MAZDA sold about three million worldwide of its B-Series work ute over its ten-year lifespan, and it hopes to do even better with the successor BT-50. Building on the previous model’s pattern, the BT-50 retains the same dimensions, but has been given new looks, some new and clever equipment and most importantly — more powerful engines. The units are both comon-rail intercooled turbo diesels that aim to silence any gripes about the B-Series being short of grunt, and vastly reworked five-speed gearboxes. A 3.0-litre version that develops 115kW of power (an increase of 33kW) at 3200rpm and 380Nm of torque (up 109Nm) at a low 1800rpm powers all the four-wheel drive versions in single, freestyle and dual cab bodies, and can be optioned with a five-speed automatic transmission. The sole two-wheel drive DX Single Cab Chassis gets a 2.5-litre that also increases output over the previous one, getting 105kW (up 23kW) at 3500rpm and 330Nm (up 59Nm) also at 1800rpm. This is the entry level worksite buddy, and the one we asked to test — just to see what is offered in the basic workers’ wheels. The news is pretty good. The little truck at first sight looks very no-frills, but there are a few quite clever options that make life easier. One of the simplest is the inclusion of a water tank with tap and inset soap dispenser under the tray on the passenger side.This is one of the best gadgets we’ve seen this year, just for allowing you to clean all the grime off your hands before you step into the cabin and smear the
steering wheel, gearshift and everything else within your grubby reach. The cabin itself might lack even things like power windows, a vanity mirror and upmarket finishes, but it offers an MP3 compatible audio system. The airconditioning is also on the option list, but is the fiercest system we’ve ever tried. Flick on the controls and the system chills the NQ-roasted cabin down to icebox temperature in about a minute. The bench seat has enough adjustment to suit most arm lengths when combined with the tilt-adjustable steering wheel. One other odd omission in these safety-conscious times is airbags as standard, hinting that this ute is probably more aimed at the primary producer who supposedly wants to crawl across paddocks.The airbags can be optioned, but are standard on the other models. The gearshift is a longish throw but quite easy to use, and there’s no doubting the ability of the turbo diesel, which starts chugging like a pint-sized draught horse right from the start. With nothing in the dropside aluminium tray empty, the vehicle feels like it is riding on square wheels, possibly because the suspension is set up to take a load — and this is the kind of ute that will probably never be empty. Our solution was to line the tray with a bit of spare bedding and take a few lumps of wood and metal for a tour around town.This extra weight smoothed out the ride considerably and also seemed to calm down the handling. But this is a work horse, not a show pony, and performance and dynamics are not so much an issue as it’s ability to get the job done. So while its 0-100km/h figure of about 10.4 seconds is respectable for its type, buyers are going to be more interested in it being able to tow 2250kg (an increase of 450kg over the previous model) and Mazda’s claimed economy figures of 8.3L/100km for the 2.5-litre, an improvement of 14.4 per cent. The DX Single Cab Chassis retails for $23,255 without the tray, but Mazda is offering a special launch price of $20,990 that includes the aluminium tray, ladder racks, toolbox, water tank, airconditioning.
The Mazda B-Series Dx has a non-nonsense approach
outside and inside
While the DX entry level version is decidely no-frills, clever options like the water tanka nd soap dispenser
add to its appeal