Continuing our look at the tough ute and pickup truck market, this week we’ve got Mazda’s contender in the field.  The BT-50.  Perhaps not the best looker but does it perform?

Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50

Make: Mazda

Model: BT-50

Variant: Dual Cab Chassis XT Hi Rider

Engine / Transmission: 3.2-litre in-line 5 cylinder 20 valve DOHC intercooled turbo diesel, 6-speed manual

Drivetrain: 4×4

Vital Stats: 147Kw @ 3000rpm 470Nm @ 1,750 – 2,500rpm

RRP Price: $37,890

Standard Features: 80 litre fuel tank capacity, 6-speed manual, 16 inch steel wheels Halogen headlamps, Power windows and mirrors (black), Air-conditioning, Bluetooth® (hands-free compatible), Bluetooth® audio (MP3 player compatible), USB input (iPod® compatible), Cruise control, Vinyl floor covering, Trip computer, Audio system with AM/FM tuner, single-disc CD player and 6 speakers, Locking Rear Differential (4×4 only), Towing capacity (braked) 3,500kg

Safety highlights:  Airbags: front (driver and passenger), side (front) and curtain (front and rear), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Child restraint anchor points, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Hill Descent Control (HDC) – 4×4 only and Hill Launch Assist (HLA)

Wow Factor: Impressive off-road capabilities, large tray. Updated now equal class leading 3,500kg towing capacity.

Most Impressive: Cabin quality only just a fraction below VW Amarok. Corners relatively flat for one of the larger dual cabs on the market.

Not so impressive: 6-speed manual is hardly a breeze to use and difficult to live with amongst stop start traffic. Sheer size and the lack of a reversing camera make shopping centre car parks / drive thru fast food outlets intimidating. The word ugly is used by many to describe its ‘left of field’ looks.

Early verdict: Being a reskinned Ford Ranger this is definitely not a bad dual cab. It’s rough and tough and can take a serious bashing. Outright power advantage over several rivals.