Reflecting Mazda’s strong standing in Australia on a global scale — Mazda has a greater market share here than anywhere else — the local BT-50 launch is among the first in the world.
Suitable, considering the BT-50 was developed locally in tandem with its Ford Ranger twin-under-the-skin, ahead of its 2011 launch. Like the newly updated Ranger, the BT-50 gets some price rises, though not in the thousands of dollars like the Ford.
Mazda Australia will specifically target a wider market spread than before. The BT-50 has proven popular in 4x2 guise (third in segment this year). But in the 4x4 space it sits behind the Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara and Isuzu D-Max year-to-date.
The company will push much of its marketing might now at business buyers seeking a mobile office, and at weekend warriors, as well as continuing its good foothold in the lucrative ‘grey nomad’ market.
Styling has always been a key issue with the outgoing BT-50, with many buyers failing to warm to its design next to the more macho Ranger. Mazda has tweaked the grille and headlight design here, with a degree of Australian input. The tailgate and rear bumper look tweaked too.
The changes are relatively subtle, rather than wholesale.
These images are among the first released anywhere, and we still haven’t seen the cabin, though Mazda promises it will be revised and sport a higher-quality feel.
We also understand there will be a new connectivity system, though it won’t be the MZD Connect system seen on Mazda’s passenger and SUV range. Nor will it be the high-tech SYNC 2 system found on top-spec Rangers and other Ford models.
Expect additional equipment to feature, with some — but not all — variants to get reverse-view cameras. The active safety equipment that can optioned on the Ranger, such as radar-guided cruise and lane assist, are, however, unlikely to feature.
There are 23 New BT-50 variants available, including 10 with 4x2 and 13 with 4x4 capabilities. You can get the choice of single-cab, ‘Freestyle (King) Cab’ and dual-cab bodies in three variant grades — the XT, XTR and GT.
The price of entry remains unchanged at $25,570 plus on-road costs, while at the top-end, the flagship GT 4x4 climbs $650 to $53,790 — thousands cheaper than the Ranger XLT and Ranger Wildtrak. Other dual cab versions climb by $375.
There remain two diesel engine options, the MZ-CD 2.2 litre four-cylinder and a MZ-CD 3.2-litre five-cylinder, and a choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-pot is likely to be unchanged. A we know, the updated Ranger also gets a re-jigged 2.2-litre four-pot uprated to 118kW/385Nm, though it’s not confirmed if these changes will carry over to the BT-50’s version.
We’ll know all the details in a few weeks at the late-September Australian launch.
Since its arrival in 2006, the BT-50 nameplate (into its second generation) has been a strong performer for Mazda Australia, reaching 100,000 sales by the end of this month. The existing generation is set to pass 50,000 retails at the same time.
Pictured above: Outgoing BT-50, to compare to new ones pictured elsewhere.
“The Mazda BT-50 has been embraced by customers that are looking for a utility with passenger-type comforts,” said Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders.
“The change in exterior styling makes the BT-50 look tougher, more masculine, so we expect renewed interest by trade professionals, an important buying group.
“With a range of great driving, safety and off-road features, the pricing has not moving significantly so the BT-50 continues to be a very competitive value proposition.”
The BT-50’s update comes at a crucial time, with all-new versions of the Navara and Triton now on the market, alongside the updated Ranger. Toyota’s new HiLux is also just weeks away.
2016 Mazda BT-50 Pricing (plus on-road costs):
6M 2.2L single cab-chassis XT 4x2 $25,570 (unchanged)
6A 2.2L Single cab-chassis XT 4X2 $28,815 (was $28,740)
6M 3.2L Single cab-chassis XT 4X2 $28,815 (was $28,740)
6M 3.2L Freestyle cab-chassis XT 4X2 $32,745 (was $32,670)
6A 3.2L Freestyle cab-chassis XT 4X2 $34,745 (was $34,670)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab-chassis XT 4X2 $34,745 (was $34,670)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab utility XT 4X2 $36,545 (was $36,170)
6A 3.2L Dual-cab utility XT 4X2 $38,545 (was $38,170)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab utility XTR 4X2 $41,630 (was $40,820)
6A 3.2L Dual-cab utility XTR 4X2 $43,630 (was $42,820)
6M 3.2L Single cab-chassis XT 4X4 $36,850 (was $36,810)
6A 3.2L Single cab-chassis XT 4X4 $38,910 (was $38,810)
6M 3.2L Freestyle cab-chassis XT 4X4 $40,815 (was $40,740)
6A 3.2L Freestyle cab-chassis XT 4X4 $42,815 (was$42,740)
6M 3.2L Freestyle utility XTR 4X4 $47,675 (was $46,890)
6A 3.2L Freestyle utility XTR 4X4 $49,675 (was $48,890)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab-chassis XT 4X4 $42,815 (was $42,740)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab utility XT 4X4 $44,615 (was $44,240)
6A 3.2L Dual-cab utility XT 4X4 $46,615 (was $46,240)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab utility XTR 4X4 $49,700 (was $48,890)
6A 3.2L Dual-cab utility XTR 4X4 $51,700 (was $50,890)
6M 3.2L Dual-cab utility GT 4X4 $51,790 (was $51,140)
6A 3.2L Dual-cab utility GT 4X4 $53,790 (was $53,140)