Something for all in new Mazda
With a list of variants as long as the Federal Senate poll paper, petrol and diesel powered, two or fourwheel-drive, the Mazda BT-50 comes in single cab, freestyle cab and dual cab format in three grades — XT, XTR and GT.
Mazda BT-50 comes with the choice of two diesel engines, including the MZ-CD 2.2-litre 4-cylinder motor and an MZ-CD 3.2-litre five-cylinder unit, both with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Prices start at $25,570, plus onroad costs, for the 2.2-litre Single Cab/Chassis XT 4x2 manual and round out to $53,790 for the 3.2-litre Dual Cab Utility GT 4X4.
The test vehicle, the 3.2-litre Dual Cab Utility XTR 4X4 automatic, slots in at $51,700
Mazda has come up with a challenging shape for the revised BT-50. Key to this are a powerful front end that inherits elements of the Mazda family face and a rear that differentiates the BT-50 from other less adventurously shaped utes. The updated BT-50 rolls on newly designed wheels — XTR and GT on 17-inch wheels with a twotone gunmetal and machined alloy finish.
Dual-zone climate control airconditioning keeps occupants comfy. Noise, vibration and harshness have also been addressed to achieve the quiet and comfortable driving found in passenger cars.
Mazda BT-50 XTR and GT models have been given a new centre console layout which includes a 7.8-inch high-definition screen and satellite navigation.
An advanced audio system sports six speakers, while all models feature functions typically seen in passenger cars. For example, USB connectivity for portable audio players, Bluetooth connectivity for mobile telephones, and voice control. The six-speed automatic transmission of the test vehicle incorporated Sequential Shift Control, which offers Normal and Performance modes plus a Manual mode that allows sequential manual shifting.
An electronically controlled, shift-on-the-fly transfer case enables the driver to shift between 2WD and 4WD at will via a switch on the centre console. Low-range gearing is also available.
A raft of safety technology includes ABS anti-skid braking, dynamic stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist, brake over-ride, hill launch assist, hill descent control, traction control, roll stability control, load adaptive control, trailer sway control and emergency stop signal.
The BT-50 has driver and passenger front airbags, side airbags, and curtain airbags.
The five-cylinder in-line 3.2-litre turbo-diesel engine is a no-nonsense unit. Expect to average fuel consumption of nine to 11 litres per 100km around the suburbs
A torque curve with a peak plateau of 470 Nm from 1750 to 2500 rpm provides smooth engine response during take-off and prevents uncomfortable downshifts on sharp acceleration, or when tackling inclines. As a workhorse, the BT-50 is up there with the best, with a class-topping braked towing capacity of 3500kg, an unbraked capacity of 750kg and a tow ball download of 350kg.
With a long line-up of models, the BT-50 has something for everyone, and almost every set of conditions.