Mazda isn’t exactly synonymous with utilities but the new 2007 Mazda BT-50 utility is set to bring the Japanese brand to the spotlight in the utility market. BT-50 replaces Mazda’s proven B Series, which Mazda claims has sold more than three million vehicles worldwide.
The Mazda BT-50 is powered by high-performance diesel engines. Mazda designers and engineers built the BT-50 to possess five key values.
The BT-50 comes in three available body types -
The Single Cab body can comfortably seat two or three occupants, and provides a long 2400mm accessory alloy tray providing one of the largest load capacities in its class. At 1410kg the BT-50 Single Cab can haul an additional 30kg over the superseded B Series model.
In two-wheel drive, the Single Cab Chassis is powered by a new MZR-CD 2.5-litre, common-rail, DOHC 16-valve diesel engine that is more refined and fuel efficient than the previous engine, while producing an additional 23 kilowatts of power (now 105kW at 3500rpm) and 59 Newton metres more torque (now 330Nm at 1800rpm).
The 4×2 Single Cab Chassis consumes 8.3L/100km compared with 9.7L/100km (a 14.4 per cent improvement) for the equivalent B Series model according to ADR 81/01 fuel tests. Mated to a new five-speed manual gearbox it can accelerate from 0-100kmh in 10.4 seconds. Towing capacity has also improved with the braked capacity increasing significantly from 1800kg to 2250kg.
All other models in the range – 4×4 Single Cabs, Freestyle and Dual Cabs in both 4×2 and 4×4 specification – are powered by a new 3.0-litre common rail, DOHC 16-valve diesel engine that develops 115kW at 3200rpm (up 33kW) and 380Nm at 1800rpm (up 109Nm) on the superseded 2.5-litre diesel engine.
The use of a variable geometry turbocharger and a large intercooler ensure spirited acceleration, while a Variable Swirl Control Valve (VSCV) combined with an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system and a high-efficiency EGR cooler ensures both engines meet Euro Stage IV compliance.
Maximum payload has improved over B Series from 1371kg to 1430kg and braked towing capacity has jumped from 1800kg to 2500kg.
Fuel consumption for all 4x4s has improved with five-speed manual models consuming on average 9.2L/100km, down from 10.1L/100km for the B Series. Range-topping Dual Cab SDX 4×4 models are also offered with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The Dual Cab body provides roomy comfort for five occupants, with two in the front and three in the back, making it just right for family use or for moving small work teams between locations.
Featuring the large door opening and easy access of Mazda’s unique Freestyle Door System, the Freestyle Cab body accommodates two in the front and two in the back, with the back offering plenty of room for carrying precious belongings. The front doors and rear access panels open from the centre in a design that uses no centre pillar to create an unobstructed opening of a wide 1,500mm.
With sedan-like atmosphere, helped by impressively low NVH levels, the Mazda BT-50′s sophisticated interior is enough to make occupants forget they are in a workhorse. With its subdued two-tone colour scheme employing grey as the keynote colour and with silver-finish accents highlighting details, the interior creates a modern, clean ambience that speaks of high quality.
The new instrument panel design features individual highlights common to those used in Mazda passenger cars. Three large meters are each framed by a stylish silver ring that instils a look of greater luxury.
A modular audio unit fits cleanly within the centre stack, and is covered by a silver-faced panel that ties well with the clean look of the cockpit. Both the single disc and six disc systems are MP3 compatible.
A keyless entry system is standard on all models making it easy to lock or unlock the doors (even when both of your hands are encumbered with boxes or bags.)
Safety has also been seriously considered by Mazda in developing the new BT-50. ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake force Distribution are available on all but the entry Single Cab chassis 4×2 model.
Dual front airbags and front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters are standard on all but the farmer focussed Single Cab 4×4 model. In this case the airbags are an option. An airbag compatible bullbar will be offered on all 4×4 models.
Front seatbelt height adjusters are standard on all Dual Cab models.
Two types of 4WD system are available — manual shift or electric shift — with each offering easy operation between 4×2 and 4×4 modes and go-anywhere performance.
While carrying over the double wishbone front design and rear leaf springs proven tough and reliable on previous Mazda utilities, the system is refined to offer a smoother, more comfortable ride. Braking has also been upgraded.
All Mazda’s offer great value and the BT-50 range is no exception. Priced from $20,990 with air conditioning and an alloy tray, the Single Cab 4×2 model also includes alloy wheels, CD player, remote locking, variable intermittent wipers, low fuel warning light, engine immobiliser and dual airbags.
The promotional price for the 3.0-litre powered 4×4 version, complete with overfenders and automatic locking remote free wheel hubs, as well as an alloy tray and air conditioning, is $28,990.
Doug Dickson, Mazda Australia’s managing director, said:
“BT-50 offers commercial ute buyers a real Zoom-Zoom alternative. It blends tough workhorse credentials with great style, comfort and naturally driving enjoyment“.
Mazda Australia expects to build on the B Series sales success, which with 6269 sales year-to-date October, is enjoying its best year ever. BT-50 is expected to sell about 700 a month with 4×4 sales taking 50 per cent of the volume (up from 45 per cent now).
BT-50 is protected by a two year, unlimited kilometre or three year/100,000km warranty, whichever comes first.