More than a decade after Mazda pulled the plug on its Ford Ranger–based B-Series truck in the United States, the “Zoom-Zoom” brand is making us yearn for its return to the American pickup segment with the new BT-50. Marking the model’s second full redesign, per the company, the new BT-50 trades its predecessor’s Ford underpinnings for Isuzu-based mechanical bits. That’s right, just because Mazda stopped selling trucks in the U.S. doesn’t mean it stopped selling such models in other markets.
Look past the Mazda’s pretty, CX-9-like face and you will find what amounts to a re-skinned Isuzu D-Max—a model that was never offered here, from a brand no longer imported to our shores. Fortunately, this is no new take on an old truck, as Isuzu recently redesigned the D-Max. As such, the Mazda should be relatively competitive out of the gate.
While the exterior design of the BT-50 is distinctly Mazda, the truck’s cabin largely mimics its Isuzu kin. Yes, there are some Mazda-specific dashboard pieces, but key items, such as the infotainment setup, appear ripped right out of the D-Max. In other words, BT-50 buyers better not expect this truck to sport the latest Mazda telematics as seen in vehicles such as the 3 compact sedan and hatchback and CX-30 crossover.
Mazda is largely mum on powertrain details, although it did share that Australian-market, double-cab models with four-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission—such as the one in these images—will offer a diesel 3.0-liter V-6 engine with almost 190 horses and 332 lb-ft of torque. Expect the Isuzu’s 1.9-liter diesel engine to find its way under the Mazda’s hood, as well.
Regardless, we do not anticipate the newest Mazda truck will find its way to our market. Blame the fact its production is due to take place outside of the U.S., thereby making it subject to the onerous “chicken tax.”
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