That means potential buyers who like the ride have the option of cross-shopping, though it’s worth noting the Mazda and Isuzu do have unique front-end designs, so the styling will probably dictate which dealership you head into.
The Mazda is also perceived as a capable lifestyle vehicle against Isuzu’s traditional reputation as a reliable workhorse.
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How much does the Mazda BT-50 cost?
Providing you can provide an ABN, the Mazda BT-50 XS enjoys a starting price of $39,490 driveway for the single-cab rear-wheel drive version with a standard tray. A dual-cab ute is $44,990 on the road and the four-wheel drive ute sees the price grow to $52,490 in your driveway.
All XS variants are powered by a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Being the base version, the XS misses out on niceties such as inbuilt satellite navigation, alloy wheels, heated seats and dual zone air-conditioning buyers will find in the more expensive versions.
Given the ABN-only factory driveway pricing it is no surprise the XS versions are aimed at business operators who need the carrying capacity but don’t need the extra running costs of the 3.0-litre turbodiesel found in all the other variants.
Those variants now include the SP version, which slides into the line-up under the Thunder as the second most-expensive BT-50. Priced at $63,990 driveaway with a six-speed manual gearbox or $66,990 for the six-speed auto, the SP can be identified by the black and tan leather seat trims, black side mirrors and door handles and black grille. A manually operated roller tonneau cover is standard, as are side steps and a sports bar.
Service intervals are 12 months/15,000km. On a dual cab 4x2 XS ute the first five services will cost $2005. The SP 4x4 variant will see owners pay $2294 with an auto transmission vehicle and $2357 if they’re driving the manual.
How safe is the Mazda BT-50?
The BT-50 hasn’t been crash-tested and probably won’t be.
ANCAP doesn’t see the need, having satisfied itself the Isuzu D-Max ratings also apply to its sibling (apart from the top-of-the-line Mazda BT-50 Thunder version, which is unrated).
That means the BT-50 is a five-star vehicle. The only criticism ANCAP had of the crash-tests related to the frontal offset crash (known as the MPDB test, where a 1400kg trolley impact the driver’s side of the test vehicle while both are travelling at 50km/h)
ANCAP noted “The MPDB test provides an insight into vehicle compatibility (the risk presented to other vehicles in a frontal crash). The front structure of the Mazda BT-50 presented a higher risk to the occupants of an oncoming vehicle in this test, and the maximum four-point penalty was applied”.
The impact to the driver’s chest and upper legs was also assessed as “marginal” in this test.
Overall, the BT-50 scored 83 per cent for adult occupant protection and 89 per cent for child protection, though the safety body recommends against installing child restraints in the single and freestyle cab variants because of the lack of top tether anchorages (dual-cab versions have top tethers in the outboard seats).
The vulnerable road user rating was 67 per cent, with the autonomous emergency braking’s ability to detect cyclists rated as “marginal” and ANCAP noting the AEB system is not designed to detect pedestrians when the vehicle is reversing.
Safety assist features earned the Mazda ute an 84 per cent rating. Unlike some manufacturers, Mazda shoves every bit of safety technology into all versions, with the XS even enjoying adaptive cruise control.
What's it like inside the Mazda BT-50?
Mazda is sitting at the pointy end of the ute field for now (pending the arrival of the Ranger/Amarok) in terms of cabin quality.
The touchscreen infotainment display comes in seven or nine-inch sizes depending on the version and the screen is legible in all light levels.
The cloth seat trim on the base XS looks upmarket and the seats themselves are reasonably supportive.
Visible plastics are well contoured and textured and the door pockets will take drink bottles up to 1.5 litres.
Poke the headlining where it meets the doors and there is noticeable give, but you have to be a pedantic car tester to start poking in those types of places.
The steering wheel adjusts for reach and height and the driver’s display is easy to decipher at a glance.