We turn the spotlight on the Mazda BT-50 XT 3.2 cab-chassis and answer the questions, including the most important -- would you buy one?
What is it?
This is Mazda's workhorse, the new generation BT-50 ute in a wide range of variants, in this case, the bottom spec 4x4 manual XT cab/chassis.
This one goes for $36,810 but if you don't need 4x4 capability, the 3.2 twobie goes for $28,740 but if you're happy with the 2.2-litre four plonker diesel twobie it's $25,570 in cab chassis.
What are competitors?
Explore the 2013 Mazda BT-50 range
Heads on them like white mice - Ranger, Hilux, Triton, Colorado, D-Max, Amarok, Navara.
What's under the bonnet?
This is the 3.2 litre, five-cylinder turbo diesel shared with Ford Ranger. It's good for 147kW/470Nm output and sips fuel from an 80-litre tank.
How does it go?
Like a shot. A performance ute even - once you get out of first cog. Even with a load on board it's a good goer. But the springs are stiff and she bounces a fair but unladen as you'd expect from a leaf spring rear end.
Is it economical?
Not bad at 8.9-litres/100km for this one, less for the twobie 3.2 and less again for the 2.2 four cylinder but the six speed auto is up around the 10 mark.
Is it green?
Is it safe?
Five stars with all that brings in terms of primary and secondary safety kit - air bags, stability control and so on..
Is it comfortable?
OK for a ute, with big seats unless you're in the 'third' middle pew which isn't really a seat at all. Plenty of handy kit in a base model like Bluetooth phone and audio, power windows and mirrors, trip computer, cruise control, aircon, hill hold and downhill assist, rake only steering adjust and cloth seats. No satnav which should be mandatory in a working vehicle.
What's it like to drive?
We liked it apart from the notchy six speed manual transmission. Whacked a tonne in the aluminium tray and it went like a train. Has a full size steel spare as well as practical steel wheels. The auto is arguably a better proposition for mixed driving, fully captures the diesel's grunt and is better in the city.
Is it value for money?
We'd probably go for the 2WD at a lot less money unless 4WD was absolutely necessary. There's eight grand difference but if you talk sternly to a dealer, we are told you'll probably get a sharper price.
Would we buy one?
Maybe depending on the price. Great engine, big 3.3 tonne towing capacity, 1411kg payload, 200mm ground clearance and under body protection. Plenty to like.