For some individuals, there are few issues higher than modifying a brand new pickup by way of the aftermarket. It’s a vibrant, modern sector that goes from strength-to-strength.
However for others, an off-the-shelf providing is a greater match. One thing with extra functionality and luxury direct from the showroom ground, saving effort and time, and lined by a manufacturing facility guarantee when fitted from new.
Enter the BT-50 Thunder Professional which bolts on a claimed $9000 value of aftermarket extras together with Outdated Man Emu suspension, Lightforce LED driving lights and a snorkel.
It strains up towards the equally fettled Toyota HiLux GR Sport and Nissan Navara Professional-4X Warrior, whereas market chief Ford sells ARB equipment for the Ranger as a part of its personal monumental catalogue.
The BT-50’s mechanical twin and donor car, the Isuzu D-Max, shouldn’t be offered as a ready-to-go modified product like this Thunder Professional, however we should always level out the corporate’s equipment catalogue is prolonged.
How does the Mazda BT-50 fare vs its opponents?
View an in depth breakdown of the Mazda BT-50 towards equally sized automobiles.
The BT-50 Thunder Professional is predicated on the BT-50 which prices $73,945 earlier than on-road prices, or a bit over $75,000 drive-away on the time of writing. The Thunder Professional bundle provides $9046 on high of this.
Mazda BT-50 Thunder pricing:
- BT-50 Thunder 3.0: $73,945
- BT-50 Thunder Professional 3.0: $82,991
Costs earlier than on-road prices
To see how the Mazda BT-50 compares with its rivals, use our comparability instrument.
The BT-50’s inside has some nice attributes, not least its incredible seats with heaps of aspect and thigh bolstering, heating and powered changes for the motive force. They’re correct armchairs and best-in-class alongside the Isuzu model.
There are some small variations between this and the D-Max, by the best way. Specifically the trim color, steering wheel design, the form of the vents surrounding the touchscreen, and the knee padding on the centre tunnel.
On the Thunder Professional there are clear and easy audio controls and cruise management buttons on the steering wheel, which adjusts for rake and attain. The analogue dials flank a digital show with speedo and consumption readouts.
The wheel additionally has a button on the best spoke which, when pressed for 3 seconds, disengages the lane-keeping help system that re-activates every time the car is turned on.
The 9.0-inch centre touchscreen is now outclassed by the Ford Ranger’s enormous portrait-oriented show, wanting aftermarket and being comparatively sluggish to course of inputs.
Luckily it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a good sound system, and a brash native sat-nav system. I’d prefer to see a surround-view digital camera launched at replace time although.
A sequence of switches under deal with local weather controls, and under these sits a dial to have interaction 4H and 4Lo. Alongside the gear shifter are buttons to have interaction the locking rear diff, activate the seat heaters and use downhill help management.
There’s a good quantity of storage together with twin gloveboxes, nonetheless, Mazda’s designers unusually deleted the D-Max’s useful outboard cupholders mounted within the outer extremes of the sprint, and the closing cubby atop it.
There are some somewhat premium leather-based trims and padded touchpoints interspersed with way more hard-to-the-touch surfaces. Construct high quality is first rate, however there are some cheaper-feeling bits together with dust- and scratch-prone shiny black inserts.
The again seats are fantastically trimmed just like the fronts, and supply a pull-down centre armrest with cupholders, rear vents, and a USB. There may be adequate headroom and legroom for 2 adults (I’m 194cm and will get snug) in addition to the requisite child-seat attachment factors and aspect curtain airbags.
The bathtub comes with a strong, top quality liner and a powered roller-shutter tonneau cowl, which improves safety however reduces space for storing on the entrance of the tray.
The identical Isuzu 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel as the remainder of the BT-50 vary, producing 140kW of energy at 3600rpm and 450Nm of torque at 1600rpm, mated to a six-speed computerized with part-time 4×4.
Claimed gasoline consumption is 8.0L/100km which supplies a variety north of 900km from the 76L tank, however in actuality with the heavier add-ons, you’re unlikely to match this.
Mazda claims an equal-class-leading 3500kg towing capability, however not with a full payload. We returned a 0-100km/h time of 11.5 seconds.
To see how the Mazda BT-50 compares with its rivals, use our comparability instrument.
The brand new BP-51 nitrogen-filled inner bypass shocks are position-sensitive and permit you modify compression and rebound by hand. These ones are tailor-made for typical load weights as much as 300kg, aiding journey consolation and management.
Whereas ARB does its personal testing right here, Mazda Australia claims to have achieved its personal calibration for the BT-50 with the off-the-shelf equipment, so it’s ideally suited to the coil (entrance) and leaf (rear) springs.
The BT-50 already rides and handles comparatively effectively, controlling the rear finish over uneven surfaces and giving first rate bump absorption.
