New Zealand Fishing World - - Destination Plus Tow Test -

The of­fer to test drive the big red Mazda BT-50 GLX ini­tially pre­sented me with a con­ve­nient ex­cuse to es­cape. It’s fair to say I ac­tu­ally felt guilty as I loaded up the fish­ing rods, strapped the chilly bin and tackle box into the tray and closed the tail gate, but liv­ing in a con­verted tin shed with my wife, two young boys and a puppy, while wait­ing for a house to be built, meant lux­u­ries like pri­vacy and quiet were dis­tant mem­o­ries.

The guilt trip was short-lived once I climbed into the spa­cious dou­ble cab, pressed the start but­ton and shifted to drive. Re­sid­ing deep in Auck­land’s wild west meant the back road through State High­way 16 was the short­est and by far the most suited route to the BT-50’S skill-set.

With the 3.2 litre com­mon-rail turbo diesel offering 147kw of power, 470Nm of torque and a six speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion there was plenty un­der­foot as I hap­pily weaved my way through the scenic, yet hilly route.

De­spite its size the BT-50’S han­dling and fuel econ­omy was im­pres­sively car-like with min­i­mal body roll through the hang-on-tight cor­ners ap­proach­ing Wells­ford. Even the GPS voice guidance sys­tem ex­hib­ited good man­ners as it di­rected me to “please turn left” - if only the kids were that po­lite.

On ar­rival at Man­gawhai the re­vers­ing cam­era took the guess­work out of hook­ing up the boat, and while the loaded Sur­tees 610 Game­fisher’s 1500 odd kg tow weight was never go­ing to trou­ble the BT-50’S 3500kg braked al­lowance, the big red ute was eas­ily up to the task.

The 4wd dou­ble-cab model I was rolling also had a few tricks up its sleeve for added peace-of-mind with a load in tow. En­hanced safety fea­tures like Trailer Sway Con­trol, Elec­tronic Brake-force Dis­tri­bu­tion, Roll Sta­bil­ity Con­trol, Hill Launch As­sist and Hill De­scent Con­trol are all wel­come ad­di­tions to re­duce the stress that of­ten ac­com­pa­nies tow­ing, launch­ing and re­triev­ing a boat.

As we un-hooked the boat back at Sk­itzo’s bach and di­vided up the catch I knew I’d thor­oughly enjoy the drive home too.

De­spite hav­ing the least amount of gear Fos­syl took out the hon­ours with a solid 4kg spec­i­men. Al­though noth­ing no­table was caught they were all of great eat­ing size and the mea­sur­ing stick was rarely needed. Ap­par­ently Fos­syl caught the most fish as well but that sub­ject’s still be­ing de­bated.

Time well spent

Hav­ing left West Auck­land just af­ter nine and ar­riv­ing home with a chilly bin full of fish on ice by din­ner­time, it's cer­tainly a top way to spend a Satur­day. Not to men­tion that catching a feed of fresh fish amongst spec­tac­u­lar sur­rounds with good com­pany be­ing pretty magic too.

We had enough gear on board to sink a lesser ves­sel

The Mazda BT-50 really is a damn im­pres­sive wagon. This mag's ed­i­tor took it to Whakatane and Ro­torua on a bit of a back­coun­try mis­sion. He seemed a bit miffed to hand it over to me, es­pe­cially when he saw the re­sults of our day out.

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