At the end of 2020, Mazda NZ revealed the next generation BT-50 ute. It’s all-new and has been completely transformed, signalling the end of the shared platform with Ford - only really the Mazda badge remains from the previous generation model.
A ute, but not as we know it
As part of a longstanding relationship with Isuzu and after two years of planning, the new BT-50 is now constructed using the all-new D-Max platform.
In turn, this now supplies Mazda with a technology packed vehicle, a more efficient 3.0-litre diesel engine and, for good measure, a couple of features never before seen on a Mazda. The first being remote engine start, perhaps something that wouldn’t be used often, but will help you to pre-condition the car on an unusually hot or cold day. The other feature is a lot more useful to the tech savvy - wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity. If you’re an Android user, unfortunately a USB cable is still required for Android Auto.
It now has the Soul of Motion design
Mazda has finally been able to add the KODO design to transform this vehicle into a fine looking and capable vehicle - in line with the Mazda’s ‘Good to Go’ marketing strategy.
The view from the front is now on par with the rest of Mazda’s products and you could be forgiven for thinking that a CX-9 was driving towards you at first glance, rather than the BT-50, thanks to its new distinctive Mazda front grille and headlights.
Safe as houses
This vehicle is built around safety and has achieved an outstanding five-star ANCAP 2020 crash test rating using the same test information as the Isuzu D-Max crash test. Thanks to the shared platform, the BT-50 has gained safety extras like a far side airbag (to stop driver and passenger heads colliding), Emergency Lane Keeping and Turn Assist (a.k.a. Blind Spot Monitoring).
All the eggs in one basket
Taking into account the year-to-date NZ sales figures that highlight NZ ute buyers preference for automatic transmissions, wellside double cabs and diesel power, Mazda has decided to offer the BT-50 solely with these attributes and a 50/50 split of 2WD and 4WD options.
The spec grades start with GSX, then builds into the GTX, with the LTD grade being the ‘all-singing-all-dancing’ model. There is an indent order option coming for a wellside capable model, but this requires some recalibration of some safety features and is not just a case of removing the wellside. Mazda predict that the sales split for 2WD/4WD model will be 74% 4WD and 26% 2WD, with 44% of buyers opting for the top-spec LTD grade.
The BT-50 is aimed at all markets - the commercial buyer for the job site, weekend lifestyle, carting sports gear or adventure equipment, and families with the appeal being the high level of safety features and passenger comforts. The Japanese designer calls it a vehicle built for both dress and jeans, meaning it’s designed for a nine-to-five working day, as well as for use outside the working environment.
The model range starts with the 2WD GSX priced from $47,490, and leads up to the top spec 4WD LTD model priced from $60,990.