The Mazda BT-50 4×4 & 4×2, like the Ranger, is little short of brilliant off-road. It’s as robust as a vault, will effortlessly clamber up – and down – almost anything, and has the pulling power of a train by giving a true support on its built in 4 cylinders 2.2L diesel – having transmission 6 speed manual /auto 150 HP – 375Nm. As such type of vehicle is the most contenders in the ‘work truck’ segment have all the sculptural qualities of a beer carton, the BT-50 has had its sheet-metal massaged and squeezed for an individual Mazda-family look.
It should not bother one that it has product significance to be different. On road, while it’s more of a mixed bag and not quite as settled as the Ranger, it’s strong, quiet and effortless. We drove the upper-spec XTR dual-cab with six-speed manual. It’s a seriously good car as well as a seriously capable tough truck. Mazda has also pulled a rabbit out of the hat with very competitive pricing.
Mazda calls the new BT-50 “a genuine active lifestyle vehicle with SUV-like power and handling” Unfortunately we only got to drive the BT-50 with the larger 3.2 litre powertrain at the launch, but can attest its potency and general versatility across a wide range of driving conditions, including some off-road work. There’s little if any turbo lag from this engine and the power is put to the ground via a smooth-shifting six-speed auto transmission, which feels more like what you would expect in a luxury car than a utility of such grand proportions. Sitting on 90-100km/h in sixth with the auto box and there’s still enough torque to allow the driver to slow down for bends and then accelerate back up to the legal speed limit without having to shift to a lower gear ratio.