The Mazda BT-50 ute will get a more masculine look as part of a dramatic mid-life update due within a few years, as the Japanese brand looks to bring it into line with the rest of its model range.

Mazda BT-50 front

The BT-50's styling has always been its most polarising element - critics suggested it looked too 'happy', 'soft' and 'not masculine enough' to cut it in the hotly contested ute segment.

Mazda general manager of design, Maeda Ikuo - the man behind the brand's current Mazda 3, Mazda 6, CX-5 and new Hazumi concept - told CarAdvice the brand has already started work on a facelift for the ute just two years after it went on sale.

"We are starting. It’s not easy, but somehow I’d like to add that Kodo kind of flavour, but not 100 per cent."

Mazda BT-50

Maeda-san admitted the facelifted BT-50 needs to look tougher.

"Some city siders in Australia said it looks nice but still needs to have tough look, that’s what I heard," he said. "[It is seen as] a little too stylish, too car-like. But that was the concept of that vehicle."

Maeda-san said he "hopes" the brand can make the BT-50 more appealing to a broader audience by introducing some elements from the Kodo styling language. 

"I think that we will be able to find some kind of solution, even though this is a commercial vehicle and it has a box at the back," he said.

"But even if I can get a solid and strong feel on the body side, probably we will be able to put some of the flavour of Kodo. Not necessarily to add movement to it, but for a strong feel."

Maeda-san confirmed the update won't simply focus on the smiling front-end, with updated side/door panels and alterations to the tail-lights expected.

Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told CarAdvice the updated BT-50 is still "years away", but couldn't offer any further information on when we may see the new-look model locally.