Mazda has finally ripped the covers off its all-new BT-50 ute, which is earmarked to arrive in local showrooms by the end of the year.
As previously reported, the third-generation BT-50 will share its underpinnings with the Isuzu D-Max, ending Mazda’s long-running pick-up partnership with Ford and its Ranger.
From the outside, the new BT-50 wears Mazda’s ‘Kodo’ design language, which means a unique front grille, bumper and headlights to keep it in line with its CX-9, CX-5 and Mazda3 stablemates.
The tail-lights, wheels, and tail-gate are also unique Mazda components.
Inside, the BT-50 sports a large multimedia touchscreen system, complete with satellite navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, as well as chunky switchgear and uniquely-shaped air-vents.
Keen-eyed car spotters will note that the steering wheel and instrumentation are the same as the D-Max, albeit with Mazda’s own touches.
Under the bonnet of the BT-50 is a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, outputting 140kW/450Nm, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The new BT-50 is down 7kW/20Nm compared with the outgoing model's Ford-sourced 147kW/470NM 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five-cylinder engine.
The current BT-50 is also offered with a 110kW/375Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, also sourced from Ford, in lower-spec grades, but it is expected the new Mazda ute will use a single powertrain across its whole line-up.
The new BT-50 is expected to improve on the current car’s fuel economy figure due to less overall weight and a more efficient engine, though by how much is not yet revealed.
Payload and towing are also competitive at 1000 and 3500kg respectively.
Mazda is yet to confirm, but expect to see a full suite of body styles available on the new BT-50, including single cab, cab chassis and dual-cab versions, as well as 4x2 and 4x4 options in manual and automatic.
The Japanese brand is also aiming for a full five-star ANCAP safety rating, with features such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring to be included as standard.
It is also understood that the BT-50 will feature a centre side airbag between the driver and front passenger to adhere to the stricter 2020 ANCAP standards, while also being one of the first utes to have a solid anchoring point for the middle seat top tether, instead of a fabric loop.
Full pricing and spec details are expected closer to launch, but for reference, the current BT-50 starts at $29,060 before on-road costs, and extends to $63,250.