Mazda Pickups Are Still a Thing, And the New One Has a Diesel Engine With a Six-Speed
It doesn't look half-bad, either.
Remember the Ford Ranger-based Mazda B-Series pickup? The one we got in the States from '94 to '09? Well, this is far, far better than that. It's the new Mazda BT-50, built atop the venerable Isuzu D-Max platform sold elsewhere in the world, like Australia. Mazda unveiled it Wednesday to a sea of midsize pickup faithful and it's got the rap sheet of a truly awesome machine—a turbodiesel engine, four-wheel-drive, and a manual gearbox. Yup, that's pretty nice.
For those of us in North America, it's odd to see Mazda's Kodo design language applied to a truck. That said, it's particularly handsome, from the CX-9-esque front grille to its nicely proportioned profile. It really does give off a refined vibe that we've come to expect from Mazda, a theme that carries on to the cabin.
If you've ridden in any modern Mazda sedan or crossover, the BT-50's interior will look familiar...except the steering wheel is on the right. It actually shares its 9.0-inch touchscreen with the D-Max, as well as its climate control layout, though the rest of the interior is distinctly Mazda. Upon launch, it's available strictly in crew-cab form with upscale appointments like available aerated leather seats—a bare-bones truck, this is not.
In years past, the BT-50 was actually based on the global market Ford Ranger like the B-Series we talked about earlier. Now that it's changed over to an Isuzu platform, though, it'll pack a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine under the hood. That compression-ignition lump produces 188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, which can be sent to the rear or all four wheels depending on how you spec it. An automatic gearbox is available, though if you want a truly unique experience, you'll buy one with a six-speed stick.
Mazda hasn't announced how much the BT-50 will cost yet, but that doesn't really matter for those of us who live some 9,000 miles away from the Gold Coast. We do know it'll be built in Thailand alongside its Isuzu platform-mate, and it'll likely be available throughout Oceania. Just don't expect to buy one in Chicago.
For that, you'll need smoke, mirrors, and maybe even a fudged title. We don't recommend it.
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