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Driven: Updated Mazda BT-50 checks in

Fresh face: The changes to the Mazda BT-50 range will tie over until the all-new version arrives some time around the turn of the decade.

Mazda updates its BT-50 range to keep fresh against pick-up rivals


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27 Apr 2018

MAZDA has updated its BT-50 workhorse with a new front-end design that was penned by Mazda Australia and will be rolled out exclusively for the local market.

The Japanese car-maker’s design team opted for a more squared-off front bumper, eschewing the more rounded, upswept look of the outgoing model that was updated back in September 2015.

Mazda’s design update project began in mid-2016, and has resulted in a boxier look, with new foglight surrounds and a straight-edged bumper that is painted grained black on entry-level XT variants, while higher-spec XTR and GT variants feature grey accents. Wiring, mounts and foglights remain untouched, The new bumper will be fitted by dealership staff in Australia after being manufactured in Thailand and Mazda says the existing bumpers will be recycled.

A new grille has been introduced across the range, with horizontal stripes finished in chrome on XTR and GT and black on the XT.

Mazda has announced ongoing driveaway pricing for the updated range, which changes the price of entry from $25,570 plus on-roads for the 4x2 XT single-cab chassis to $28,990 driveaway, while pricing for the range-topping 4x4 GT dual cab has come down sharply from $54,490 plus on-roads to $51,990 driveaway.

The $51,990 driveaway pricetag for a range-topping variant means that the Mitsubishi Triton Exceed ($48,000 plus on-road costs) is the only rival that can realistically match the BT-50 GT for value.

Pricing has also come down for the top-spec 4x2 variant, the XTR Hi-Rider, which has gone from $44,490 plus on roads to $41,990 driveaway.

The Japanese manufacturer says it is expecting incremental sales growth for the refreshed model, targeting 15,000 sales per year – up from 14,119 in 2017.

Dual-cab variants are tipped to make up nearly 60 per cent of sales, with the 4x4 driveline to be the more popular option with nearly two-thirds of sales.

Unlike some of its competitors, which are selling more top-spec variants than base grades, Mazda is expecting the entry-level XT grade to make up 60 per cent of sales, with only eight per cent coming from the range-topping GT.

Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told GoAuto that the reason the GT previously sold in lower numbers was due to a lack of differentiation from the XTR, however he said new equipment upgrades could help distinguish it from lower grades.

No changes have been made under the skin, with Mazda still offering single, freestyle and dual-cab body styles, 4x2 and 4x4 drivelines and either a six-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox.

The carry-over engines include the 110kW/375Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that consumes between 8.0 and 8.6 litres per 100km and the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel that drinks 8.9-10L/100km.

Extra equipment has been added to the range, including a reversing camera as standard across the range, which applies to both pick-up and cab-chassis body styles. The camera can also be fitted to cab-chassis models equipped with aftermarket trays.

The BT-50 is the first Mazda model in Australia to be offered with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is standard across the range following Mazda’s decision to fit a 7.0-inch Alpine touchscreen system on the base XT grade.

New accessories available on the updated BT-50 range include a black or polished silver nudge bar that has been redesigned to suit the new bumper, a black retractable tonneau cover, trailer brake away harness and a 12V smart socket.

Standard equipment on the XT includes halogen headlights, power windows and mirrors, black cloth upholstery, 16-inch wheels (alloy on some variants), air-conditioning, cruise control, six-speaker sound system, steering wheel-mounted controls, six airbags and a locking rear differential on 4x4 versions.

Moving up to the XTR adds a chrome grille, grey bumper insert, 17-inch alloys, chrome door handles, rear step bumper and power mirrors, front foglights, automatic headlights, tubular side steps, locking tailgate, auto-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, carpet floor covering, auto-dimming rearview mirror, sat-nav, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter and 8.0-inch Alpine multimedia system.

The top-spec GT gains new 17-inch polished alloy wheels, power mirrors with turn indicator, privacy glass, eight-way adjustable power front seats, black leather upholstery, a chrome sports bar, tub liner, remote tailgate locking and a 12V smart auxiliary socket that can charge items with the car turned off, but will shut off when the battery gets low.

Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, ABS brakes, dynamic stability control, emergency stop signal, hill launch assist, roll stability control, traction control and trailer sway control.

Servicing intervals for the new BT-50 have also been adjusted, rising from 10,000km to 15,000km over a 12-month span.

Mazda claims that over five years of scheduled servicing, the updated intervals will result in overall scheduling costs of $2683, down from $3537, making for a saving of $854.

No changes have been made to the BT-50’s warranty, which is either two years/unlimited km or three years/100,000km, compared to the rest of the Mazda range which consists of three years/unlimited km.

2018 Mazda BT-50 driveaway pricing
2.2L Single C/CH XT 4X2$28,990
2.2L Single C/CH XT 4X2 (a)$32,205
3.2L Single C/CH XT 4X2$32,205
3.2L Single C/CH XT 4X4$37,990
3.2L Single C/CH XT 4X4 (a)$39,990
3.2L Freestyle C/CH XT 4X2$34,490
3.2L Freestyle C/CH XT 4X2 (a)$36,490
3.2L Freestyle C/CH XT 4X4$40,490
3.2L Freestyle C/CH XT 4X4 (a)$43,490
3.2L Freestyle Cab Utility XTR 4X4$45,990
3.2L Freestyle Cab Utility XTR 4X4 (a)$47,990
3.2L Dual C/CH XT 4X2$36,198
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XT 4X2$35,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XT 4X2 (a)$37,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XTR 4X2$39,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XTR 4X2 (a)$41,990
3.2L Dual C/CH XT 4X4$41,198
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XT 4X4$40,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XT 4X4 (a)$42,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XTR 4X4$46,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility XTR 4X4 (a)$48,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility GT 4X4$49,990
3.2L Dual Cab Utility GT 4X4 (a)$51,990

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