The initial line-up of dual cab models of the 2021 Brand-New Mazda BT-50 range became available in Australia in October.
The capitals on the words ‘Brand-New’ are Mazda’s reference to the significant number of changes to the BT-50 range which had its world premiere in June and is now available here just a few months later.
This has been a universally challenging year for business globally, yet Mazda has stayed true to its plans for the BT-50, probably in response to the number of new models coming from other manufacturers including the Isuzu D-Max with which the BT-50 has shared some development.
Mazda has designed a relatively muscular looking exterior which is tempered with comfortable interiors and a plethora of built-in safety technology.
Mazda’s commitment to offering best-in-class safety features carries over from its passenger cars and SUVs to the BT-50 with standard equipment including Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert as well as the expected functions such as Anti-lock Braking System and Dynamic Stability Control.
SRS airbags are fitted for the driver, front passenger, side curtain, driver’s knee and driver’s far side to afford a significant level of occupant protection in the unfortunate event that the other systems are unable to prevent a serious impact.
The new BT-50 line-up includes 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains, six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions and Dual cab-chassis and dual cab pickups with single and extended ‘freestyle’ cabs expected to join the range by early 2021.
Three trim levels are available across the XT, the sportier XTR, and the high-spec GT which is available exclusively as a 4×4. All three models are available in cab-chassis or pickup configuration, and interestingly, 4×2 models are only available with the six-speed auto.
Power is provided by a turbocharged 3.0 litre, four cylinder diesel engine which delivers 140kW peak power with 450Nm of torque available between 1,600 and 2,600 rpm which should provide sufficient pulling power for most circumstances and is much the same engine as currently available in the D-Max and offers more power and torque than the previous BT-50.
Depending upon the specific model, a focus on saving weight has reduced tare weight by around 50kg from the previous BT-50 which makes a modest yet worthwhile contribution to fuel efficiency.
Again, depending upon the model, combined cycle figures of down to 7.7lt/100km are claimed, which is an improvement on the previous model’s 3.2 litre five-cylinder engine’s results. The 3,500kg braked towing capacity is complemented by a payload at least in excess of 1,000kg for all models.
The base XT models have a seven inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, and the XTR and GT models are equipped with a nine inch version, all including Android Auto, wireless and USB connected Apple CarPlay, plus Bluetooth hands-free telephone and audio capabilities as well as DAB+ digital radio.
The touchscreen also serves as the monitor for the reversing camera which is standard on all models. Satellite navigation and keyless entry are also standard in the XTR and GT packages.
Adaptive Cruise Control with a ‘Stop & Go’ function is standard on all BT-50s fitted with automatic transmissions and included in the features of automatic GT versions is a remote engine starting function.
The BT-50’s Hill Descent Control is particularly useful when towing or when venturing off the pavement by bringing engine and wheel braking into play without any pedal input from the driver. The 4×4 models are equipped with a rear diff lock which can be activated by a switch on the dash.
Mazda Australia provided some significant input into the overall Brand-New BT50 project and as part of that the local in-house engineering team has designed an optional premium bullbar which integrates with the BT-50’s vital safety technologies such as crumple zones, airbags and the numerous systems included in the Advanced Driver Assistance safety packages.
Known as the “Queensland bar” the unit was developed for heavy-duty applications such as found in the Far North of Australia but should appeal to buyers regardless of their location.
The black finished steel bar offers headlight hoops to afford additional protection to the BT-50’s front end. Where equipped, the front parking sensors remain fully operational and the bullbar has been thoroughly tested to ensure there are no compromises with the engine and transmission cooling functions.
A matching locally designed Sports Bar is available for the pickup bed.
The pickup’s tonneau cover continues along the previous BT-50’s path of removing the ‘bungy cords’ of traditional ute tonneaus which enhances style and increases durability at the same time as improving access via the tailgate.
This latest BT-50 offers sophisticated technology, especially in the area of safety, plus the performance and style levels demanded by the Australian market.