Roomy ute is on its way

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

AUS­TRALIA will be host to the global un­veil­ing of Mazda’s sui­cide-door ute.

The BT-50 Freestyle will be re­vealed at the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show in Mel­bourne, fol­low­ing in the tracks of the world’s first look at the dual-cab ver­sion at last year’s show.

While a fu­ture sin­gle-cab ver­sion is a fore­gone con­clu­sion— but hasn’t been of­fi­cially con­firmed — Mazda spokesman Steve Maciver said be­ing first to re­veal the first two body styles would raise more in­ter­est in the ute sub-seg­ments where the BT50 is lag­ging.

‘‘We cer­tainly per­form very well with the sin­gle cab, but where we’re a lit­tle un­der­done is the 4x4 dual cab area,’’ Mr Maciver says.

‘‘That’s where we want to grow the busi­ness, and the fea­tures on the BT-50 will help us com­pete bet­ter in that seg­ment.’’

Based on the Ford Ranger, the BT-50 in Freestyle form has rear-hinged pan­els that mir­ror the front-hinged doors to make for a very wide 1408mm pil­lar­less open­ing, of­fer­ing easy ac­cess to both front and rear seats.

While a large cabin usu­ally tends to eat into tray ca­pac­ity, Mazda has in­creased the tub vol­ume of the Freestyle by 266 litres to­tal of 1453 litres.

More cargo space is avail­able by re­mov­ing the rear seat cush­ions, which Mazda says have been en­larged and

for a im­proved for bet­ter com­fort.

Al­though it’s largely a Ranger twin un­der the skin, the BT-50’s ‘‘all-new driv­e­train’’ (promised at last year’s mo­tor show) will not be fol­low­ing the Ford down a petrol path.

It will in­stead con­tinue with the ute’s tur­bod­iesel fo­cus but with im­prove­ments on the out­go­ing mod­els’ 105kW/330Nm 2.5-litre and 115kW/380Nm 3.0-litre.

The BT-50 will go on sale later this year. Pric­ing and fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions will be re­vealed closer to its launch.

We­want to grow the busi­ness

Mazda’s BT-50 ute will make its world de­but in Aus­tralia

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