Despite being virtually identical — apart from the front-end design, badges and spec — to the Ford Ranger, and built in the same Thai factory, the BT-50 went on sale in the UK some months after its brother in Autumn 2006.
Much beefier looking than the B2500 it replaces, the BT-50 is powered by a 2.5-litre common rail turbodiesel and produces maximum power of 143hp. The more important figure, however, is 330Nm of peak torque at 1,800rpm and it is this which endows BT-50 with its tractability. The only real downside is that oil changes are required every 12,500 miles.The steering is power assisted and ABS is standard across the range; which is not as comprehensive as that offered by Ford.
Mazda has decided not to import the Super Cab with the second row of occasional seats.This leaves the BT-50 line-up as a 4x2 or 4x4 Single Cab and 4x4 Double Cab with the latter available with two levels of specification; TS and TS2.Equipment in the Single Cab 4x2 is pretty basic, but at least it has driver and passenger air bags, central locking and radio/CD player. The 4x4 gains electric windows and mirrors, as well as climate control air conditioning and a limited slip rear differential. Move up to the Double Cab and TS trim brings with it ABS, an alarm, front side airbags, remote keyless entry and various colour-coded exterior features.TS2 adds front fog lamps, alloywheels, some exterior chrome fittings and a side step bar.
The Single Cab’s load bed is 2,280mm long, reducing to 1,530mm for the Double Cab. All BT-50 load beds have a maximum width of 1,456mm and a sidewall height of 457mm. Mazda provides a three-year/60,000 mile mechanical warranty.
The BT-50 is a much more substantial piece of kit than its predecessor and the new engine is a vast improvement.