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Video Walkaround: New Mazda BT-50 ute

Mazda unveils its ute, and here’s our first walkaround with the real thing.

Mazda has finally lifted the sheets on its new Mazda BT-50 ute which will go on sale in Australia later this year.

We were allowed to take a sneak peek on the model earlier this month, ahead of its official unveiling, but couldn’t drive it.

The second-generation follow-up to the original BT-50 which was based on and built in the same factory as the Ford Ranger, this new generation ute is now developed in conjunction with Isuzu.

Isuzu led development on the ladder-frame platform and architecture for this new generation Mazda BT-50 adjacent to its new-generation D-Max. However, as we can clearly see, Mazda has penned its own unique styling on the BT-50. And this time around for Mazda, with its new partner company being located in Japan as well, it is understood that the pace of development was concise and efficient.

Upfront is a much flatter, blockier appearance that will appeal more than the previous generation ute ever did. For that model, Mazda attempted to design a ute that looked like a passenger car at the front, whereas this new model brings inspiration from the large CX-9 SUV and still standing unique.

Certainly, in the metal, it looks like a much more modern ute with some stand out features.

Mazda says that inspiration for the new ute is “fused its attractive Kodo design language with the bold, muscular proportions a ute demands, to convey a sense of toughness and powerful movement, even standing still.” The subtle bonnet bulges and creases along the sides work well with the Kodo language.

Inside is a further step ahead, with a tech-laden cabin featuring a large 9.0-inch infotainment system in the centre with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7.0-inch digital screen in the driver’s cluster, and plenty of comfort features.

Seats are wrapped in soft leather in top-spec grades, with soft-touch materials across the dash and on the door trims. The seats upfront are spacious with a great amount of adjustment and the steering is tilt and reach adjustable. We found that the new BT-50 has one of the best front seat positions in the segment.

The rear bench also shares a great amount of legroom and headroom, even with the front seat in a normal six-foot position. The outer pews are Isofix compatible with baby seats with an inbuilt anchor system, so you don’t need to install anchors into the roof. In the middle are air vents, along with some pockets and storage.

The quality of the materials is top-notch and feels much like a top-spec Mazda SUV, blending comfort, practicality and some hard-wearing trims together well. The infotainment is much nicer too, and the large surface area will make touch input easier. For storage upfront, the centre console offers reasonable depth and there are two gloveboxes on offer. The door pockets are fairly deep as well.

Around back the tray is large, though with undisclosed dimensions; we’re waiting on that spec. It looks big enough for a standard pallet but there’s no 12volt plug or work light. Mazda tells us that there should be plenty of accessories available (over 100, even), though yet to be officially confirmed.

Other technology under the skin includes cameras and sensors for advanced driver safety systems including Adaptive Cruise Control, Auto Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The big step in advanced safety technology should give Mazda Australia confidence that the model will achieve a five-star ANCAP rating when tested.

Options for the ute – shown here in dual-cab format – include 17 to 19-inch alloys, and Concrete Grey Mica, Red Volcano Mica, Gunblue Mica, True Black Mica, Ingot Silver Metallic, Rock Grey Mica and Ice White paint colours.

We didn’t drive the ute as the model was a production prototype, but it packs the same engine as the new D-Max, a 3.0-litre diesel turbo producing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. Both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will be available, with hill descent control and rear differential lock. Driveline options include 4×4 and 4×2 – it is not confirmed if the system will be part-time 4×4 though we doubt it – with low and high gear for off-roading. Mazda can’t disclose its fuel economy figures yet, but says the lighter ute and ‘more frugal engine’ will make significant fuel consumption savings over the old model – that could mean a potential combined claim in the 6-liters per 100km range.

Braked towing capacity is 3500kg, and the payload is 1000kg.

Mazda Australia Managing Director Vinesh Bhindi was excited to deliver a new model ute into Australia’s most popular segment.

“Brand-New Mazda BT-50 will bring unrivalled design, comfort and capability to the popular ute segment, raising the bar for what these customers can expect from their ute,” said Mr. Bhindi.

“A more rugged, muscular application of Mazda’s successful Kodo design gives Brand-New Mazda BT-50 unmistakable road presence, while the high-tech safety features provide drivers and fleet manager with peace of mind.

“Ownership experience remains key to Mazda customers and Brand-New Mazda BT-50 will take it a step further with a long list of accessories and customer programs to launch as we get closer to going on sale later in the year.”

No pricing or exact specifications have yet been released, however, Mazda is encouraging interested buyers to register interest ahead of its on-sale later this year.

Our initial impression is that this new ute is far more sophisticated and nicer to look at before, and the interior is light years ahead. We look forward to bringing you a comprehensive test drive as soon as we can hop in and drive.

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