2021 Mazda BT-50 debuts with Isuzu underpinnings

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Mazda has unveiled the 2021 BT-50, its new-generation rival for the top-selling Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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