The new BT-50 breaks cover

With a new look and new chassis, this new BT-50 shows it wants a bigger slice of the braai.

12 August 2021 | Motors

Yochanaan Coetzee

The new Mazda BT-50 has been launched globally and this latest iteration looks to punch far above its weight-class, with an upmarket interior approach, underpinned with advanced new chassis borrowed from the upcoming D-Max.

After a long time of borrowing ques from the Ford Ranger, the new BT-50 now takes a wholly Japanese-approach with KODO-inspired looks and luxury, while Isuzu’s proven chassis and drivetrain, steering this celebrated model into what looks like a bright new chapter.

D-stinctive

Okay, let’s get over the hump here. Yes, it’s taken n a lot of inspiration from the Isuzu’s upcoming D-Max. Which is overall positive, but Mazda have definitely made it their own through infusing their upmarket SUV styling and bold KODO-design characteristics to create a unique visual experience.

The imposing grille features the same sharp LED headlamps with daytime running light and fog lamps. From there sweeping crease lines that flow from the grille to the side mirrors, as well as the pinched waistline and running boards. While the defined shoulder lines align with the load bed and the tops of the tail-light clusters feature the brand’s signature circular aesthetic.

The new BT-50 is available in three derivates, namely the 1.9TD double cab Active, 3.0TD double cab Dynamic and 3.0TD double cab 4×4 Individual automatic, which comes in additional, more luxurious spec as well.

The 3.0 TD Individual 4x4 features a chrome-look grilles, side mirrors and handles in combination with silver running boards and 18-inch alloys.

The cabin is plain but stylish, with a soft-touch finish to the edge of the dash, and most points of where your knees and elbows would be in contact. There are also tasteful applications of piano black and chrome-look trim, which, we all know can be somewhat finicky to keep clean, but still elevates the interior aesthetic. The instrument cluster features a 4.2-inch multi-info display and then you also get a huge 9-inch infotainment screen, which doubles as your reverse camera. The cloth seats are comfortable and add a sporty feel to the BT-50’s interior.

The switchgear, instrumentation cluster and multifunction steering wheel are identical to that of the upcoming D-Max.

Keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a fast-charging USB port, rain-sensing wipers and auto headlamp levelling are among the convenience-features on the Individual model.

Performance

As mentioned, two engines will power the new BT-50 line-up, with a choice of two gearboxes available. The 1.9-litre engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, with 110 kW and 350 Nm sent to the rear wheels. The 3.0-litre unit, available with the same gearbox options, offers 140 kW and 450 Nm. The top-spec Individual derivative is the only 4x4 model in the range.

Mazda says its automatic gearbox's electronic control module "is programmed to match the torque delivery characteristics of the engine by always selecting the best ratio."

Thanks to the Isuzu’s epically easy switchgear, switching from 2H to 4H can be done on the fly, by simply keeping the wheels straight and turning a knob. Going to 4L, however, will require you to come to stop.

In terms of practicality, the new BT-50 has a payload of just over 1 tonne, while its load tray is 1 571-mm long, 1 530-mm wide (with 1 120 mm between the wheel wells) and 490-mm deep, plus it comes outfitted with tie-down loops.

The ride quality was a bit of a mixed bag, but the roads on our test route (a mix of rural, suburban and urban) were far from perfect. At speed, the Mazda has a relaxed, and composed feel, but one can still experience a few bumps here and there, while on gravel, it’s definitely comfortable and sure-footed.

Summary

Apart from being much more visually appealing than its predecessor, the new BT-50 offers more appeal for buyers who want the practicality and looks of a bakkie, but need a more family-focused, or “leisure-cab” vehicle type vehicle.

The new Mazda BT-50 comes standard with a three-year unlimited km service plan, and a three-year unlimited km warranty.

Contact Novel Mazda Namibia at 061 435 4800, and the BT-50 3.0 Individual AT 4x4, as tested, could be yours for only N$779 000.

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