Mazda BT-50 - 8 top selling utes

By: Fraser Stronach , Photography by: Ellen Dewar

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The Mazda BT-50 shares the Ford Ranger’s parentage but not its success

The Mazda BT-50
BT-50 sales are slightly down on this time last year
4x4s for sale

Mazda’s BT-50 is the third vehicle in the best-selling 4WD utes to suffer a sales decline in the first six months of 2018 compared with the same time last year. Mind you it’s only dropped by 1.3 per cent year-on-year but due to better sales of others the BT-50 now only scrapes into the top eight by around 150 units in front of the steadily-improving Volkswagen’s Amarok.

In what as been a booming ute market over the past decade, the BT-50s sales have remained pretty constant since it first arrived in late 2011. In its first full year of sales in 2012, 8,279 BT-50 4WDs were sold while last year 8,900 BT-50 4WDs were sold.

It’s hard to believe how poorly the Mazda BT-50 sells in comparison to the Ford Ranger given they are – in essence – the same ute. Over four Rangers are currently sold for every one Mazda BT-50 and while the Ranger offers some notable technical advantages adopted for the 2016 model year, the BT-50 is generally cheaper.

In Mazda’s defence the company is probably more concerned with its small passenger cars and SUVs, which are its big sellers, where for Ford the Ranger is the main game. In overall new-car sales, Mazda is also well ahead of Ford.

In most ways the BT-50 drives much like the Ranger. For starters its 3.2-litre five-cylinder engine retains the same torquey, low-revving, smooth running and agreeable character even if it’s not as quiet or as responsive as the Ranger’s.

The BT-50's interior

The BT-50 also doesn’t have the Ranger’s electric power steering, which makes for the Ranger’s easier low-speed manoeuvring, although others will argue that the Mazda’s ‘old-school’ hydraulic system is potentially more robust.

Off road the BT-50 is a good thing although a notch down from the Ranger due to another 2016-model upgrade the Ford received – leaving the front traction control active when the rear locker is engaged – which Mazda did not adopt.

Otherwise everything that is likable about the Ranger, including a spacious cabin and excellent towing and load-carrying ability, is essentially true of the BT-50.

 

Sales

2018 sales (to June 30th): 4,683

2017 sales (to June 30th): 4,746

Change: Down 1.3%

 

Report Card*

Engine and gearbox: C

Handing and ride: B

Cabin and equipment: B

Load and tow: B

Off-road: B

Comment: Essentially a Ford Ranger wearing another badge but not as good in the detail.

*Scored against class competitors. A = Excellent; B = Very Good; C = Good; D = Fair; E = Poor; F = Fail.


Specs
 

Mazda BT-50 XTR:

Engine                                               3.2-litre 5-cyl turbo diesel

Max Power/Torque                              147kW/470Nm

Gearbox                                             six-speed automatic

4X4 System                                                 dual-range part-time

Kerb Weight                                              2,118kg

Towing capacity                                             3,500kg

GCM                                                                   6,000kg

Fuel tank capacity                              80 litres

ADR fuel claim                                              9.2 litres/100km


2018 mega ute shootout results

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