Mazda BT-50 4WD Double Cab Limited 2012 Review

January 20th, 2012 by Darren Cottingham

We tested Mazda’s new BT-50 a few weeks ago, but in its lesser GSX guise. This week we’ve had the luxury Limited version which adds leather and reversing sensors.

It was interesting to have a second bite at the Mazda as often your perceptions change over time. I’m not a huge fan of utes – I don’t even own a pair of wellies – but the Mazda feels so car-like that you start to appreciate the benefits of having that extra height in traffic, among other things. It’s a big beast (200mm longer than the previous model) – not really designed for manoeuverability – but with the reversing sensors it’s way more palatable in the city. And that’s where this ute probably will live. Tradespeople aren’t going to worry about leather interiors; this is going to be bought by someone who wants to tow a boat or horse float (it’ll tow 3350kg on a braked trailer), while all their nautical or equestrian accessories can be accommodated in the tray.

For this new BT-50 Mazda has taken the corporate nose and grafted it onto a commercial vehicle. Porsche attempted this, putting the 911 nose onto the Cayenne (which has been beaten with the ugly stick). Mitsubishi has done it putting the Lancer Evo X nose onto the Outlander (which looks purposeful with its chiseled handsomeness). Has the corporate Mazda face transplant worked for the BT-50? Kind of. From some angles it does look a bit awkward, but it’s also striking. Awkwardness is a trait of many a car design from the wrong angle – Peugeots and Renaults are notorious for this. I like the BT-50 better the second time round though. It’s growing on me. Continue reading “Mazda BT-50 4WD Double Cab Limited 2012 Review” »

Mazda BT-50 GSX 4×4 Double Cab 2012 Review

December 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda’s passenger car grin has been transplanted across to its commercial ute brethren to standardize the corporate family look. I had the great fortune to get out of the latest Ford Ranger XLT and into the Mazda BT-50. The BT-50 is based on the Ranger so it’s no surprise that much of the switchgear is the same, you get the same 6-speed gearbox, and you’ll enjoy almost all the features that the Ford has (including its off-road capabilities).

For a full overview of the Ranger, head off here (opens in a new window), and carry on reading for the BT-50. If you’ve driven a previous BT-50, the new one is a large jump forwards. Unlike the Hilux, which usually only makes incremental improvements, the Ford Ranger platform has provided the new BT-50 with a solid base.

Most utes on the market look like a block with the corners chiseled off, so it’s refreshing to see that manufacturers like Mazda will have a go at producing something different. Fortunately it didn’t end up like the Ssangyong Actyon at the front, but the looks still push boundaries and may polarize people.

The exterior has good fit and finish, and the GSX model does look sharper than the GLX which sits beneath it in the range. Our test car had an aftermarket canopy and towbar fitted. The GSX model gains 17-inch alloys, chrome door handles and wing mirrors, side steps in aluminium finish, and front fog lamps.

Storage is excellent. The tub is deep (513mm), long (1549mm) and wide (1560mm). Continue reading “Mazda BT-50 GSX 4×4 Double Cab 2012 Review” »

Mazda Australia offering local accessories on new BT-50

July 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda Australia has been busy making sure its upcoming 2012 BT-50 ute will have plenty of optional accessories to toughen it up when it goes on sale later this year.

To make sure these accessories were suitable for down under conditions they have been locally designed and built. The 2012 BT-50’s chief designer Ryo Yanagisawa worked in with a group of the firm’s top-selling Australian dealers to design the accessories. Available kit will include two fully ADR compliant bull bar options, a sports bar, a nudge bar and side steps. Continue reading “Mazda Australia offering local accessories on new BT-50” »

Mazda releases fresh images of new BT-50 ute

June 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just dropped a couple of images of it’s upcoming BT-50 Freestyle ute. The Freestyle is an extended-cab version of the standard BT-50, offering a smaller cabin and a slightly larger deck than its double cab stablemate. To get crew into the back the BT-50’s cab features two reverse-hinge half-doors in addition to the two standard front doors. There is a pilarless design to make things a whole lot easier for those attempting to squeeze in the rear seat.

