But as we discovered, manufacturing cost has little to do with how car companies set prices – and there are numerous examples that defy logic.
For example, on these ute twins Mazda charges a $2500 premium for automatic transmission versus a manual; Isuzu charges $2000.
Except on the top-of-the-range flagship Mazda BT-50 XTR, which has a $3000 premium for automatic transmission; Isuzu doesn’t offer a manual on its most expensive model grade.
The biggest anomaly is the price of metallic paint. Isuzu charges $500 extra for a sparkly finish, Mazda does not charge one cent extra for metallic paint – and in most cases it's the same paint coming from the same paint nozzles in the same factory.
So every price comparison you see listed below, add a $500 advantage to the Mazda for starters – if you prefer metallic paint. Our listed cost differences are based on solid white paint.
In most cases, the Mazda BT-50 has slightly more standard equipment than the closest equivalent Isuzu D-Max variant, although the price changes ebb and flow, depending on the model.
The good news: both the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 come with the full suite of advanced safety tech.
Below is a summary of some examples of price differences (automatic transmission with RRP shown before on-road costs).
For a full breakdown of price and equipment differences across the double cab ranges, see the information at the bottom of this story.
|Isuzu D-Max model & price||Mazda BT-50 model & price||Price gap|
|LS-U 4x2 pickup||$48,900||XTR 4x2 pickup||$49,470||$570|
|LS-M 4x4 pickup||$53,000||XT 4x4 pickup||$53,260||$260|
|X-Terrain 4x4 pickup||$62,900||GT 4x4 pickup||$59,990||$2910|
Due to coincidence or good planning, the Isuzu and Mazda ute model ranges don’t line up exactly.
Isuzu has more choices in the workhorse range and therefore a lower starting price; Mazda does not offer a double-cab variant with steel wheels, a vinyl floor, or halogen headlights.
All models in the Mazda BT-50 range come with carpet flooring, LED headlights and alloy wheels – including a matching alloy spare.
By comparison, Isuzu has slung a full-size steel wheel under the rear of each model, presumably as a cost-saving measure in the hope customers won’t get down on their hands and knees in the showroom and check.
You can be sure Mazda dealers will be pointing out these anomalies.
Mazda also snuck a few extra features into its middle- and top-grade models that Isuzu either didn’t know about or didn't care to add.
For example, a sensor key with push button start is standard on the top two model grades of the Mazda BT-50, but only on the single most expensive Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain.
Mazda has also fitted rear parking sensors to every double-cab BT-50 with a factory ute tub; Isuzu only has rear sensors on the top two model grades of ute body.
Mazda has heated leather seats and heated side mirrors on its flagship GT; these are not available on the Isuzu D-Max.
However, Isuzu has a factory-fitted roller shutter hard lid; on the Mazda BT-50 this is a dealer-fit accessory.
The prices listed below are the RRP before on-road costs are added.
The exception to the prices listed is the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain, which is currently available for a special launch offer of $58,990 drive-away. At this price is it cheaper than the Mazda, but at the RRP the Isuzu is $2910 dearer.
While these RRPs will likely hold until the initial hype subsides, these numbers may be academic if you’re a good negotiator.
If you’re deciding which one to buy, consider the subtle equipment differences, the unique design (the bodies are completely different from each other, although the underpinnings are identical), and which dealer is closest to you for servicing.
As for capability, the engine, transmission, steering and suspension in both utes are identical. Although Mazda trades on its “zoom zoom” image, Mazda did not lay a spanner on the suspension and no local tuning was done. Regardless of what anyone tells you, these utes should drive exactly the same.
One final difference: the Mazda BT-50 has a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty versus six-year/150,000km coverage on the Isuzu D-Max. The service intervals of 12 months/15,000km are the same on both vehicles.
MORE: Isuzu D-Max versus Mazda BT-50: what's the difference according to the brochure?
