Func­tion and looks

The B Se­ries re­place­ment proved a hit with ute buy­ers, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

MModel watch

AZDA shunned the no­tion a ute had to look like a car to ap­peal to recre­ational users who were buy­ing one-tonne utes, such as the BT-50, in in­creas­ing num­bers for their week­end getaways.

The com­pany be­lieved a ute should still look tough and pur­pose­ful, and held true to that be­lief when de­sign­ing the re­place­ment for the old B-Se­ries.

Be­neath the tough ex­te­rior, how­ever, Mazda worked hard to en­sure the BT-50 had some of the ZoomZoom that was so suc­cess­ful in re­viv­ing the im­age of its pas­sen­ger cars. THE BT-50 was an all-new model with barely any­thing car­ried over from the out­go­ing B Se­ries. The model range con­sisted of 4x2 and 4x4 mod­els, with three body styles — sin­gle cab-chas­sis, Freestyle ex­tended cab and dual-cab util­ity — and three lev­els of equip­ment, the base model DX, the DX+ and the range-top­ping SDX.

It had a strong, pur­pose­ful look that gave it a solid, sub­stan­tial im­age, the re­sult of rais­ing the belt line 30mm and the sides of the cargo bed by 60mm.

The cabin was gen­er­ally a pleas­ant place to be. The only crit­i­cism was that it lacked el­bow­room com­pared with most of its ri­vals, all of which had grown larger with the changeover to the new gen­er­a­tions mod­els, of which the BT-50 was one.

Mazda of­fered two diesel en­gines, depend­ing on the model. The en­trylevel two-wheel drive sin­gle cabchas­sis had a 2.5-litre com­mon rail dou­ble over­head camshaft four­cylin­der turbo diesel en­gine that pro­duced 105kW at 3500 revs and 330Nm at 1800 revs.

All other mod­els were pow­ered by a 3.0-litre com­mon rail dou­ble over­head camshaft four-cylin­der in­ter­cooled turbo diesel.

When on song, the 3.0-litre de­vel­oped 115kW at 3200 revs and 380Nm at 1800 revs, up by 33kW and 109Nm from the en­gine in the out­go­ing model.

Most mod­els had a new five-speed man­ual gear­box, but there was also the op­tion of a five-speed auto in the range-top­ping SDX Dual Cab.

The BT-50 was built in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive forms, the lat­ter us­ing a dual range trans­fer case and limited-slip rear diff.

On man­ual mod­els the trans­fer case shift was man­ual, and they had re­mote free-wheel hub lock mech­a­nisms, while those with auto trans­mis­sions had an elec­tric shift al­low­ing ‘‘on the fly’’ shift­ing be­tween two and four-wheel drive.

Un­der­neath, the BT-50 sat on a beefed-up lad­der-frame chas­sis. Larger front and rear shocks, and longer rear leaf springs im­proved the ride with­out af­fect­ing the BT-50s ca­pac­ity for work.

Mazda chose to stick with nut-and­ball steer­ing in­stead of fol­low­ing the trend to rack-and-pin­ion; the re­sult was a wide 12m turn­ing cir­cle.

Brakes were a mix of disc front and drum rear, but with im­proved pedal feel and brak­ing ef­fi­ciency. ABS an­tilock brakes and Elec­tronic Brake Force Dis­tri­bu­tion were avail­able on all but the en­try 4x2 sin­gle cab-chas­sis model.

Ev­ery­where man: own­ers ex­pect, and the Mazda BT-50 one-tonne dual cab delivers, in most cases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.