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2021 Mazda BT-50 pricing and specs detailed: New Thunder flagship arrives to take on D-Max X-Terrain and Ranger Wildtrak with Holden Ute name!

The new Mazda BT-50 Thunder 2021 model is a tougher, more aggressive ute than the GT it's based on.

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 ute range has been bolstered by a new Australia-specific range-topping model, known as the Thunder.

The Thunder name might be familiar to Holden Ute enthusiasts of years gone by, and perhaps Mazda is aiming to capitalise on that with the new dual-cab 4WD pick-up, which is on sale from April.

This new model has been designed with an “aggressive appearance” and “quality parts developed by Mazda Australia’s in-house engineering team”, with the Japanese brand saying its Thai-built truck is “created to suit the Australian market’s unique demands”.

As such, the Mazda BT-50 Thunder 2021 model scores a number of hardcore off-road accessories - putting it more on par with the Toyota HiLux Rugged X than the likes of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain, despite being close to all of those utes on price.

The Thunder gets 18-inch black alloy wheels, a single-hoop steel bullbar, Lightforce dual-row LED lightbar, fender flares, side steps, a rear sports bar and electric rolling tonneau cover, as well as Thunder decals.

Because the Thunder grade is based on the GT, it still has the same Isuzu-sourced 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. Thunder models are 4x4 only, but you can have it in a choice of six-speed manual (official fuel use: 7.7L/100km) or six-speed automatic (official fuel use: 8.0L/100km).

The Mazda BT-50 Thunder scores a number of hardcore off-road accessories. The Mazda BT-50 Thunder scores a number of hardcore off-road accessories.

As with GT variants, Thunder models have brown leather interior trim, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats, folding heated side mirrors, LED headlights, daytime running lights and fog lamps, front and rear parking sensors, and a full suite of active safety technology, including AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and front centre airbag protection.

Plus there’s a touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in sat nav and an eight-speaker stereo.

According to Mazda, the BT-50 Thunder gains $13,000 worth of additional gear over the GT grade BT-50 it’s based upon. But the price represents a smaller jump than that, with the manual version listing at $65,990 before on-road costs and the automatic at $68,990 - $9000 more than the equivalent GT prices.

Just like the rest of the Mazda Australia range, the BT-50 Thunder is backed by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, with servicing intervals set at 12 month/15,000km intervals.