2018 Mazda BT-50 Tow Test

A Proper Tow Test in a Mazda Ute

Mazda Australia passed us the keys to a brand spanking new Mazda BT-50 last week and I thought this would be a great opportunity to really put it to the test.

You can catch our overview review of the Mazda ute here, but for those interested in finding out specifically how the BT-50 handled the towing test I can say that there were a couple of surprises.

You can’t expect a car with just 27km on the clock to perform at its best and return the claimed fuel economy.

However, after a 1000km round trip with a two-tonne plus load behind, the BT-50 freed up nicely offering much better performance than at the start and a similar improvement to fuel economy.

So, there is truth in the assertion that a car needs to be run in to give its best.

Love to Tow

Anyhow, what we do know is that Aussies love to tow…. pretty much anything.

It can be a boat, caravan, a car trailer, doesn’t matter really, we love to haul a rig pretending we’re real life truckies.

Being no different to your average towie, we put our own rig behind the BT-50 in the form of a 660kg dual axle car trailer with a 1350kg car aboard.

All up, with other stuff thrown in the back of the car on the trailer, it was probably around a 2200kg load - well within the 3500kg towing capacity of the BT-50.

6.0 Tonnes

The BT-50 XTR’s payload is a respectable 1095kg meaning you can potentially have a Gross Combined Mass (everything including the 2100kg vehicle, trailer, and payload) of 6.0 tonnes…wow, we’d like to see that.

In its un-run-in state, the BT made light work of the job at hand offering good off the mark acceleration and plenty of poke on the freeway. Barely slowed down on long uphills either.

The whole exercise was made easier by the smooth shifting six speed auto transmission and heavy duty suspension that features leaf rear springs.

BT-50 has trailer sway control as standard and it’s a godsend when you start pulling heavier loads and even more important in cross winds.

It works by selectively applying the brakes to nip any swaying in the bud that also has the effect of allowing higher cruising speeds without any issues.

Of particular note is the tow ball weight limit at 250kg-relatively high in the greater scheme of things and handy to avoid having to fit a load levelling device which can be a pain in the neck as well as weighing plenty.

The XTR model driven rolls on nice fat 17-inch rubber that can be pumped up to 44psi for optimum towing safety.

Wet Grip

The tyres offer pretty good grip though you still have to go carefully in the wet.

Our test drive included some city and suburban driving as well as highway and the overall fuel consumption average was showing 13.9-litres/100km.

That’s OK for a vehicle like the Mazda BT-50 XTR hauling a lot of weight.

Better fuel economy would be achievable when the ute has about 5000km on the clock.

Having said that, there was a notable improvement underfoot and on the fuel gauge as the odometer ticked over 1000km.

The load box is large for a dual-cab and there’s plenty of room in the cabin for five at a pinch.

The XTR is second model from the top and sells for $50,490 but it misses out on advanced driver assist technology.

An upgrade back in 2015 addressed the vehicle’s confronting looks with a softened face and changes inside with more kit.

But the BT-50 has been around for a long time and it shows in a few key areas.

Not NVH suppression or ride quality though both of which are impressive.

The five-pot engine is a good thing but isn’t as economical as some of the newer competitors in particular Holden’s recently revised 2.8-litre Colorado which also has more torque at 500Nm compared to the BT’s 470Nm.

The BT-50 gets on boost quickly at around 1750rpm when maximum torque is available making towing a snack.


A reminder to check out my full review of the 2018 Mazda BT-50 here.

In regards to the vehicles towing attributes, the Mazda BT-50 feels robust and makes a great tow vehicle with proper load carrying credentials…in other no coil springs at the back.

It’s not the freshest thing on the shelf but as a tow vehicle it should be closely considered.

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