coalition gifted the BT-50 with Ford’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder and the powerful 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engines. This time it debuts with a new Isuzu-developed 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel heart with 140kW and 450Nm.
Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or automatic and it’s also available in both 4X2 and selectable four-wheel-drive with a low-range gearbox, locking differential, and approach and departure angles to enable a hybrid of uses for city and forest wandering.
Like before, you can expect less punchy, smaller capacity engines to power entry and middle spec variants in varying chassis body styles which, if using previous Mazda preferences, should include a single cab, an extended single cab and double cab.
Maximum payload is said to be well above the 1,000kg mark and it has a 3,500kg towing capacity. The new BT-50 is 5,280mm long, 1,780mm wide with a wheelbase of 3,125mm.
The local introduction and pricing is still unknown but according to a Mazda SA the BT-50 is definitely on its way here.