All-new Mazda BT-50 to be launched this month, here's what we know so far
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The double-cab ute debate is set to gain another new entrant, with Mazda confirming that it's next-gen ute will be revealed this month. The global launch of the all-new Mazda BT-50 will take place on Wednesday June 17, ending the current model's lengthy 10-year tenure.
While things like design, specs, and engine details are naturally yet to be confirmed. There are a few things we do know about the forthcoming BT-50.
Undoubtedly the biggest piece of the puzzle is Mazda's new dance partner. Unlike the last BT-50, which shared platforms with the Ford Ranger, this new BT-50 will be based on the same bones as the new Isuzu D-Max.
The new D-Max has already been unveiled, and will land in New Zealand shortly. It rights some of the current model's wrongs, with its much more premium-looking interior and improvements in spec. It'll be sold overseas with either a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel making 110kW/350Nm, or an updated version of the current 3.0-litre turbo-diesel making 139kW/450Nm.
Now, the BT-50 and Ranger sisters came out with some similarities (like that 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel) but also plenty of differences.
Speculation suggests that this new BT-50 is most likely to use the 3.0-litre mentioned above; a more likely move than Mazda drafting in a version of its own 2.2-litre.
Isuzu has also confirmed that its platform is capable of housing electrified powertrains should those come down the pipe. But, don't expect those to feature in either model. Not yet, anyway.
Photo / Phil Hanson
What's more clear is that Mazda are paying particular attention to the BT-50's styling. The outgoing model, while attractive enough on its own, has long been considered too rounded, too 'dainty' to sell as well as the best. According to Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda, history won't repeat and the next-gen BT-50 will look masculine and strong.
"The rear area of the truck itself is very difficult to use [Kodo] design language, but I could try," he told CarsGuide back in 2018. "I myself think the truck should look masculine and strong, and really like a truck. It might be difficult to try this kind of design, with all the light reflections, to a truck. It's tough."
Under the skin, the BT-50/D-Max platform has been developed solely by Isuzu, but don't assume that means it'll be a full milk old-school tank to drive like the current one.
Photo / Phil Hanson
Isuzu has stated that producing something able to balance workhorse capability and car-like usability, which appears to have been adhered to judging by the swap from hydraulic steering to electric and the 20 per cent increase in chassis rigidity, among other additions. It's understood that the new BT-50 will continue to sit towards the top of the towing pile with a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.
And what about the ultimate question. When will it land here?
Expect more to be confirmed as the global launch unfolds, but it's been speculated over the ditch that the BT-50 could arrive in Australia as early as the end of this year. This may have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but with the new D-Max scheduled to land in New Zealand shortly there's a chance the Mazda will sneak in before 2021.