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2018 Mazda BT-50 Long-Term Test – Week 1

It’s an also-ran in the sales charts but is the recently refreshed 2018 Mazda BT-50 not only the best one yet, but is it one of the best dual-cab 4x4s on the market?

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

What’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 two-years, 100,000km (although, if you don’t hit 100,000km in the first two years, your warranty will be pushed to three years) 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 (rampover) 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)

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Week 1: 10 August, 2018

Only picked up the BT-50 yesterday putting a touch over 100km onto the ODO on the drive back from the Big Smoke to the Mountains. Recently refreshed with a new-look snout, designed here in Oz (indeed, the new look nose is just for Australia) I’m a fan of the BT-50’s looks. Gone is the silly grinning grille, although our long-termer’s face is largely hidden behind a bulbar and driving lights.

A bit of background, the BT-50 is available as either a Single Cab, Freestyle Cab and Dual Cab and in both 4×2 and 4×4 with the model grades being XT, XTR and GT. There are two diesel engines to choose from, although the 4×4 range is only available with the Ford 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel.

Our long-termer is a top-spec BT-50 GT 4×4 with a handful of extra cost option, including black steel bulbar ($2541.01), Lightforce driving lights ($827.12), Canopy ($3743.41) and towing kit consisting of towbar ($656.58), wiring harness ($335.45), and electric brake controller ($630.86). There are also black tubular side steps ($692.32) and black alloys ($357.74). It’s worth mentioning the fit and finish of the accessories was excellent, especially the incorporation of switch gear for the driving lights and brake controller.

The drive home yesterday in the BT-50 was along the highway and for the first part in cut-and-thrust Sydney traffic before it became a gridlocked crawl. The BT-50 is a big beastie but there’s good vision right around, the steering is easy and the throttle response is nice and progressive (and so are the brakes). This made it easy to creep along in traffic.

Once the traffic eased and I could work up to the speed limit, the BT-50 was just as comfortable as it had been crawling along in traffic. There’s plenty of grunt (470Nm of torque) and the transmission is as slick as some eight-speed units I’ve tested. You can definitely hear the engine working but, to my ears, the sound’s a pleasant one…I like to hear a bit of diesel clatter in a vehicle like this one.

Next week, I’ll write about the BT-50’s Alpine infotainment unit…the BT-50 is the first Mazda to get Apple CarPlay connectivity. Stay tuned. Also, the updates will be posted as separate articles but all will be cross-linked.


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.