After close to a decade in production, Mazda has finally revealed the brand-new third generation BT-50. Easily one of the most highly awaited new pick-ups of recent times, the BT-50, as is well known by now, dispenses with former parent company Ford’s T6 platform used by the Ranger and Everest, in favour of the Drive Dynamics that underpins the Isuzu D-Max.
Developed entirely by Isuzu, the BT-50, which Hiroshima’s Executive Officer and Head of Design, Ikuo Maeda, described three years ago as being a challenge to style with the Kodo design language, takes after the CX-9 SUV when viewed from the front, while the rear is easily identifiable as having originated from its new sibling.
Measuring 5 280 mm in overall length, 15 mm longer than the D-Max, with a wheelbase of 3 125 mm, height of 1 790 mm and width of 1 870 mm, the BT-50, in double cab 4×4 auto guise, offers a payload of 1 065 kg and according to Mazda, will tow the same 3 500 kg as most of its rivals.
In spite of Mazda being mostly coy on details, the interior appears largely similar to that of the D-Max in layout and design, with the nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system taking pride of place on the facia. Like the Isuzu, the system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus satellite navigation. A 4.2-inch TFT instrument cluster display also comes standard.
In terms of safety, the flagship BT-50 boasts Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning to name but a few. Exact spec will be revealed later.
For now, only a single engine is offered, the N-series truck derived 3.0 D-TEQ turbodiesel that pumps out 140kW/450Nm. Down seven kilowatts and 20 Nm on the previous range topping 3.2 TDCi five-cylinder, the oil-burner is paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
In spite of debuting with four-wheel-drive, the BT-50 will come as standard with two-wheel-drive, although it remains to be seen whether single and Freestyle Cab bodystyles would feature as before. Included though is a new rear diff-lock with the wading depth being rated at the same 800 mm as the Isuzu.
Shown in Australian-spec, where it will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, the BT-50 is only expected to arrive on local shores next year like the D-Max with an exact date still to be confirmed.