Flagship ute on sale in April 2021, adding a bull-bar, fender flares, new wheels and more for an extra $9000.
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  • 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder pricing and specification
  • Flagship dual-cab adds $13,000 worth of off-road accessories
  • 140kW/450Nm 3.0-litre engine, leather seats, tech carried over from top-spec GT
  • Priced from $65,990 drive-away – $9000 more than the GT

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder has been announced for Australia as a tough flagship for the Japanese brand's new-generation dual-cab ute.

The new model will put the new Mazda BT-50 in a head-on battle with the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain with which it shares its underpinnings. Although the Mazda and Isuzu bodies are unique, both vehicles are twins under the skin and are made on the same Isuzu production line in Thailand.

Based on the existing flagship BT-50 GT dual-cab 4x4, the Australian-exclusive Thunder adds an array of off-road and lifestyle-focused parts designed by Mazda's engineering team in Australia, with pricing at launch to start from $65,990 drive-away with a six-speed manual, or $68,900 drive-away with a six-speed automatic.

It's suggested prices will revert to RRPs of $65,990 before on-road costs (manual) and $68,990 before on-road costs (auto) after an unspecified period of time. Both figures represent increases of $9000 versus respective variants of the standard GT – however, Mazda claims $13,000 worth of additional equipment has been added.

Changes include a single-hoop steel bull-bar, a Lightforce LED light-bar, black 18-inch alloys, wheel-arch flares and matte black side steps.

A 'premium' sports bar, an electrically-operated roller tonneau cover and a tub liner are also part of the package, and the model is distinguished by Thunder decals on the rear fenders.

Those additions combine to create Mazda's rival to other flagship dual-cab utes such as the Australian-developed Toyota HiLux Rugged X and Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior.

However, unlike the Toyota and Nissan which have bespoke parts added at production facilities in Melbourne before the vehicles are delivered to showrooms, the Thunder's add-ons are installed by dealers – similar to the wider BT-50 range's 100-strong accessory catalogue, from which many of the Thunder's parts can be optioned individually on a standard BT-50 model.

Standard equipment, engine power, and suspension are unchanged from the GT on which the range-topping Thunder is based. A list of the key inclusions can be found at the bottom of this story.

For a full breakdown of pricing and standard features across the entire Mazda BT-50 line-up, click here to read our story on the dual-cab range, and here to read about the single- and Freestyle cab range.

The standard BT-50’s Isuzu-sourced 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is retained in the Thunder, sending 140kW and 450Nm through a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

A locking differential is fitted as standard on the rear axle, as is a switchable high- and low-range four-wheel-drive system and hill-descent control to increase off-road capabilities.

Combined claimed fuel economy ratings for the BT-50 Thunder sit at 7.7L/100km for the manual, or 8.0L/100km for the auto.

Despite the fitment of the accessory parts, Mazda claims the same 3100kg gross vehicle mass figure as the GT, with payload rated at 897kg for the manual and 887kg for the auto.

The standard BT-50's exterior colour palette carries over to the range-topper – all for no additional cost – comprising Ice White, True Black Mica, Ingot Silver Metallic, Concrete Grey Mica, Gun Blue Mica, Rock Grey Mica and Red Volcano Mica.

All models offer a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and five years of roadside assistance.

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder will go on sale in Australia in April 2021.

2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder Australian launch pricing

  • BT-50 Thunder dual-cab 4x4 manual – $65,990
  • BT-50 Thunder dual-cab 4x4 auto – $68,990

Note: All prices listed above are introductory drive-away offers, and include on-road costs.


Mazda BT-50 Thunder standard features

In addition to the Thunder-specific features discussed above, carry-over features from the BT-50 GT include:

  • LED headlights with auto-levelling
  • LED fog lights and daytime-running lights
  • 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with digital radio, satellite navigation, a reversing camera and Bluetooth
  • Apple CarPlay (wireless and wired) and Android Auto (wired)
  • Eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Brown leather seat trim
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
  • Advanced keyless entry (with remote engine start on automatic models)
  • Push-button start
  • Front parking sensors
  • Dual-zone climate control (with rear air vents)
  • Power-folding, heated chrome exterior mirrors
  • Carpeted floors
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Rear centre armrest
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go (automatic models only, manual vehicles feature non-adaptive cruise control)
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Turn assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist (auto models only, manuals get 'Lane Departure Prevention')
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Eight airbags (dual front, front side, curtain, driver's knee and front-centre)