- mazda's next-gen bt-50 pickup, based on the isuzu d-max, was unveiled late this week in australia.
- the kodo design language, new powertrain, and isuzu underpinnings add up to a winner.
- sadly, it's a winner that's not scheduled to reach the u.s. market.
after nine years, mazda has finally given its bt-50 pickup truck a full overhaul for its third generation, using the isuzu d-max as its starting point. it was unveiled via live stream by mazda australia late last week. this is the first time that mazda has adapted its kodo design language to a product with a more rugged, utilitarian focus. with the incorporation of smooth-edged sheetmetal and a face that pulls inspiration from mazda's crossover stalwarts the cx-5 and cx-9, it's a winning combination, if you ask us.
though not to detract from the luxe looks of the new bt-50, the greatest change comes in the form of its underpinnings. mazda has ditched its aging ford-based componentry for the new isuzu d-max platform. this also brings a new powertrain: the bt-50 will come to market with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-four as the only option, producing 188 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, and can be had with either two- or four-wheel-drive, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. according to mazda, the bt-50 will boast a towing capacity of 7716 pounds and max payload of 2348 pounds, numbers slightly better than those of the mid-size pickups that would compete with it in the u.s. such as the chevrolet colorado, ford ranger, and toyota tacoma.
the bt-50's interior is quintessential mazda and actually appears to be a better layout in some respects than other vehicles in the mazda lineup. the 9.0-inch touchscreen and climate controls shared with the isuzu d-max integrate nicely into the dash, unlike the knob-controlled non-touchscreen units found erupting from the dashboard in the rest of mazda's lineup. apart from that difference, the seats, steering wheel, door panels, and other materials look to be on par with the quality we've come to expect from mazda. prices and on-sale dates haven't yet been released, but that does nothing to quell our feeling of regret that, for now, the bt-50 will not be available on our shores.