Mazda BT-50 – What you need to know

One-tonne pick-up range offers no shortage of features and options

Mazda's BT-50 pick-up will eventually be replaced by a new model jointly developed with Isuzu. In the meantime, the current Mazda BT-50 soldiers on, sharing its core DNA with Ford's Ranger.

Single, Freestyle and dual cabs in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations are available, with either a manual or automatic transmission coupled to a 2.2 or 3.2-litre turbo-diesel engine under the bonnet. Buyers can choose between these body styles and powertrains, all wrapped up in three trim levels: XT, XTR and GT.

There is no shortage of choice there, so let's find the one that ticks the dollars and features for you.

Dual cabs are the biggest sellers and both 4x2 and 4x4 cab chassis and utility variants are on offer. A price of $34,745 (plus on-roads) gets you into the 4x2 XT cab chassis, with a manual gearbox, which has the following standard features:

• Power mirrors and windows,
• Air conditioning,
• Cruise control,
• Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming,
• Single CD-player and AM/FM radio

Options

The good news is you won't get charged for premium paint. The bad news is a reversing camera costs $820 on all XT models, which make up 15 of the 23 models in the BT-50 range.

Safety

Front, side and curtain (where applicable) airbags are standard across all models. Anti-lock brakes with brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist are also standard, along with electronic aids including stability and traction control, hill assist, trailer sway control, load adaptive and roll stability control. Hill descent control and a switchable locking rear differential are only available on the 4x4 models.

Infotainment, comfort and convenience

The base XT 4x2 and 4x4 miss out on an infotainment system, but have Bluetooth hands free phone and music streaming capability, along with audio controls on the steering wheel. A reversing camera sets you back $820. You have to go to the mid-range XTR for the 7.8-inch colour touch-screen display that includes satellite navigation and a reversing camera.

Carpet, a leather steering wheel and leather gearshift knob add a bit of ambience to a ute interior and the best way to get them is to select the XTR 4x2 and save the money spent on the 4x4. The XTR gives you dual-zone air conditioning and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. Move up to the range-topping 4x4 GT and the interior looks more impressive, covered in black leather along with an eight-way power adjustable driver seat, neither of which are available in the 4x2 range.

While the XT cab chassis and utility have black door handles, those on the XTR are chrome and only the utilities get rear mudflaps, with the cab chassis missing out.

But there is no need to throw your money at the GT if you want Halogen fog lights, auto on/off headlights, chrome power mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, a chrome rear step bumper and polished side steps as they are all standard on the XTR.

However, if you want the exterior mirrors with folding and heating functions plus turn indicators, then tick the 4x4 GT box, where privacy glass is also standard.

All Mazda BT-50 dual cabs ride on alloy wheels with the XT on 16-inch and the XTR and GT on 17-inch alloys.

Freestyle Cab

The Freestyle has two rows of seats, two doors and comes as an XT 4x2 cab chassis or 4x4 XT cab chassis and XTR utility.

Safety

The Freestyle gets the same safety kit as previously outlined.

Infotainment, comfort and convenience

Missing out on an infotainment display and a reversing camera is the XT model in both 4x2 and 4x4 guise. A reversing camera can be optioned for $820. The most affordable way to have infotainment and the camera is to order the XTR, and if you want to spend as little as possible, make it the 4x2. The system also comes with satellite navigation.

Under seat storage and a removable seat base are handy, but you won't find them in the XT, only the XTR and in both drive configurations, so the choice is yours.

Do you want rain-sensing wipers? Then tick the XTR 4x4 ute box.

How about dual-zone air conditioning and an ambient temperature gauge, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers? Once again, it's only available with the XTR ute. Ordering this model means you'll also get carpet on the floor, an auto-dimming mirror and leather for the steering wheel and gearshift knob.

While the 4x2 and 4x4 XT cab chassis has black door handles, chrome covers the XTR's and only the ute gets rear mudflaps.

Do you want to stand out in your BT-50 Freestyle? Then slip right past the cab chassis and, if your budget allows, head for the XTR 4x4 ute. It comes with Halogen fog lights, chrome power mirrors, a chrome rear-step bumper and polished side steps.

While the XT cab chassis in both drive layouts runs on 16-inch alloy wheels, the XTR has 17-inch alloys.

Single cab

Only XT models (in 4x4 cab chassis, standard 4x2 and Hi-Rider style) make up the range.

Safety

The single cab models have the safety features as previously outlined.

Infotainment, Comfort and convenience

An infotainment system isn't available, in any single cab model. Buyers make do with hands-free phone (Bluetooth with music-streaming capability), a single CD player and AM/FM radio with steering wheel audio controls and a USB port.

Black cloth covers the seats but the 4x2 cab chassis misses out on adjustable head restraints and rake and slide for the passenger seat. That's the domain of the 4x2 Hi-Rider. Your 4x4 cab chassis has rake and slide and when fitted with an automatic transmission, adjustable head restraints along with height and lumbar adjustments for the driver seat. The same applies to the passenger seat. A centre console with armrest comes standard on the 4x2 Hi-Rider cab chassis and 4x4 cab chassis.

Apart from the raised ride height there is no visual difference to the exterior of the three variants.

Engine and Transmission

Turbo-diesel engines power the entire Mazda BT-50 range.

The 4x2 single cab chassis XT model is powered by a 2.2-litre that produces 110kW/375Nm and is bolted to a six-speed manual gearbox. A six-speed automatic is optionally available.

Powering the rest of the range is a 3.2-litre turbo-diesel producing 147Kw/470Nm. Once again, the standard transmission is a six-speed manual with the six-speed automatic an option.

BT-50 Pricing

Single Cab
Manual 2.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X2 – $25,570
Automatic 2.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X2 – $28,815
Manual 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X2 – $28,815
Manual 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X4 – $36,850
Automatic 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X4 – $38,910

Freestyle
Manual 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X2 – $32,745
Automatic 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X2 – $34,745
Manual 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X4 – $40,815
Automatic 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X4 – $42,815
Manual 3.2-litre utility XTR 4X4 – $47,675
Automatic 3.2-litre utility XTR 4X4 – $49,675

Dual Cab
Manual 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X2 – $34,745
Manual 3.2-litre utility XT 4X2 – $36,545
Automatic 3.2-litre utility XT 4X2 – $38,545
Manual 3.2-litre utility XTR 4X2 – $41,630
Automatic 3.2-litre utility XTR 4X2 – $43,630
Manual 3.2-litre cab chassis XT 4X4 – $42,815
Manual 3.2-litre utility XT 4X4 – $44,615
Automatic 3.2-litre utility XT 4X4 – $46,615
Manual 3.2-litre utility XTR 4X4 – $49,700
Automatic 3.2-litre utility XTR 4X4 – $51,700
Manual 3.2-litre utility GT 4X4 – $51,790
Automatic 3.2-litre utility GT 4X4 – $53,790

Verdict

According to Mazda's figures the most popular model is a 4x4 dual cab XT automatic. That ticks almost all the boxes for me.

I'd take the 4x2 XTR with its nicer interior ambience and extra kit and not worry about the drive layout.

But if I had unlimited funds I'd stick with the same model as it hits a sweet spot with me, the only change would be to have it in 4x4 guise, in case I wanted to launch myself down some boggy tracks.

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