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DRIVEN - THE #MAZDA #BT-50 DOUBLE CAB 3.2L 4X4 SLE
|Date: 08 Jun 2017
||Author Type: Public Review
|Author: Julian Lurie
|Source: Julian Lurie
Whereas most pick-ups and double cabs are boxy, with perhaps a few rounded corners, it is refreshing to see that the new redesigned Mazda BT-50 has put some style into the segment, giving a sportier and more powerful presence than before. The derivative we feature in these road impressions is the Mazda BT-50 Double Cab 3.2L 4x4 6AT SLE
Looked at from the front, the new 2017 Mazda BT 50 can be recognised by its newly designed front face, it’s tough looking bulbar and front fog lamps. Viewed from the sides, the sporty 5-hole aluminum wheels, which on the press vehicle were shod with Dunlop 265/65R17 All- Terrain tyres, contribute to the high ground clearance. Getting in and out however, is made easy by the side steps, grab handles mounted low on the “A” pillar and another four grab-handles above the side windows.
The KODO design inspired Mazda BT-50 was first introduced to the South African market in 2012. It was launched as an “Active Lifestyle Vehicle” with modern and refined styling that defied the conventional work-horse image of a bakkie. The new BT50 is sourced from Thailand Recently I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with the new BT-50 when I spent an enjoyable few days with the Double Cab 3.2 litre 4x4 6-speed automatic, with the Drifter package, on test.
At the rear, just behind the cab window, is a substantial cab protector bar, a black rear bumper with a built in step with a tow-hitch below, while the unique horizontally-aligned rear combination lamps are quite sporty in design. The load-box is volume is more than generous, and a tonneau cover available as an option.
The interior has also been refined to give a higher-quality feel with the addition of Bluetooth, Steering wheel switches, cruise control, a rear-view camera incorporated into the auto diming interior mirror and electric driver seat adjustment and “hill launch assist.”
The new Mazda BT50 3.2L DE SLE comes standard with a full house of luxury and convenience features which includes leather seats, leather gear lever, dual zone automatic air conditioning, Integrated Audio system, tailgate lock, electric adjustable mirrors, auto on/off headlamps, rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, electrical driver lumbar support which all adds up to a high-quality and well-designed interior.
The front seats, long in the squab and generously proportioned are comfortable on road and off road, and combined with generous head- and shoulder room, proved to be comfortable, and not at all tiring on the long runs.
The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable, but surprisingly, the steering column can only be adjusted for rake and not for reach. The rear bench seat will comfortably accommodate three adults and there are three headrests.
Space in the rear of the double cab is also much improved and three adults are comfortably accommodated on the wide bench seat. For the storage of oddments, there are four door pockets, two beverage holders, a sunglass holder a lidded box between the front seats, and a smallish cubby.
The Mazda BT-50 incorporates all the safety features you would expect in a fully-loaded passenger vehicle. Active safety begins with good all-round visibility and operability, excellent braking performance, and a full range of vehicle control technologies. Passive safety features include six airbags, shock-absorbing steering column and crushable brake pedal to protect the driver.
It has all the electronic driver aids including an electronic locking diff, ABS backed up by Dynamic Stability Control, Load Adaptive Control, Hill Launch Assist, Trailer Sway Assist, Traction Control and Roll Over Mitigation.
The Mazda BT50 3.2L de SLE 4x4 six speed automatic is powered by a 5-cylinder turbo-charged multi-valve diesel engine, built locally by Ford. It pushes out a healthy 147 kW at 3 000 rpm and max torque of 470 Nm from 1 750-2 500 rpm and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual override. Mazda claim a fuel consumption figure for the auto of just 9.7Lt/100 km, but the trip recorder on the press vehicle gave me a figure of 11.2 km/lt.
In performance tests, holding the gear till the 4 400 rpm red line before changing up to the next, it it did the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in a reasonable 12.8 seconds after two gear changes and, has a top speed of around 180 km/h.
Driving the Mazda BT-50 4x4 is quite a pleasure as despite its size, the steering is well weighted, the turning radius good, and with the rear parking sensors, it’s fairly easy to handle in confined spaces.