THE MAZDA BT-50 SHARES THE FORD RANGER’S PARENTAGE, BUT NOT ITS SALES SUCCESS.
MAZDA’S BT-50 is the third vehicle in the top 10 to suffer a sales decline in the first half of 2018 compared to the same time last year. Mind you, it’s only dropped by 1.3 per cent year-on-year, but, due to better sales of the others, the BT-50 now only scrapes into the top 10 by around 150 units in front of VW’S Amarok.
In what has been a booming ute market over the last decade, BT-50’S sales have remained pretty constant since it arrived in late 2011. In its first full year of sales in 2012, 8279 BT-50 4x4s were sold, while last year 8900 were sold.
It’s hard to believe how poorly the Mazda BT-50 sells in comparison to the Ford Ranger given they are – in essence – the same ute. More than four Rangers are currently sold for every one BT-50 and, while the Ranger offers some notable technical advantages adopted for MY16, the BT-50 is generally cheaper. In Mazda’s defence, it is probably more concerned with its small passenger cars and SUVS, which are its big sellers, where for Ford the Ranger is the main game. Mazda is also well ahead of Ford in overall new-car sales.
In most ways the BT-50 drives much like the Ranger. For starters its 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine retains the same torquey, low-revving, smooth-running and agreeable character, even if it’s not as quiet or as responsive as the Ranger’s.
The BT-50 also doesn’t have Ranger’s electric power steering that makes for easier low-speed manoeuvring; although, others will argue that Mazda’s oldschool hydraulic system in its offering is potentially more robust.
Off-road the BT-50 is a good thing; although, a notch down from the Ranger due to another 2016 upgrade it received – leaving the front traction control active when the rear locker is engaged – which Mazda didn’t adopt.
Otherwise everything that is likable about the Ranger, such as a spacious cabin and excellent towing and loadcarrying ability, is essentially true of the BT-50.