The Mazda BT-50 Perth has long been a dark shadow in the automotive world. It was viewed as a second-class citizen among its pickup competitors, an afterthought in a category loaded with legendary nameplates like the Ranger, Strada, and Hilux. It was previously created in collaboration with Ford, although this is only sometimes converted into market success. Isuzu collaborated with Chevrolet to produce the Colorado, MUX, DMAX, and Trailblazer.
Unfortunately, Chevy shuttered its production factory, leaving Isuzu without a “buddy” in the pickup industry. Mazda and Isuzu formed a new cooperation, resulting in the new DMAX and MUX and a revitalised BT-50. The question is whether the BT-50 can finally create a more significant impression and stand independently.
Mazda is all about its “Kodo” design, which has appeared on all of its models in recent years, except the earlier generation BT-50. Now that the award-winning Mazda design has reached BT-50 pickups, it no longer seems to be an out-of-place adopted sister.
The Kodo design of the Mazda BT-50 was imposed on a pickup body.
In practice, it works, and it works well. We’re accustomed to seeing pickups with minimalist and muscular shapes; although the BT-50 still has a firm appearance, the Kodo design adds sophistication and flair to the overall appearance.
Here’s where the Mazda influence is most noticeable; even if you’re not a professional, you can see Isuzu let Mazda have its way with the inside.
The interior is elegant yet practical, with a sprinkling of soft-touch materials providing a feeling of elegance without detracting from the functional essence of a real truck. You will also appreciate how the piano’s black materials were kept to a minimum to reduce the possibility of scratching up specific panels.
It should also be noted that Mazda improved the interior ergonomics; everything is simple and easy to use. All of the essential buttons and functionalities are easily accessible.
Regarding features, you get two analogue gauges flanked by a tiny digital display screen with vehicle information. The infotainment system has a 7-inch LCD screen with Android Auto and WiFi Apple CarPlay.
Overall, the Mazda BT-50 interior successfully balances elegance and practicality.
Isuzu has taken over responsibility for the department that is responsible for the powertrain. The Mazda BT-50 has a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine capable of producing 190 horsepower and 450 newton-metres of torque. A 6-speed automatic gearbox is responsible for transmitting the power to the vehicle’s rear wheels.
The 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine called 4JJ3-TCX powers all Mazda BT-50s. That’s hardly unexpected, given that this is the same engine used in the D-Max and Mu-X. In the case of our 44 models, this is coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission. You’d be correct if you anticipate the Mazda BT-50 to drive similarly to the D-Max.
It has leaf springs at the rear axle, and although it has the natural stiffness of such a setup, it’s never harsh like a Toyota Hilux. As you take it around a curve, the BT-50 steers competently but not in the dynamic style you’d expect from a Mazda MX-30 hybrid or passenger car. The hydraulic steering provides an excellent driving feel, although it isn’t as quick as a standard Mazda.
This implies that the Mazda BT-50 from Mazda dealers Perth is among the best in the class regarding ride and refinement. It has leaf springs at the rear axle, and although it has the natural stiffness of such a setup, it’s never harsh like a Toyota Hilux. As you take it around a curve, the BT-50 steers competently but not in the dynamic style you’d expect from a Mazda MX-30 hybrid or passenger car. The hydraulic steering provides an excellent driving feel, although it isn’t as quick as a standard Mazda.
How the suspension handles the truck’s body movements also contributes to its exceptional handling (for a pickup). Body roll is there but isn’t extreme and appears in a regular pattern. Road noise is adequately suppressed, and there is barely any wind noise from the wing mirrors, indicating excellent refinement.
The BT-50’s 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine does not produce class-leading statistics. It generates 190 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque, much like the D-Max, but it also has an extensive torque curve that makes this pickup easy to overtake. Similarly, the 6-speed automated transmission linked to this engine shifts smoothly. The machine is one of the BT-50 and D-best Max’s features. Yeah, it has comparable fuel efficiency numbers of 10.6-11.2 km/l.
The one area where the BT-50 outperforms the D-Max is in off-road performance. The BT-50 lacks a custom 4×4 powertrain, although it does feature a locking rear differential, which a top-trim LS-E 4×4 variation of the D-Max lacks. If the D-Max becomes stuck on a trail, it will direct its power to the wheel with the least grip, but the BT-50 would quickly escape such a position. We need to understand why the more costly D-Max doesn’t have this critical off-roading function.
Practicality and Space
The practical elements of the Mazda BT-50 are almost identical to those of the D-Max, which means they have the same rear seat comfort and capacity and the same amply sized bed. We don’t have payload estimates for the BT-50 as we have for the D-Max, but we’re convinced it can carry at least a metric tonne of cargo. Oh, and depending on when you read (or watch) this review, all Mazda BT-50s come included with fender flares and a bed cover.
It also now stands on its own. Despite its “connection” with its Isuzu brothers, the Mazda BT-50 stands out as a more sophisticated and distinct alternative for individuals wishing to separate.
Ultimately, the relationship between Isuzu and Mazda has benefited both companies. Isuzu delivers durability and reliability, while Mazda adds ergonomics and refinement.
It’s time to treat the Mazda BT-50 seriously, and those who do will not be disappointed.