The Big Ute Review - Mazda BT-50 4x4 Dual Cab XTR auto
Very tall. Very, very tall. That’s the first thing that struck me about the new Mazda BT-50. The second generation BT-50 is Mazda’s latest attempt to capture their own section of the utility market. With very serious existing competition from the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and others, it’s very unlikely that Mazda’s new offering will turn the market upside down. The real question here is whether this new model is capable of turning heads and convincing the punters that they have yet another option.
Despite being a “twin under the skin” of the all new Ford Ranger, the BT-50 styling is unmistakably Mazda. The front end would remind all of the most up to date Mazda 2, 3 or 6. In terms of styling, Mazda seems to have scored a win as the new BT-50 really does carry the rounded lines and curves very well. Ground clearance is also very noticeable with an unladen 4x4 dual cab XTR clearing an impressive 237mm above the tarmac.
As per usual I continue to be amazed at how looks can deceive when it comes to utility vehicles. An outside look at the vehicle tells me that I should be capable of driving with a young giraffe perched on my knee, however the reality is very different. Inside the cabin is spacious but not significantly more spacious than an average sedan. On a more positive note, the BT-50 is packed with extras (Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and an excellent sound system). It also makes no mistakes on the centre console layout. However it’s still a slight surprise that a rear camera is not featured as standard.
The braked towing capacity is up to 3350kg and cargo box dimensions are 1,549mm(L) x 1,560mm(W) x 513mm(H). With this in mind it’s very unlikely that pulling power will serve as a deal breaker for any tradies, caravan enthusiasts or fishing fanatics. The vehicle we tested, the dual cab XTR auto 4x4, features very well positioned drive options with everything neatly within arms reach. During my time with the car I drove it in morning traffic, traffic free evenings and on the motorway. The surprise was that in fuel terms I came in at an impressive 10 litres per 100km. This is very reasonable considering the power of the 147kw, 3.2 litre engine. The feel of the road itself is largely as would be expected. The braking and suspension do their job well however that tractor like diesel engine sound can still be heard.
The wrap up
Driving around in the BT-50 I noticed something relatively quickly; there are very few first generation models of the BT-50 on the roads. Indeed, the sales for the vehicle have never really broken any records in the field, but I honestly don’t really know why. The new Mazda is a solid vehicle with less than a handful of downsides. If 2011 is anything to go by, there will be ever more space for new competitors to fill the Toyota wait times gap. Will the public look to Mazda to fill this gap? We’ll find out come 31st December 2012.
The starting recommended drive away price for the BT-50 4x4 dual cab XTR: $51,397
Ever thought of a Mazda BT-50 on a Novated Lease?
What do you think of the new BT-50.
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