4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

TIME flies when you’re hav­ing fun, and it’s been fun hav­ing the BT-50 here. Yep, its six months with us are up and it will be sad to see it go. The BT-50 has proven to be a ver­sa­tile and prac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle for all sorts of mo­tor­ing, and it has cer­tainly lived up to its role as a dual-pur­pose 4x4.

The BT came to us fresh from a trip to Coober Pedy and Ood­na­datta, where former edi­tor Mar­cus Craft put it through its paces on the rocky and dusty tracks out there. Mazda gave it a real good tidy-up be­fore we picked it up in Melbourne, but when we dropped the spare tyre down to fit the Bf­goodrich All Ter­rain KO2S, the gravel and red dust that dropped off with it re­vealed where the car had been.

The BFG KO2S were the only af­ter­mar­ket item we needed to fit thanks to the crew at Mazda tick­ing off all the es­sen­tials from its fac­tory ac­ces­sories cat­a­logue. This proved to be a real bonus, as the car came ready for ac­tion wher­ever we wanted to take it. The gear from Mazda was all top-qual­ity, in­clud­ing Light­force Ge­n­e­sis driv­ing lights, an Icom UHF ra­dio, HEMA map­ping on the sat-nav and the Redarc dual-bat­tery sys­tem. All this gear proved in­valu­able out in the bush and, com­ing from rep­utable brands, we could be con­fi­dent they wouldn’t let us down. Top marks to Mazda for of­fer­ing such qual­ity ac­ces­sories for 4x4ers.

With the BFGS on the BT, we took off from Melbourne for an in­ter­state trip to Queens­land, us­ing some out-ofthe-way back­roads to break up the trip. The re­turn jour­ney was at a much more leisurely pace, as we beach-hopped down the coast as far as New­cas­tle and then cut for the Snowy Moun­tains to fol­low

the Snowy River from its source to the coast.

We love the way the Mazda has a re­laxed tour­ing gait on the high­way; the torquey 3.2-litre en­gine pokes along with­out rais­ing a sweat and then hard­ens up when on the steep slopes of the high coun­try, which it han­dled with ease.

Since that trip, the BT has done gen­eral day-to-day com­muter du­ties, helped a mate move house, car­ried push­bikes to the tracks, day trips with 4x4 clubs, towed boats on fish­ing trips with our mates at Trade-a-boat mag­a­zine and, most re­cently, snuck off for a day of fly-fish­ing with Mick and James from Moun­tain Fly, Victoria. The BT does all th­ese things with ease, con­fi­dence and, most im­por­tantly, it has never let us down.

The only prob­lem we had with the car was a rat­tle from the muf­fler, which was re­placed by Mazda at ser­vice time and wasn’t a ma­jor is­sue.

As I said, I’ll be sad to see the BT go as it re­ally showed the ad­van­tages of hav­ing a dual-cab 4x4 ute that’ll do just about any­thing you throw at it.

Our BT came equipped with plenty of Mazda-fit­ted ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing Light­force Ge­n­e­sis driv­ing lights, but we up­graded them to the lat­est HTX230S. We also fit­ted a set of BFG’S new KO2 All Ter­rain tyres.

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