The Mazda BT-50 was never an obvious choice for bakkie buyers, mostly because the Japanese brand went for bizarre designs to distinguish their product. So, did they learn their lesson with this all-new 2021 model?
Thankfully, they didn’t. This BT50 may be a brand-new product, but the comparably tiny Japanese manufacturer simply doesn’t have the capacity to build a range of pick-ups out of the ground. Instead, the first two generations of this commercial vehicle were leaning heavily on the basis of blue oval Americans.
This third-gen range (internally named TF) has jumped ship to Isuzu, so it’s based on the third-gen D-Max platform; and assembled at the Isuzu factory in Thailand. That also goes for the drive trains which include a 1.9L turbo-diesel 4-cylinder (110kW/350Nm) or a 3L turbo-diesel 4-pot with 140kW or 450Nm.
Depending on engine and spec level, buyers also get the choice between a 6-speed manual (1.9 only) or 6-speed automatic gearbox. Four-wheel drive is reserved for the top model 3L automatic but some lesser 4×2 models benefit from the inclusion of a locking rear differential.
This demonstrates that Mazda is clearly aiming for the leisure and lifestyle market, rather than hard-core cross-axling enthusiasts. Some Namibians may frown upon this philosophy but the majority of us can easily live with a 4×2 bakkie for most of the year; because we spend a lot of time on tarmac or good dirt roads.
There are plenty of worthy contenders for this plush job so Mazda loaded this new D/C with their main ingredient: stylish design. The front grill, those headlights, even the alloy wheels and tail light clusters all have a finesse and level of detail in them that other bakkies simply don’t have. And probably never will.
Inside this suave beast, the sensation is even greater because there are car-like design elements and proper luxury touches adorning the cabin. VW’s Amarok had a car-like interior but it’s getting on in years, and while Ford or Nissan/Mercedes tried their best, hard textures and clumsy designs gave their game away.
We’ll immediately admit that soft panels and smooth curves aren’t exactly welcome in a workhorse double cab, but encourage you to think about family and friends who bomb around our villages, towns and cities in rustic and rattling old double cabs.
If your bakkie doesn’t perform hard or dirty work, why not upgrade to something softer, more stylish?
To get all the amazing details of this newcomer, and experience its finesse yourself, we highly recommend that you visit the nearest Mazda dealership. But just before we sign off, here are just a few highlights of the new #MazdaBT50: three trim levels (Active, Dynamic or Individual) with escalating safety, luxury and convenience features.
Some of these include 7 airbags (seven!), cruise control, remote keyless entry, ISOFIX child seat anchors, LED lights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, power windows, various driver aids including hill assist, trailer assist and roll mitigation, as well as rear parking sensors and a reverse camera.
Spend a bit more and you get bigger alloys, a beefier engine, more speakers, a larger media screen, climate control, front parking sensors, auto folding mirrors, auto wipers, leather trim items and some shiny chrome bits. In a bakkie! Honestly, this is a seriously attractive package considering the following prices:
- 1.9TD D/C Active R611 900
- 1.9TD D/C Active Auto R647 900
- 3.0TD D/C Dynamic R759 400
- 3.0TD D/C 4×4 Individual R794 400
At the time of going to press, Namibian supply or specifications could not be confirmed. According to the official press release, the new Mazda BT50 comes with a 3-year warranty and service plan, and is available in six colours: Ice White, Ignot Silver, Concrete Grey, Rock Grey, Gun Blue and Red Volcano.