Mazda’s new design language has been used extensively on the exterior of the BT-50, but it retains traditional cab proportions giving it a good balance. Like the Ford Ranger, which uses the same chassis, the BT-50 was designed in Australia. It will be exported to numerous countries including NZ with first deliveries expected later this year. Continue reading “Mazda releases fresh images of new BT-50 ute” »

New 2012 Mazda BT-50 to have Dynamic Stability Control

December 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just announced that the all-new 2012 BT-50 ute will be fitted with its own brand of stability and traction control technology – Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).

Mazda’s DSC system is already included as standard fare across the company’s passenger car range, but hasn’t been offered with the 2010 BT-50. The current model BT-50 does have Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, which increases stopping power while maintaining control of the vehicle.

Expected for sale in New Zealand at the end of next year, the next-gen BT-50 is currently undergoing testing in Australia, including calibration of the new DSC system.

“If you consider how the new BT-50 is likely to be used, it becomes clear just how many situations have to be taken into account to ensure that the Dynamic Stability Control system meets the needs of each and every driver,” Mazda Australia Engineering and Compliance Manager, Wayne Watson said.

“Mazda engineers have spent months calibrating and fine tuning the Dynamic Stability Control system to ensure maximum safety and durability.”

Check back for more news on the new Mazda BT-50 as it becomes available. Continue reading “New 2012 Mazda BT-50 to have Dynamic Stability Control” »

Mazda releases fresh images of 2011 BT-50 ute

December 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Over the ditch, Mazda Australia has just released a swag of new images for its upcoming 2011 BT-50. Unfortunately the Japanese carmaker is staying tight-lipped on the details like powertrain options and performance figures and an official launch date in NZ or Australia is yet to be announced.

The new BT-50 was officially unveiled a couple of months back at the Australian International Motor Show to a mixed reception with opinion polarized by the ute’s radical exterior styling. The production debut is expected sometime next year with both single and dual-cab variants in cab chassis and veilside configurations.

Despite the secrecy Mazda has revealed that production for the new BT-50 will begin in June 2011 and the range is expected to be diesel only. Mazda’s will be launching both its Sky-G petrol and Sky-D diesel engines in 2011, making it very likely the new BT-50 will be powered by the new Sky-D diesel engine.

Check out the new images of Mazda’s BT-50 in the gallery below. Continue reading “Mazda releases fresh images of 2011 BT-50 ute” »

Mazda teases new BT-50 ute interior before Sydney debut

October 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Leading up to Mazda’s all-new BT-50’s launch that will take place at next week’s 2010 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, a second teaser sketch has been released. This time, it’s the interior design of the new ute that we get a look at.

From the sketch, the cockpit looks more like a sports car than a utility vehicle,  featuring a modern design with a wrap-around dashboard layout and a ringed instrument panel with two prominent and deeply set gauges.

Mazda has said this about the new BT-50’s cabin: “The interior of the All-New Mazda BT-50 has been designed to complement its athletic and refined exterior design and offers a comfortable and sporty environment to rival Mazda’s current passenger car standard.”

The model was designed in partnership with Ford and its sister model the Ranger. The BT-50 will be both wider and longer than the current model, providing greater stability thanks to its wider track. Interior space will also benefit, with the rear seats likely to prove more spacious.

Mazda has revealed little in the way of technical details for the new BT-50, so far, although the new model is sure to be offered in dual-cab and king-cab form. The two companies recently announced plans to invest US$350 million in the AutoAlliance (AAT) plant in Thailand which will handle production of the BT-50.

The BT-50 will be joined in Sydney by its Ford brother, the new 2011 Ranger. Both utes are scheduled to go on sale globally in the second quarter of 2011.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the current model BT-50.

Mazda to debut next-gen BT-50 ute at Australian Motor Show

September 14th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just announced that its brand new 2011 Mazda BT-50 utility will make its first appearance during next month’s Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) in Sydney.

Mazda released the above image as a teaser sketch of the new BT-50, with the striking styling inspired by Mazda’s current passenger-car range.

The model was designed in partnership with Ford and its sister model the Ranger. The BT-50 will be both wider and longer than the current model, providing greater stability thanks to its wider track. Interior space will also benefit, with the rear seats likely to prove more spacious.

Mazda has revealed little in the way of technical details for the new BT-50, so far, although the new model is sure to be offered in dual-cab and king-cab form. The two companies recently announced plans to invest US$350 million in the AutoAlliance (AAT) plant in Thailand which will handle production of the BT-50.

Scheduled to launch during Mazda’s press conference on October 15, the new BT-50 will be on view to the public afterwards.

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