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Mazda BT-50 XTR long-term test: Part 1

By Matt Raudonikis, 28 Jan 2016 Reviews

Mazda BT-50 XTR long-term test: Part 1

There's plenty planned for 4x4 Australia's new long-termer, but first we need to get some dirt and grime beneath those BFG all-terrains.

It’s been a long spell since we last ran a long-term tester out of 4X4 Australia’s HQ, so we were pretty chuffed to add this ‘new’ Mazda BT-50 to the fleet over summer.

We say ‘new’ because it’s the face-lifted 2015 model, but it did have a few kays on it by the time it reached us here. Mazda used it on its launch program then shipped it to Coober Pedy, where Crafty flogged it around the desert for a few days.

Knowing this car was coming to us, Mazda used it to showcase the extensive range of factory accessories it now offers. It was fitted with an aluminium bullbar, an intake snorkel, a tub mat, floor mats, a dual battery kit, an Icom UHF radio, a towbar and wiring, an electric brake controller, and optional alloy wheels.

Mazda bt-50 xtr parkedThe options crank the price up to more than $63,000, so you could say it’s fully loaded. The $12,000 in extras proves vehicle manufacturers are keen to skim some action away from the aftermarket accessories companies.

About the only things Mazda doesn’t offer, and you might want to fit them for outback travel, are a suspension upgrade and heavy-duty tyres. We’re pretty happy with the BT-50’s factory suspension tune, and we quickly fitted a set of BF Goodrich KO2 All Terrains.

We’ve been keen to sample the new BFG ATs since they launched early this year, and now we finally have a ride to trial them on.

BF Goodrich all-terrain tyresReally impressive are the Australian-developed-and-made products Mazda is offering as factory options. The controller for the dual battery system comes from Redarc, while the driving lights are Lightforce beauties. The factory sat-nav system even has HEMA mapping and OziExplorer loaded on to it, so all bush-track maps are available in the dash.

Icom radioIt’s not Australian, but the Icom radio that’s neatly mounted to the console is another well-respected product and, again, it’s great to see Mazda supplying these recognised brands.

So far it’s been all highway kays for the Mazda, but we’ll be hitting the dirt and beaches over summer. It has been up the Hume Highway and back and we love the lazy way the five-cylinder diesel engine lopes along the highway, with plenty of grunt to keep the six-speed automatic transmission happy in top gear all day. This, combined with the big-cab feel of the BT, makes it a sweet highway tourer.

Mazda bt-50 long-termer part 1 downhill drivingInitial impressions of the BFGs are good, too. They are very quiet for an aggressive AT tyre, but they are still very new. They do show their limits when pushed hard on sealed roads – the deeper-tread blocks, with their square shoulders, protest at being asked to perform like sports car tyres.

We’re sure they will be more at home in the dust, gravel and rough stuff.


Tow bar (3.2 utility)    $596.19
Tow ball    $26.83
Trailer wiring harness    $288
Carpet floor mats    $122.84
Tub mat    $410.82
Mobile phone holder    $99
UHF    $869.77
Snorkel    $677.57
Dual battery kit    $1,199
Alloy bullbar    $2,869
Driving lights    $782.25
Electronic brakes    $515
Soft tonneau cover    $822
Auto lock for tonneau    $459.70
Polished sports bar    $999
17-inch alloy wheels    $1,208
TOTAL    $11,944.97

4x4 Shed
Total kilometers: 5,476 KM
Date Acquired: November 2015
Price: $63,645
KM this month: 1370
Av fuel: 11.1L/10KM

Check out part 2 of the Mazda BT-50 XTR long term test.
Check out part 3 of the Mazda BT-50 XTR long term test.