For the first time in almost 10 years, the 2021 Mazda BT-50 is brandishing an all-new face. It’s also riding on a new Isuzu-based platform motivated by an Isuzu diesel engine. So, is the new Mazda BT-50 still a Mazda? With an expressive fascia lifted from its CX-9 sibling, it’s not hard to discern the BT-50 as a proper Mazda.
The new BT-50 was launched online by Mazda South Africa this morning. Right off the bat, we were intrigued by the non-availability of Mazda’s excellent Skyaktiv-D engine in the BT-50 line-up.
We reckon this could be that Mazda’s efficient diesel is not powerful or torquey enough to handle the BT-50’s 3,500 kg towing capacity. Instead, Mazda went to Isuzu for a solution. The answer came in the form of the latter’s 1.9 and 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel mills from the Isuzu D-Max bakkie.
If you can remember, all previous models of the Mazda BT-50 were based on the Ford Ranger. As such, it also came with a slew of Ford powerplants. But in the new BT-50, the 3.0-litre Isuzu diesel mill is pumping out 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque while the entry 1.9l is good for 110kW and 350Nm. The BT-50 may not look as tough or utilitarian as the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max, but this bakkie is ripe for some serious hauling.
The new diesel engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox while an automatic is optional. Meanwhile, both 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains are available across the line-up. We also know the new BT-50 is equipped with a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen along with a refined cabin similar to other Mazda vehicles. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are standard.
The 2021 Mazda BT-50 is available in 6 colours: Gun Blue, Rock Grey, Red Volcano, Ice White, Ignot Silver and Concrete Grey. The bakkie will be produced in Thailand in conjunction with the latest-gen Isuzu D-Max. Pricing starts at R611 900.