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2018 Mazda BT-50 GT 4×4 Long-Term Review – Update

Can the Mazda BT-50 GT 4×4 be a style master in town and a track warrior in the bush? We aim to find out.

What are we testing? The 2018 Mazda BT-50 GT 4×4 Dual-Cab

Who’s running it? Isaac Bober

Why are we testing it? To find out if the BT-50 is the best real-world dual-cab 4×4…

What it needs to do? While we’ve got the BT-50 we want to find out if it really can do it all, from the school run to the supermarket shop, to highway runs, towing and off-roading.

2018 Mazda BT-50 GT 4×4 Dual-Cab Specifications

Price From $56,990+ORC Warranty five years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 15,000km/12 months (capped price servicing ranges from $431-$502) Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel Power 147kW at 3000rpm Torque 470Nm from 1750-2500rpm Transmission six-speed automatic (as tested) Drive 4×2; 4x4H; 4x4L Dimensions 5365mm (long) 1850mm (wide) 1821mm (high) 3220mm (wheelbase) Angles 28.2-degrees (approach) 26.4-degrees (departure) 25.0-degrees (ramp over) Ground Clearance 237mm (claimed) Wading Depth 800mm Weight 2147kg Towing 3500kg maximum braked GVM 3200kg GCM 6000kg Fuel Tank 80L Spare full-size steel underslung Thirst 10.0L/100km (claimed combined)

Is there still anyone out there that thinks there foot and the brake pedal, or even a lower gear in low-range is superior to a ‘good’ hill descent control system? I hope not.

Earlier this week I went out bush the BT-50 to finally shoot my video review of it and found a nice steep hill to drive down. I thought, yep, perfect opportunity to put that old chestnut to the test. So I inched up to the top of the hill and peered down…I’d have slipped a#se over if I’d tried to walk down it.

In 4L I let the car inch over the lip of the hill and let it crawl down. It crawled at first but then started to build momentum a little too quickly. I touched the brakes and then released. I manually selected first gear but the thing revved and carried on. Slipped and bumped. I just couldn’t control the descent. Well, not enough.

I turned around at the bottom of the hill and drove back up. Easy as. Like the Ford Ranger, the BT-50 is very capable, straight out of the box, when the going gets rough. You’ll see that in our upcoming video review and then you’ll be able to compare it with the Trailblazer that drove across one of the same obstacles with less composure… And it was in low-range. The BT-50 was in high-range 4×4. Moving on.

With Hill Descent Control engaged I took my foot away from the pedals and hovered my thumb over the cruise control ‘+’ and ‘-‘ as this is how you control the speed. The car inched forward and you could hear the traction control grinding and graunching but I could reduce the speed to a snail’s pace and the BT-50 never slipped or bumped once. It rode the terrain beautifully maintaining traction the whole way down.

Sure, not all Hill Descent Controls are equal but the one int he BT-50 is a ripper. It’s one of my favourite bits of the car. Yeah, I’m pretty sad. 


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.