Mazda's new BT-50 might be the prettiest pickup truck on road or trail
Mazda launched the all-new BT-50 this week and immediately got heads turning around the truck world. It switches platforms from the Ford Ranger to the Isuzu D-Max, and in so doing injects some serious in-house design flair. It massages the rough edges away with the entrancing looks of Kodo design language, creating a pickup that looks nearly as sleek and sexy up front as a sports sedan. Call it the antithesis of the Tesla Cybertruck.
No one would accuse the Isuzu D-Max of being the most attractive pickup truck in the world (or near-empty parking lot), and yet Mazda takes that very truck and gives it the effortlessly smooth looks for which it's known. That may or may not be a good thing depending on your truck preferences, and the first BT-50 owners are almost sure to take a ribbing over their purty, crossover-faced truck the first time they pull into the job site. But those doing the ribbing will likely be boiling with envy inside, especially if they happen to be driving a D-Max home.
Mazda's design team creates an interesting juxtaposition of brutish strength at the rear with much softer Kodo treatment up front. It replaces the brash, angry D-Max face with a friendlier face reminiscent of its crossover lineup. The large shield grille stretches out across the front-end, its thick metallic surround extending out to underscore the sleek, sculpted headlamps.
Mazda adds some truck-like strength by planting the grille firmly atop a strong, level foundation – a bulging bar of a bumper capped at the ends by vertical lamps carved into the bodywork. The hood has extra definition owing to the creases that sweep out toward the side-view mirrors.
Out back, Mazda lets the strength and utility of the pickup speak for itself with strong, straight edges and character lines, robust rear fenders and oversized wraparound taillights.
Mazda relies on Isuzu's 3.0-liter diesel engine for 188 hp and 332 lb-ft and will have 4x4 on offer. The BT-50 tows up to 3,500 kg (7,716 lb) and handles 1,065 kg (2,348 lb) in payload. The upgraded driver-assistance suite brings new standard tech, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
Inside, the new BT-50 carries a car-like cabin with supportive, wraparound front seats, soft-touch materials, and a touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new telescopic steering column offers more personalized adjustment of steering position.
The new BT-50 will launch in Australia during the second half of 2020. There's currently no word on pricing.