Bermaz Motor, exclusive Malaysian distributor for Mazda vehicles in Malaysia, has revealed details on their foray into the dual-cab pickup truck market with the 3rd-generation BT-50 at the Carlist.my’s 2021 Virtual Drive Auto Fair.
Two variants will be offered starting with the baseline 1.9D High AT at a decently competitive RM124,179 and capping off with the 3.0 High Plus AT with an on-the-road price of RM143,218 before insurance. The former gets a 1.9-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder with 150PS and 350Nm while the latter gains a 3.0-litre VGS turbodiesel engine outputting a beefier 190PS and 450Nm. Both motors are mated to a 6-speed automatic sourced from Aisin and distributed to all four (4x4) wheels.
If that package sounds familiar, that’s due to the fact that the BT-50 is essentially a badge-engineered 3rd-generation Isuzu D-Max, sharing both its body-on-frame Isuzu Dynamic Drive Platform and its duo of engines: the 1.9L RZ4E-TC GEN2 and 3.0L 4JJ3-TCX plus drivelines, respectively.
Previously, the BT-50 had a similar relationship with the Ford Ranger due to Ford taking a majority stake in a financially stricken Mazda in the mid-1990s, eventually leading to the creation of the first-generation truck. Of course, after both companies parted ways in 2008, the BT-50’s fate hung in the balance, finding firm footing again with the partnership with Isuzu.
In fact, each 3rd-generation BT-50 is built alongside the 3rd-generation Isuzu D-Max in Samut Prakan, Thailand before being exported to their respective receiving markets. For Malaysia, Mazda’s pricing makes it only slightly pricier than the Isuzu in its range-topping 3.0L X-Terrain guise, which slots in at RM141,938.
Naturally, being a Mazda product, the exterior has been given a thorough makeover to feature the brand’s staple KODO design. In particular, the 3.0L High Plus looks very similar in trim level to the BT-50 Dual Cab 4X4 GT sold in Australia, which continues to be the model’s most successful market.
It is equipped with 17-inch alloys on the 1.9 and a set of 18-inchers on the 3.0. Also reserved for the rang-topper is leather upholstery and a full gamut of active safety features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Zone Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping Assistance, and even Adaptive Cruise Control that uses twin-cameras instead of a radar sensor at the nose (to allow for aftermarket off-road accessories to be fitted).
The 1.9, however, isn't totally left out, receiving Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert in consolation. Also interesting is that the entry-level variant boasting a maximum rated payload of 870kg where the more powerful 3.0 only manages 790kg.
With the BT-50 now on the battlefield, the already heated competition in the pickup truck market will only get more fierce with recent arrivals from Mitsubishi in the Triton Athlete (RM141,500) and the Nissan Navara Pro-4X (RM142,200) - all fighting for the same title of premium pickup champion.
Meanwhile, Ford has also recently revealed their next-gen Ranger, including its Wildtrak form, which could make local landfall sometime in 2022.