2021 Mazda BT-50 due October: What the Isuzu D-Max means for its twin under the skin

  • Thursday 1st January 1970

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 will adopt advanced safety and technology from the Isuzu D-Max, but the models will be rolled out over several months.

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 is due to arrive in Australian showrooms in October, the Japanese brand has confirmed, however not all models will be available from launch.

Mazda dealers have told CarAdvice there will initially be three model grades of the 2021 Mazda BT-50 double cab: XT, XTR and GT, the same as the outgoing model.

They will be followed by the two-door “space cab” BT-50 models – which Mazda calls “Freestyle” – in December 2020 or January 2021.

And the single-cab entry level versions of the new Mazda BT-50 are not due in Australian showrooms until February or March 2021, based on timing provided to dealers.

Pricing and specification for the 2021 Mazda BT-50 is yet to be announced, however details released last week for the Isuzu D-Max provide a clue as to what’s coming.

The Mazda BT-50 will be based on the new Isuzu D-Max after Mazda’s 48-year partnership with Ford comes to an end.

Mazda has confirmed the new BT-50 will be powered by the D-Max's 3.0-litre turbo diesel (140kW/450Nm), be available with the full suite of safety tech (as featured in the new D-Max), and include mod-cons such as Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

Isuzu shocked the industry last week week after it announced every single model in the 2021 D-max range – including the basic “traffic controller” tradie version – will come with the complete advanced safety package, including perimeter sensing technology and a centre airbag (a first for the ute class).

Standard safety kit across the BT-50 range will include Adaptive Cruise Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

As CarAdvice reported earlier, the 2021 Mazda BT-50 will have a completely new body and a revised interior, even though it shares it engine, underpinnings and core body structure with the Isuzu D-Max.

The styling of the BT-50 has been designed to bring it into line with the rest of the Mazda range.

When asked why a customer would choose the Isuzu D-Max over the otherwise identical Mazda BT-50, Isuzu Ute Australia general manager of sales, Ben Jaeger, said: “I guess at the end of the day, it’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? But the reality is that we’ve got two very different brands and two very different brand propositions.”

Mr Jaeger said Mazda and Isuzu “appeal to two very different customer bases”.

“We’ve earned our stripes in the commercial space,” he said. “We also feel as though our (dealer) network provides us a real strength, especially in coverage around the country. While we really value or private and (small business) customers … we are also experienced with large fleets. We’re quite rounded in what we can offer a variety of customers.”