The refreshed 2016 Mazda BT-50 utility, revealed through spy photos and patent application images in recent weeks, is now officially out in the open.
Only one photo of the facelifted BT has been released so far, although it is clear that Mazda has taken a light touch with updating its still relatively new ute.
This makeover, which comes at around four years into what could be an eight- to ten-year lifespan, brings the BT-50’s looks further in-line with Mazda’s new-generation passenger cars.
When it first appeared in 2011, styling for the current second-generation BT-50 had clearly been inspired by the ‘Nagare’ design language that had featured across the Mazda range of the time.
Now, with Mazda’s new ‘Kodo’ language making its way across the brand, the BT-50 has begun to look somewhat out of place.
The pickup’s makeover leaves much of its styling unchanged, although a darkened look to the headlights and the introduction of the same chrome ‘blade’ grille garnish featured on models like the Mazda6 and CX-5 both work to bring the BT-50 back into the fold.
Earlier patent application images also confirm that the BT-50 will wear darkened cherry-red tail lamps for the new model year, replacing the chrome and light-red units previously featured.
Mazda also promises a revised interior with a “higher-quality feel”. This is perhaps the most crucial aspect of the BT-50’s update, given the significantly more refined cabins revealed with the updated Ford Ranger - the BT-50’s platform mate - and the all-new Toyota HiLux.
Above: the BT-50 in its current form.
Images of the BT’s updated cabin are still to come, although Mazda has confirmed the addition of a rear-view camera. This system is described as an “available” feature, however, suggesting it could be standard on high-spec models and optional with others.
The 2016 BT-50 range will otherwise remain unchanged for this first update, with powertrains and body types carrying over from the existing range.
Much of the BT's updated styling is a result of local feedback, Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told CarAdvice in January.
“Mazda in Australia has been very involved in the design of the updated model,” Doak said. “We’re one of the most successful markets for BT-50, so it makes sense in many ways."
Above: patent application images revealed a few hints of the updated model's look.
The BT-50's update comes at a crucial time, with all-new versions of the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton now on the market, while Ford's updated Ranger and Toyota's new HiLux are both due in the weeks ahead.
Mazda will be looking to these changes to boost sales for the BT-50 (7090 sales year-to-date), which, although far from flagging, sits behind key rivals Colorado (9657), Triton (13,709), Ranger (14,144) and HiLux (18,781) on the sales chart.
Watch for the BT-50 to hit Australian showrooms sometime in the third quarter of 2015, with exact timing, pricing and specifications to be confirmed closer to launch.