Mazda's BT-50 was awarded Australia's coveted off-road title over five of its closest rivals; the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Holden Rodeo, Mitsubishi Triton and Ford Ranger.
Australian 4WD Monthly editor Glenn Wright said: “The BT-50 was chosen as our 2007 Ute of the Year as it presented the best overall package and value for money.
“What set the BT-50 apart from the rest was its brilliant engine — grunty yet refined and economical.
“Its great ride and handling qualities made you forget you were driving a ute, because it felt no different to the average 4WD wagon.”
This was the ultimate test of the BT-50 turbo-diesel dual cab utility covering 2500km of Australia's harshest outback terrain.
A panel of six experienced judges voted Mazda's 3.0-litre turbo diesel Dual Cab Utility SDX the year's must-buy 4WD ute.
Priced from $41,467 with airconditioning, canopy and bull bar, the BT-50 Dual Cab Utility SDX outshone its competitors on all of the key judging criteria that included off-road ability, interior, engine performance, overall design and engineering and an underbody damage inspection after the test.
The back-to-back ute comparison, dubbed the `outback torture test' by the Australian 4WD Monthly editorial team, involved a week-long drive from Adelaide to Alice Springs and comprised every imaginable terrain, from sand, to mud, to low-range rocky tracks, to high-speed dirt and tarmac driving.
The torture test Wright says: “puts the vehicles through their paces the same way our readers would if it were their own.”
Mazda Australia managing director Doug Dickson said: “We could not be more delighted with this award. This title reflects the feedback we have been getting from our BT-50 customers since its launch last year. They really appreciate its power, refinement and economy. No wonder it is selling in record numbers.”
This is the second award the BT-50 has won this year; it also won Delivery Magazine's 2007 Light Commercial Vehicle Award earlier this month.