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Mazda BT-50 XT 4x2 cab-chassis 2016 review

2016 Mazda BT-50 XT cab-chassis
EXPERT RATING
7
Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the Mazda Bt-50 XT 2WD cab-chassis with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Auto transmission is welcome in the base — but not budget — ute.

It's normal to aspire to the top-line model but at times, say when you're buying a ute, a reality check dictates you go for something more practical and affordable.

Spending $60,000 on a work truck is big money by anyone's measure. A brickie for example doesn't need leather trim, premium audio and shiny alloys to get his gear to the worksite.

What's needed is a workhorse truck — a hose-out job with vinyl floor mats, steel wheels and as large an alloy tray and payload as possible.

Mazda's rear-drive BT-50 2.2-litre XT cab-chassis fits the bill perfectly, unless you are driving on boggy sites.

A recent upgrade restyled the BT-50s crazy-looking "face", tweaked equipment levels and more significantly added a six-speed auto to the base model. It's a big ask — at $28,815, it comes at a $3200 premium over the six-speed manual — but some prefer the self-shifter for towing and heavy city driving.

When you need to carry plenty of gear, the rule is "the bigger the better''

The cab-chassis is the only model with the diesel four-cylinder and the rest run a 3.2-litre five-cylinder.

A reverse camera is optional on XT at $820 and it is standard on the rest of the range.

The huge tray is a plus. In the XT it is aluminium and measures 2550mm long by 1842mm wide — the length can lead to parking difficulties in shopping centres.

When you need to carry plenty of gear, the rule is "the bigger the better'' and the BT-50 really comes into its own here. The payload is 1533kg, pretty impressive for a one-tonne ute and, what's more, it can tow 3350kg.

Not that you'd burden the XT with both at the same time, even with its robust ladder chassis, large brakes, leaf springs and live rear axle.

The two-seat cabin is acceptably practical, if a little Spartan. The infotainment screen is too small and it has rake-only steering wheel adjustment.

The seats are large and comfortable, the other interior features easy to use and even the audio is OK.

With decent outputs (110kW/375Nm), the diesel pulls strongly from low in the rev range but it generates far too much noise and vibration. You know you're in a work truck. The five-cylinder is much smoother though it uses slightly more fuel.

Essentially the five with one cylinder lopped off, the 2.2 returns 8.9L/100km in auto form (the manual is rather thriftier at 7.6L) and the fuel tank holds 80L.

Ride comfort is what you'd expect from a work truck on coils upfront, leaf springs down the back and the capacity to tote 1.5 tonnes. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The Hi-rider we tested (with 4WD ride height but at no extra cost) looked ready for work with black 16-inch steel wheels (but lacking) alloy load rails. The spare is a 16-inch temporary job.

Yes, we loaded it up but nowhere near 1.5 tonnes. The building materials we had to move, weighing perhaps half a tonne, made little difference to the on-road behaviour, apart from possibly softening the ride a tad.

The reversing camera image displayed in the rear view mirror is adequate only. If you get some early morning sun in your eyes backing out of the drive, it's useless.

We like the tech — cruise control, multiple wheel controls, hill holder, trailer sway control, new multimedia setup — and the comforts, among them Bluetooth audio and phone, power windows and mirrors and aircon.

Verdict

A "cheap" entry into the one-tonne ute class with a big payload and large tray. The auto is a good thing. New look is welcome. Too much noise and vibration in the cabin though.

Click here to see more 2016 Mazda BT-50 XT pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$32,990
Based on 190 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,990
Highest Price
$45,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
GT (4x4) 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $37,990 – 39,990 2016 Mazda BT-50 2016 GT (4x4) Pricing and Specs
XT (4x2) 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $14,990 – 30,000 2016 Mazda BT-50 2016 XT (4x2) Pricing and Specs
XT (4x4) 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $28,990 – 35,990 2016 Mazda BT-50 2016 XT (4x4) Pricing and Specs
XTR (4x2) 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $28,975 – 34,990 2016 Mazda BT-50 2016 XTR (4x2) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$14,990

Lowest price, based on 20 car listings in the last 6 months

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