Mazda has unveiled the 2021 BT-50, its new-generation rival for the top-selling Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton.
Sharing its underpinnings with the latest Isuzu D-Max – marking the end of a 48-year ute development partnership with Ford – the new BT-50 sports an all-new design that fits in with the rest of the existing Mazda lineup far better than its Ranger-based predecessor.
The front fascia bears a strong resemblance to the CX-9 large SUV – after all, the same designer penned both models – with a large four-slat grille, slim full-LED headlights and chrome trim. While the BT-50’s doors appear to be lifted off the D-Max, the rear end is unique to the Mazda, with bespoke tail-light graphics, a new tailgate design and a chrome tailgate handle.
16-, 17- and 18-inch alloy wheel options will be offered, along with seven exterior colours.
Inside, the dashboard is dominated by a new 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen borrowed from the D-Max, featuring built-in navigation, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay (a segment first). Drivers peer through the Mazda-specific, leather-wrapped steering wheel at a 4.2-inch driver information display in the instrument cluster, displaying a trip computer, digital speedometer and other vehicle functions.
Other interior technology and comfort features on offer include dual-zone climate control, height/reach steering wheel adjustment, keyless entry, push-button start, automatic headlights and wipers, and perforated leather trim.
Under the bonnet is Isuzu’s revised 3.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine producing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. It’s expected to drive all four wheels through a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
While those figures are down compared to the outgoing BT-50’s 147kW/470Nm Ford-sourced 3.2-litre five-cylinder, Mazda claims its new dual-cab should be quicker and more fuel-efficient, thanks to a rumoured circa-90kg weight saving.
Towing capacity (braked) and payload are rated at 3500kg and over 1000kg respectively.
An array of safety technologies will be fitted as standard, including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, front/rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
The 2021 Mazda BT-50 is scheduled to launch Down Under in the fourth quarter of the year in dual-cab form only. Single-cab, ‘Freestyle’ extra-cab and cab-chassis models are set to arrive at a later date, likely in 2021.