The 'Year of the Ute' has just received another entrant with Mazda Australia taking the covers off the updated 2015 Mazda BT-50 in country Victoria this week.
The updated Mazda BT-50 has a minor redesign at the front and rear end and has also received updated wheels and connectivity.
With the dual cab ute becoming one the biggest segments in Australia, Mazda have attempted to re-style and refresh the polarising Mazda BT-50 with a re-design of the front and rear end.
Mazda BT-50 Overview
The Mazda BT-50 is just one rung down on the ladder from the range topping Mazda BT-50 GT.
The Mazda BT-50 XTR is the best selling BT-50 in the range with it offering the perfect balance between standard features and price. CarShowroom.com.au drove the 2015 Mazda BT-50 4x4 Dual Cab with automatic transmission priced at $51,700
The list of standard features exclusive to 2015 Mazda BT-50 XTR include a 7.8-inch high definition screen and Sat, rear view camera, tubular side steps, auto dimming mirrors, rain sensing wipers and auto on/off headlamps.
The BT-50 XTR also features cruise control, Bluetooth with phone and audio, multifunction steering wheel and USB and AUX inputs.
Click the following link to see the full Mazda BT-50 Price and Features
Mazda BT-50 Engine
No changes to the engine line-up for the refresh of the 2015 Mazda BT-50.
CarShowroom.com.au had the opportunity to sample the 3.2-litre in-line five-cylinder turbo-diesel that produces 147kW of power at 3,000rpm and peak torque of 470Nm from 1,750-2,500rpm. We sampled the engine with both the 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions.
The engine has a claimed fuel economy of 9.2l/100kms, on our run from Melbourne airport to Blackwood via Mt Macedon we achieved 9.3l/100km.
The five-cylinder engine from Mazda runs an alloy cylinder head and common-rail high-pressure direct injection.
Off road the engine performed flawless with the flat torque curve not delivering any surprises as we bounced down narrow tracks in the Wombat state forest.
Mazda BT-50 Interior
Unlike the interiors of their passenger cars the interior on the BT-50 XTR is more practical than stylish flare that we have come to expect from Mazda - which is how most people who buy a ute would want it.
A lot of the interior is shared from the Ford Ranger (this isn’t a bad thing). Inside you will find plenty of room for five adult passengers. The driving position is up high and gives a great view of the road, however the steering wheel only adjusts for rake not reach.
As tested the Mazda BT-50 comes with hard wearing cloth trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear-lever, sat nav and dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning amongst its list of standard features.
Mazda BT-50 Exterior & Styling
The Mazda BT-50 XTR Dual Cab is no shrinking violet measuring in at 5,,365mm length, 1,850mm width and 1,821mm height. The XTR model Dual Cab provided a rear tub 1,549mm in length 1,560 wide and 513mm high.
Most of the exterior changes have been made to the front grille and rear taillights to give a sportier look. Besides the two changes little else has been modified
Mazda Australia worked closely with their Japanese counterparts to get the front of the car pointing towards the ground instead of up in the air. The downwards-pointed grille does improve the look.
The updated 17-inch alloy wheels help give a tough looking appearance to the 2015 Mazda BT-50.
Mazda BT-50 On the Road
With 2015 being the year of the ute the competition have started to catch-up and even over take the BT-50 for its refinement on the road. However the Mazda BT-50 is still one of the best on class when it comes to on road dynamics.
The automatic transmission is refined unit with smooth shifts between gears and is never found wandering between gears.
At low speed the engine noise a little on the loud side but still adequate. Once you get on to the freeway the engine noise almost disappears completely and the cabin is a relaxing place to be.
Mazda’s rack-and-pinion steering system offers a decent amount of feedback to the drive for a ute and works just as well in tight urban environments as it does on the open road.
Stick the right foot down and the rear end has habit of being lively when the rear tub is empty. The flip side of this is that once fully laden the Mazda BT-50 wont be stuck getting of the line.
Mazda BT-50 Issues
Whilst the styling has been addressed to some degree the new look will still be as polarising as the previous model.
It was also a shame to see that we still have no reach adjustment on the steering wheel with the wheel only being adjustable for rake.
Mazda BT-50 Verdict
Mazda Australia should be commnended for jumping on the front foot to help fix some issues with the styling and lack of connectivity, hopefully this should reward them with an increase in sales.
The new styling is only minor but it does make the BT-50 look better than the previous model. The new wheels that have been added to the range also make the BT-50 look better.
The connectivity upgrades and standard reversing camera on the BT-50 XTR brings the ute up to its competitors but does little to over take them.
Mazda BT-50 Competition
2015 has been the year of the ute with all major players updating their range. We have seen Mitsubishi and Nissan deliver all-new models.
The Ford Rangrer which shares the same underpinnings as the BT-50 was also updated last month, with a major focus on family motoring for the range topping Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
This week Toyota also released the all-new Toyota Hilux that has been ten years in the making.