The new BT-50 ute might be styled much closer to its contemporary stablemates, but can a model built by another brand truly slot into Mazda’s own Skyactiv philosophy?
Well, Mazda’s approach has always been about maximising the efficiency of existing internal-combustion engines, which, according to Mazda Australia marketing boss Alastair Doak, the new BT-50 absolutely does despite its engine coming from Isuzu.
“I think it sits quite comfortably (in the Mazda line-up),” he said.
“Obviously, the whole point of Skyactiv is around improving fuel consumption, and this one is a huge improvement over the current BT-50.
“I think from a philosophical point of view, it obviously fits that brief.”
Mazda is remaining tight-lipped on the exact fuel consumption figure of the new BT-50, but the current version sips up to 10 litres per 100km when fitted with Ford’s 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder engine.
BT-50s powered with a 110kW/375Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel can drop that figure down to 8.0L/100km.
Only one engine has been confirmed for the new BT-50 however, a 140kW/450Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel sourced from Isuzu, which means the new Mazda ute loses up 7kW/20Nm compared with its predecssor.
Just how low the fuel consumption figure goes is still yet to be revealed, but the new BT-50 is likely 10-20 per cent more efficient, meaning a circa-8.0L/100km figure with the new engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Mr Doak said the Isuzu 3.0-litre engine is a good fit for Mazda’s Skyactiv strategy, and also applauded the unit’s reliable reputation.
“I think as a commercial vehicle, it’s always going to be a different engine technology (from Mazda’s passenger car and SUV line-up), and obviously a larger capacity diesel that very much focuses on low speed torque,” he said.
“We’re very happy with the engine, and the power and torque outputs right now, and obviously delighted with the fuel consumption.
“We’re obviously with a partner who has a very strong reputation in the commercial vehicle market, and obviously in that ute and off-road ability as well, so we’re delighted to have that partnership.”