Mazda BT-50 XT-R ute
The town of Boort in regional Victoria would have to be one of the few places in Australia where you can wake to the sound of gunfire and not think that you are about to be the victim of a home invasion.
However, my sleep-addled and rather disoriented brain didn’t really compute this as I instinctively dived to the floor and rolled under the bed.
It took a couple of seconds for my senses to catch up with the fact that I was rolling around in the dust bunnies for no real reason as what sounded like an artillery barrage rattled the windows of my hotel room.
Clearly I’m hero material.
It was, of course, actually the start of duck hunting season. Once I realised this I managed to extract myself from what turned out to be an alarmingly narrow space under the bed.
The dust bunnies, however, persisted, clinging to my exposed skin, and a glance in the mirror revealed a visage not unlike that of a Wookie with mange.
With the adrenaline from my rude awakening now fading, it was clearly time to hit the shower.
In the past I’ve devoted quite a few unkind words to describing the styling of the Mazda BT-50. I’ve even indicated it’s something of a value proposition for those who don’t really care what their ute looks like. A purely function-over-form decision.
Well, during the previous evening, the guys outside the Railway Hotel in Boort seemed to disagree. In fact, a couple even used bad words in my direction. In the face of such vehement opposition I have to admit that I was forced to see the Mazda ute in a different light.
(This new appreciation for the BT-50 may or may not have had something to do with the proliferation of firearms within the town limits.) NOT TOO SHABBY Sure, the BT-50 isn’t new. This current generation shares its platform with the Ford Ranger, which must smart a bit for the Zoom-Zoom company.
For over three decades, Ford was dependent on Mazda for its commercial vehicle platforms. The one time that Mazda uses the Ford platform it’s left looking dowdy, while the Ranger looks set to dominate the ute market locally.
This particular BT-50 XT-R, I have to admit, doesn’t look half bad. The addition of the blacked-out bar, light-force driving lights and the blacked-out fake beadlock 17-inch rims does give this Mazda a tougher, more purposeful look.
Early bar work for the BT-50 tended to make it look like it was wearing grandma’s glasses. ON THE ROAD
I’d stopped overnight in Boort on the road to Quambatook – the reason being that I was going to be picking up a minimodified pull tractor to take to the Diesel and Dirt Derby in Keith, South Australia.
(You can read my story on that at http://bit.ly/TradeFarmpull2)
I reckoned this was going to be the perfect opportunity to test the towing capabilities of the BT-50 on something other than a national highway.
The 550hp mini-modified tractor plus trailer, plus race fuel, tools and spares tipped the scales at just over two tonnes. Even though the current crop of 4x4 utes all claim towing capacities of over three tonnes, I still reckon they’re not the ideal choice for heavy towing.
Two tonnes, however, is just about spot on for this ute. At this weight you don’t have to worry about exceeding GCM, axle
The Mazda BT-50 XT-R ute with Jobbo’s pull tractor adding a bit of towing weight