We got hold of a fresh out of the wrapper 2018 Mazda BT-50 XTR dual-cab 4×4 with auto transmission for a proper tow test – you catch all the details on the towing test here.
For those of you interested in the attributes of the Mazda ute…the BT-50 XTR is the second model from the top and sells from $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.
Not the best looking ute around , the ‘new’ Mazda BT-50 is not too bad on the eye and is a big improvement on the first model which many described as pug-ugly.
They went for a complete change to the headlights, bumper and grille but retailed the almond shaped taillights unique to the BT-50 even though it’s twin under the skin is Ford’s popular and handsome Ranger.
The restyle is pleasing and doesn’t demand a bull bar for disguise.
Apart from that, the BT-50 XTR tested is basically your standard dual-cab one tonner.
Get ready for the new model twinned with Isuzu’s D-Max instead of a Ford Ranger.
Inside gains some new kit and a revised dash layout that in the XTR features a largish centre touchscreen with reverse camera and sat-nav operated by apps.
The seats are large including the rear pew with the fronts offering reasonable adjustment and support.
There aren’t many soft surfaces inside the cabin except where you might put your elbows.
The dash looks neat and contains easy to use switches and controls including a decent audio system.
As second from the top model, the Mazda BT-50 XTR has a reasonable array of kit including:
- Climate control air
- Cruise control
- Trip computer
- Hill start assist
- Fog lights
- Chunky alloys
- An infotainment upgrade
- Reverse camera
Upholstery is cloth and there’s carpet on the floor. The test vehicle had a cargo mat which should be standard across the range.
Drive and Engine
This is a genuine fourbie with selectable 2WD and 4WD High and Low range. It’s on a ladder chassis too so strength isn’t an issue.
The five-cylinder diesel engine has been around for a long time now and is a benchmark in the class even sounding pretty good at some revs. The six speed auto has a manual select mode but doesn’t need it.
There’s a locking rear diff too for sticky situations along with 237mm ground clearance.
The Mazda BT-50 scores five stars but doesn’t have any advanced driver assist technology to speak of apart from hill start assist.
Disc/drum brakes came as a bit of a shock but some buyers prefer them for mud and sand driving.
- Genuine 4×4 on ladder chassis
- Punchy engine
- Slick auto transmission
- Comfortable ride
- Huge GCM for a one tonner
- Softened looks easier on the eye
Not So Good Bits
- Likes a drink
- Temporary spare
- No advanced driver assist technology to speak of
We like the BT-50 as it feels robust and makes a great tow vehicle. Don’t mind the styling either and it offers genuine 4×4 capability along with proper load carrying credentials i.e. no coil springs at the back.
Showing its age though.
And don’t forget to check out how the BT-50 went with a decent load on the tow-bar.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mazda BT-50 XTR
- Engine: 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 147kW/470Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
- Price: XTR from $50,490