The updated Mazda BT-50 ute will go on sale in New Zealand in October, complete with a new face, a refreshed interior, and the addition of a rear-view camera to its list of safety equipment.
The Japanese carmaker has just begun producing the new-look BT-50 (above) at its plant in Thailand. Mazda NZ managing director Andrew Clearwater said the revision was particularly impressive.
“The upgrade maintains the practicality and driving performance of the current model but the design has been updated to give it a sportier and more powerful presence than before,” he said.
Based on the initial image (above) it appears not much has changed in the way of styling besides a new grille, headlights and aluminium wheels, in keeping with Mazda’s Kodo design language. The rear lights have also been reworked.
In addition, the interior has also been refined to give a higher-quality feel to bring it into line with Mazda’s cars and SUVs. The rear-view camera, for example, will work with a larger infotainment screen.
The powertrain and body-type line-up is unchanged from the existing model range, which includes two-wheel and four-wheel drives.
The BT-50 is a crackerjack ute, its on-road manners tuned to perform arguably better than any of its rivals. But its polarising looks have hamstrung sales at a time when the ute market in NZ is at an all-time high.
At the end of last month Mazda was eighth on the 2015 ute list with 719 sales – against 3035 for the leader of the commercial pack, the BT-50’s sister ship the Ford Ranger.
The BT-50 and Ranger share pretty much everything except body styles. Interiors are different but engines and gearboxes are the same. The Ranger’s styling, however, doesn’t look as ‘soft’, its truck-like front end particularly adding perceived muscle.