However the upgraded suspension makes it really feel smoother over corrugations and higher controls compression when bearing in mind the added mass.
In addition to providing glorious consolation and management over tough surfaces, the BT-50 has super-light electrical energy steering, making it fairly accessible.
I received’t go as far as to say the BT-50 Thunder Professional turns into some form of Ranger Raptor competitor, and it’s an costly improve, however the BP-51s have pedigree and make the Mazda a greater every day driver, towing car and off-roader.
The three.0-litre diesel doesn’t lead the phase in relation to refinement, though, it’s definitely not as coarse or clattery because the engines utilized in older-generation pickups.
Whereas its outputs of 140kW and 450Nm aren’t huge on paper, it’s definitely punchier by the seat of the pants than one rival with the identical on-paper outputs: the Nissan Navara.
In a number of exams we’ve discovered it a match for the two.8-litre Toyota HiLux with a VBox, if not Ford’s benchmark V6 Ranger, in relation to punch off the mark and rolling acceleration.
It by no means feels sluggish and can even chirp the rear tyres at instances when unladen.
Whereas the Aisin transmission solely has six gears, they’re well-spaced and the driveline creates good speed-retaining downhill engine-braking by dropping a cog with decisiveness.
It’s additionally very environment friendly. Over a couple of hundred kilometres of driving on each highways and over suburban roads it averaged 8.9L/100km, even with the heavier entrance bar.
The metal sports activities bar is generally for present, however stated metal entrance bar isn’t and the Lightforce LED driving lights can illuminate at 1 lux for a distance of greater than 1.1km forward of the car.
When it comes to payload, Mazda claims 887kg for the Thunder based mostly on its 2213kg kerb weight and 3100kg GVM. Mazda doesn’t individually promote the Thunder Professional’s figures, however its personal payload calculator claims the BP-51s shocks and is derived add 85kg to the car mass.
In the event you plan on towing a caravan, as an illustration, notice that whereas the upgraded suspension is an advisable replace, the BT-50’s weight limits should be thought of. Its 5950kg gross mixture mass (GCM) means you possibly can tow at most 2850kg in the event you’re additionally at payload.
One operate the BT-50 does lack is full-time 4WD, as an alternative operating as a rear-wheel drive on tarmac and providing low- and high-range (50:50) 4×Four driving modes within the tough stuff, with a rear locking diff to assist out over rugged terrain.
These suspension modifications provide you with a bit extra flexibility, for instance in the event you’re on a seaside with decrease tyre pressures you may need to stiffen the shocks.
BT-50 Thunder highlights:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- 265/60 tyres with full spare
- Tub liner
- Black metal sports activities bar
- Black metal bullbar
- Entrance mild bar
- Electrical curler arduous tonneau
- LED headlights, DRLs
- Fender flares and aspect steps
- Energy-folding chrome mirrors
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Distant engine begin
- Twin-zone local weather management
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- 2 x USB and 1 x 12V ports
- Leather-based seats, energy adjustment (driver)
- Heated entrance seats
- Leather-based-wrapped steering wheel
- 9.0-inch touchscreen
- Wi-fi Apple CarPlay
- Wired Android Auto
- Eight audio system
- Satellite tv for pc navigation
- Reversing digital camera
Thunder Professional provides:
- Outdated Man Emu BP-51 suspension
- Spherical Lightforce LED driving lights
- Thunder Professional decals
The BT-50 carries a five-star ANCAP security score based mostly on 2022 testing.
It managed scores of 86 per cent for grownup occupant safety, 89 per cent for youngster occupant safety, 67 per cent for weak street person safety, and 84 per cent for security help.
Commonplace security options embrace:
- Eight airbags
- 2 x high tethers and ISOFIX factors
- Autonomous emergency braking’
- Adaptive cruise management
- Ahead collision alert
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Computerized excessive beam
- Lane-keeping help
- Site visitors signal recognition
- Clever pace limiter
- Rear cross-traffic alert
Mazda gives a five-year, limitless kilometre guarantee.
Service intervals are each 12 months or 15,000km, with costs capped at: $449, $416, $713, $531, $334, $795 and $467 for the primary seven visits. The fee-per-visit is about the identical because the mechanically similar D-Max, reassuringly.
These service intervals match most opponents apart from the HiLux which troopers on with six-monthly visits required.
The BT-50’s worth is frankly getting up there, however launching a pre-packaged Thunder Professional model with uprated suspension, lighting and a snorkel provides Mazda sellers one thing flashy for the showroom ground.
It’s a strong truck, shaded now by the Ranger when it comes to inside applied sciences and engine efficiency, however reliable and comfy.
Bear in mind which you could choose up a decrease grade BT-50 variant and match the identical suspension upgrades, saving your self some cash for forgoing some luxuries.
Click on the photographs for the complete gallery