- Working cred. The BT-50 has a class-leading 3500kg maximum tow capacity (the amount it can tow behind) and excellent payload figures (the car’s total carrying capacity).
- Handling. It’s a good ute to steer, with a positive road-feel and surprisingly tidy handling despite its leaf-sprung live axle at the rear and load-carrying suspension tune (a leaf-spring is a tough type of suspension used in heavy vehicles).
- Grunt. With a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel, the Mazda BT-50 doesn’t lack in the power department, which is always a good thing.
- Off-road cred. The BT-50 performs strongly off-road thanks to its grunty engine, good clearance and effective traction control system.
- Parts. It has parts that are interchangeable with those of the Ford Ranger, which is basically its mechanical twin.
- Leg room. The generous combined front and rear legroom is great for people who need a bit of space.
- Safety. The BT-50 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
- Fuel usage. The Mazda burns through quite a bit of fuel. According its ADR figure, it goes through 9.2L/100km. But our real-world testing figure showed it went through more like 12.0L/100km.
- Too big. The Mazda feels big and it’s not easy to manoeuvre in tight situations.
- 4x4 system. The more traditional dual-range part time four-wheel drive system means drivers need to stop the car to switch to four-wheel-drive. This is the type of system preferred by most serious off-roaders. But it’s easy for novices to get caught out in two-wheel drive when the driving conditions quickly change and 4x4 is needed.
- Fiddly controls. The BT-50 is generally well-equipped, but the dashboard screen is a bit small and its controls are fiddly on the mid-spec model. It is expected that these will change when the face-lifted model arrives in September 2015.