MORE: 2021 Mazda BT-50 price and specs
MORE: 2021 Mazda BT-50 unveiled
MORE: 2021 Isuzu D-Max versus updated Toyota HiLux SR5 and Ford Ranger WIldtrak
Note that all variants listed are double-cab. CC models are cab-chassis without a tray, all other variants have a ute tub. Prices are RRP and exclude on-road costs such as registration and stamp duty.
|Model||Model grade||Drivetrain||Transmission||RRP||Equipment differences|
|D-Max||SX CC||4x2||Auto||$40,700||Tradie model. Vinyl floor, steel wheels, halogen headlights. Equivalent model not available as a BT-50.|
|D-Max||SX||4x2||Auto||$41,900||Tradie model. Vinyl floor, steel wheels, halogen headlights. Equivalent model not available as a BT-50.|
|BT-50||XT CC||4x2||Auto||$44,090||Entry-grade model. Carpet floor, alloy wheels, LED headlights. Equivalent model not available as an D-Max.|
|BT-50||XT||4x2||Auto||$45,490||Entry-grade model. Carpet floor, alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear sensors. Equivalent model not available as a D-Max.|
|D-Max||LS-U||4x2||Auto||$48,900||Mid-grade model RRP is $570 less than BT-50 and lacks sensor key, push button start, and matching alloy spare.|
|BT-50||XTR||4x2||Auto||$49,470||Mid-grade model RRP is $570 more than D-Max and gains sensor key, push button start, and matching alloy spare.|
|D-Max||SX CC||4x4||Manual||$46,700||Tradie model. Vinyl floor, steel wheels, halogen headlights. Equivalent model not available as a BT-50.|
|BT-50||XT CC||4x4||Manual||$49,360||Entry-grade model. Carpet floor, alloy wheels, LED headlights, matching alloy spare. Equivalent model not available as a D-Max.|
|BT-50||XT CC||4x4||Auto||$51,860||Entry-grade model. Carpet floor, alloy wheels, LED headlights, matching alloy spare. Equivalent model not available as a D-Max.|
|D-Max||LS-M||4x4||Manual||$51,000||Entry-grade model RRP is $240 more than BT-50 and lacks rear sensors, matching alloy spare.|
|BT-50||XT||4x4||Manual||$50,760||Entry-grade model RRP is $240 less than D-Max and gains rear sensors, matching alloy spare.|
|D-Max||LS-M||4x4||Auto||$53,000||Entry-grade model RRP is $260 less than BT-50 and lacks rear sensors, matching alloy spare.|
|BT-50||XT||4x4||Auto||$53,260||Entry-grade model RRP is $260 more than D-Max and gains rear sensors, matching alloy spare.|
|D-Max||LS-U||4x4||Manual||$54,900||Mid-grade model RRP is $190 more than BT-50 and lacks sensor key, push button start, and matching alloy spare.|
|BT-50||XTR||4x4||Manual||$54,710||Mid-grade model RRP is $190 less than BT-50 and gains sensor key, push button start, and matching alloy spare.|
|D-Max||LS-U||4x4||Auto||$56,900||Mid-grade model RRP is $310 less than BT-50 and lacks sensor key, push button start, and matching alloy spare.|
|BT-50||XTR||4x4||Auto||$57,210||Mid-grade model RRP is $310 more than D-Max and gains sensor key, push button start, and matching alloy spare.|
|D-Max||X-Terrain||4x4||Manual||NA||Flagship D-Max not available with manual transmission.|
|BT-50||GT||4x4||Manual||$56,990||Flagship BT-50 is available with manual transmission.|
Flagship model RRP is $2910 more than BT-50. Has black leather seats. Lacks heated leather seats, heated side mirrors, matching alloy spare. Gains roller shutter hard lid, tub liner, and body kit.
Flagship model RRP is $2910 less than D-Max. Gains heated brown leather seats, heated side mirrors, matching alloy spare. Lacks roller shutter hard lid, tub liner, and body kit.