Mazda BT-50 XTR Dual Cab review

We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering  would you buy one?

What is it?

Mazda's goofy looking, all new singing and dancing ute. The XTR sits between the XT and GT models and this one has the six-speed manual. It and the Ford Ranger are twins under the skin.

How much?

Prices start at $32,590 plus on-roads. This one is $48,810. The optional six-speed auto adds $2000 to the price.

What are competitors?

The Ford Ranger springs to mind. Same mechanicals but better looking. Then there's the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton not to mention VW's more expensive Amarok.

What's under the bonnet?

The range kicks off with a 2.2-litre diesel, but this one gets a big 3.2-litre five cylinder diesel that kicks out 147kW of power and 470Nm of torque from a low 1750 revs. No mention of a petrol model.

Is it economical?

Rated at 8.9 litres/100km (auto gets 9.2) We clocked up 500km at a rate of 8.8 litres/100km just taking it easy.

How does it go?

Pretty zippy for such a big bus. The short shifting manual is ideal for getting through the gears in a hurry but, with narrow gates, it's easy to muff the change if you're not paying attention. Hills require little effort, even in top gear.

Is it green?

Gets 2.5 out of five stars from the Govt's Green Vehicle Guide (Prius sets the benchmark with 5). Produces 235g/km of C02. 

Is it safe?

All variants with side airbags (which includes this one) score a maximum five stars for safety which means it could double as a means of family transport.

Is it comfortable?

Relatively. The suspension is truck hard and jiggly on all but the smoothest roads, but you have to expect this from a ute (especially an off road one).

What's it like to drive?

Fun. That's the important thing. At close to 2.1 tonnes, almost 5.4 metres in length and more than 1.8 metres wide, it's a big truck and takes up a lot of driveway. 

Is it value for money?

All grades come with cruise control, Bluetooth, power windows and mirrors, airconditioning, and a whole suite of safety technologies. XTR models add 17-inch alloys, front fog lamps, dual-zone climate control, leather gear shift knob and steering wheel, satellite navigation and chrome trim.

Would we buy one?

Apart from the goofy styling there's not much to complain about. With an 80-litre tank it has a range approaching 900km, has a 1.1 tonne payload capacity and can tow 3.3 tonnes. Ground clearance is 237mm but is compromised by the side steps.

MAZDA BT-50 DUAL CAB

Price: from $48,810
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km or 2 years/unlimited km
Resale: 52% Source: Glass's Guide
Service: 6 months/10,000km
Economy: 9.2 l/100km, on test 10.7, tank 80 litres; 246g/km CO2
Safety: six airbags, ABS, EBD, etc.
Crash rating: 5 star
Engine: 147kW/470Nm 20-valve DOHC 3.2-litre common-rail direct-injection in-line five-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed auto
Body: 4-door, 5 seats
Dimensions: 5365mm (L); 1850mm (W); 1821mm (H); 3220mm (WB) weight 2103kg
Tyre size: 265/65 R17
Spare tyre:  full size

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