The Mazda BT-50 is technically a twin to the Isuzu D-Max, but the latest round of safety tests has shown a subtle difference.
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The Mazda BT-50 has been awarded a five-star safety rating, making it one of the safest utes on sale in Australia alongside its twin under the skin, the Isuzu D-Max.

However, testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – which compares crash safety, collision avoidance technology, and likely injuries to pedestrians and cyclists – found the Mazda BT-50’s bold nose marked it down slightly compared to the Isuzu D-Max.

While both vehicles have been awarded a five-star safety rating and earned identical scores in most criteria, the Mazda BT-50 earned 67 per cent (36.62 out of 54) in the vulnerable road user assessment, compared to 69 per cent (37.63 out of 54) for the Isuzu D-Max.

The detailed data shows the Mazda BT-50's bold nose scored slightly lower than the Isuzu D-Max in terms of pedestrian head protection (16.98 out of 24 versus 17.78 out of 24 for the Isuzu) and upper leg impacts (4.80 out of 6 versus 5.01 out of 6 for the Isuzu).

In all other aspects, the Mazda BT-50’s safety scores were identical to the Isuzu D-Max.

ANCAP said because the Mazda BT-50 has a different front bumper and fascia to the Isuzu D-Max, "supplementary testing was conducted to determine any differences in pedestrian protection performance".

“These additional tests revealed a very slight increase in potential injury risk, with the BT-50 achieving a slightly lower score of 67 per cent in the area of Vulnerable Road User Protection,” said ANCAP.

However, ANCAP director, communications and advocacy, Rhianne Robson said: “As the latest release into the high-selling (ute)segment, the Mazda BT-50 provides a comprehensive safety offering to both fleet and private buyers.”

ANCAP says the safety rating for the Mazda BT-50 is predominantly based on testing of the Isuzu D-Max, as well as an evaluation of supplied technical evidence from both manufacturers.

“Additional destructive testing, technical diagrams, and modelled results confirmed comparable safety performance across three of the four key areas of ANCAP assessment,” the report said.

ANCAP said maximum points were applied to the BT-50’s protection of adult occupants in the side impact and oblique pole tests. And full points were also applied to the protection of child occupants in the frontal offset and side impact tests.

New safety features introduced to the Mazda BT-50 include a centre airbag – to assist in reducing occupant-to-occupant injuries in a severe side impact.

As with the Isuzu D-Max, the Mazda BT-50 gains auto braking junction assistance – to prevent turning across the path of an oncoming vehicle at intersections.

The twin utes also have multi-collision braking, to minimise the impact of a secondary impact after an initial crash.

“This top rating underscores the importance placed on safety by Mazda, with all models in its range carrying a 5 star ANCAP safety rating,” said ANCAP.