Tinashe Makichi Motoring Correspondent
The refreshed 2016 Mazda BT-50 utility has been unveiled and has already premiered in the Australian and Thai markets. The vehicle is yet to be officially launched for sale but from the concept already available, the Mazda team made a light touch when updating its relatively new machine.
This makeover brings the new vehicle’s looks further in line with Mazda’s new-generation passenger cars.
When it first appeared in 2011, styling for the current second-generation BT-50 had been inspired by the ‘Nagare’ design language that had featured across the Mazda range of the time.
The pickup’s makeover leaves much of its styling unchanged, although a darkened look to the headlights and the introduction of the same chrome ‘blade’ grille garnish featured on models like the Mazda 6 both work to bring the BT-50 back into the fold.
The concept also confirm that the new BT-50 will wear darkened cherry red tail lamps for the new model year, replacing the chrome and light red units previously featured.
Mazda in this version promises a revised interior with a “higher-quality feel”.
This is the most crucial aspect of the BT-50’s update, given the more refined cabins revealed in the updated Ford Ranger and the all new Toyota Hilux.
The Mazda BT 50 despite competing in a market largely dominated by variety, has managed to maintain its market share especially among Government departments and parastatals.
Mazda will be looking to these changes to boost sales for the BT-50 (7 090 units sold year-to-date), which, although far from flagging, sits behind key rivals Colorado , Triton (13 709), Ranger and Hilux on the sales chart.
Taking pride of place in the BT-50 interior is a new infotainment system. XTR and GT models feature a 7,8 inch high definition screen, with satellite navigation.
Additionally, 4×4 adventurers can add HEMA maps to the sat-navigation system, for specialised off-road mapping and information.
A reversing camera is also standard on XTR and GT, and is available as an $820 option for all other models.
XT variants with a bench seat gain a lockable glove box, while bucket seat versions pick up height adjustment and lumbar support for the driver’s seat. Dual cab XT now wears dark-finish 16-inch alloy wheels.
XTR models gain tubular side steps, auto headlights and wipers, and auto dimming mirrors. GT models add heated power-folding mirrors with integrated indicators, and rear privacy glass.
Engines and transmissions remain unchanged. The 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel in the 4×2 XT cab chassis produces 110kW at 3700rpm and 375Nm between 1500 and 2500rpm with fuel consumption rated from 7,6 to 8,9 litre per 100km.
All other variants run the 3,2 litre five cylinder diesel offering 147kW at 3000rpm and 470Nm from 1750 to 2500rpm.
Fuel consumption sits between 8,4 and 8,9 litre per 100km for 4×2 models and 8,9 to 9,2 litre per 100km on 4x4s.
A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic can be paired with either engine, depending on model.
Braking is via ventilated front disc brakes backed up by rear drums on all variants.