2018 Mazda BT-50 GT 4WD Dual Cab Ute Review

Mazda BT-50 GT Road Test

Mazda BT-50 Mazda BT-50 GT Overview

Mazda developed the BT-50 alongside the Ranger Ute a few years ago and despite there being many similarities the market perceived them differently. For some strange reason the more expensive Ranger outsold the BT-50.

This is something I just can’t understand, even though the Ford has some extra features buyers can essentially get the same Ute cheaper?

Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50 GT Exterior

The BT-50 GT has a softer exterior appearance than the Ranger, with a sloping nose and grill and softer lines through the side but muscular wheel arch bulges.

External features of the GT include: 17 inch alloy wheels running 265/65 R17 tyres, front halogen fog lamps, auto headlamps, rear step bumper, side steps, and a battery in the tub.

Mazda BT-50 GT Interior

Inside the BT-50 GT is reasonably spacious. The leather 8 way electronically adjusted driver’s seat is fairly comfortable. The leather steering wheel is only height adjustable unfortunately but does have audio and cruise control buttons for ease of use.

Mazda BT-50

There is enough seat slide for my lanky 195cm frame and head room as well. In front of the driver the dash is a two dial design with the centre split into two distinct information areas. Pretty easy to understand.

The centre console has the transmission lever and the 4WD select dial in front of the cup holders. It is a clean and simple design. Above that on the stack are the buttons for the rear diff lock, traction control and hill decent control and then air-conditioning controls.

Mazda BT-50

Rear seats are good for three people and they have rear A/C vents and controls which is pretty cool. It actually is one of the better rear seat areas amongst the Utes on the COTY program.

Like the Ranger I have had my two boys back there is their child seats.

The BT-50 GT has reasonable storage with cup and bottle holders everywhere, a centre console bin, reasonable glove box, under rear seat and more. The overall feel inside is one of good visibility, especially rearwards with the reversing camera.

Mazda BT-50 GT Features/Technology

The centre stack houses the new Alpine 8-inch high-resolution colour touch screen which now includes a fully integrated reverse camera and an improved sat-nav system that also features point-to-point four-wheel drive off-road navigation with 3D digital terrain.

Mazda BT-50

For the first time in a BT-50, the infotainment system has split screen capabilities – allowing both audio and navigation content to be viewed at the same time – and displays HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) information, while incoming mobile calls can be answered via the steering wheel controls.

Video enabled – connected via USB or HDMI cable – passengers will be able to watch their favourite pre-loaded television shows and movies while the vehicle is stationary, as well as play MP3, WMA, AAC or FLAC audio and MP4 and MKV video files.

Also, the HDMI input replicates shows being watched via streaming services (Netflix/Stan/Foxtel) or on portable DVD players and tablets within the vehicle.

Including DAB+ digital radio – with improved audio quality from the four 50 watt amplifiers –  the system also offers standard live traffic updates through the Radio Data System (RDA), hands-free phone functions are voice controlled via Bluetooth, and the dashboard now includes more accessible USB, HDMI and 3.5mm AUX ports.

Other features of the BT-50 GT include: wipers (front) 2-speed with rain-sensing function, air-conditioning (dual-zone climate control), rear-view mirror auto dimming, power mirrors (heating and folding function) with turn indicator, privacy glass

Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50 GT Engine and Drivetrain

The BT-50 GT is home to the 5 cylinder 3.2L turbo diesel engine. This is a good performer producing power of 147kW @ 3000 rpm and torque of 470Nm @ 1750-2500 rpm running through a 6 speed automatic transmission and driving the wheels through a dual range box.

Mazda BT-50

This makes for relaxed freeway cruising and excellent towing ability. It’s no powerhouse but scoots along when pushed yet is still reasonably economical.

Mazda BT-50 GT Dimensions

The BT-50 dimensions are an overall length of 5365 mm, width of 1850 mm and height of 1821 mm. Giving it that internal spacious feeling is the wheelbase of 3220mm. Showing its 4WD credentials are the ground clearance of 237mm, wading depth of 800mm, approach angle of 28 degrees, rampover angle of 25 degrees and departure angle of 26.4 degrees.

Like the Ranger the BT-50 GT is great at towing heavy trailers. With a tow rating of 3500kg and tow ball rating of 350kg it is perfect for an active lifestyle.

The trailer sway control, linear delivery of torque at low revs and good feedback through the steering wheel means that the BT-50 GT is amongst the best of the Utes for towing. It gives the driver a solid feeling of control.

Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50 GT What is it like to Drive

Around town you feel its size, but it has a relatively tight turning circle of 12.4m, but on the freeways and secondary roads it seems to come into its own. Here the size is an advantage and the engine can purr along untroubled.

The linear delivery of torque feels like it just propels you forward. Off road the low down torque allows most situations to be controlled from your right foot. That is what you want.

I have driven the BT 50, like the Ranger pretty much on all surfaces, road, forest trails, on the farm, gravel rocky tracks, sand etc. It always feels in control.

It’s a great 4WD. The dial 4WD controls are simple and intuitive to use.  The driver can shift between 2H and 4H with the vehicle moving at speeds up to 120km/h and the accelerator pedal released.

The other benefit of the BT-50 GT off road is the rear diff lock. This should be used more to get you through somewhere you need to go or to get out of trouble, not take you further into the bush than your skills dictate you should go.

One thing you notice is how good the ride is either laden or unladen. It’s amongst the best in the segment. Also the steering provides direct feedback in line with the Mazda philosophy.

Mazda BT-50

Mazda BT-50 GT Safety

Safety features include for the 5 star ANCAP rating:

  • Airbags SRS: front (driver and passenger side (front) and curtain (front and rear),
  • anti-lock braking system (ABS),
  • dynamic stability control (DSC),
  • emergency stop signal (ESS),
  • hill descent control (HDC) – 4×4 only,
  • hill launch assist (HLA),
  • locking rear differential (LRD) – 4×4 only,
  • roll stability control (RSC), traction control system (TCS)
  • trailer sway control (TSC)

Mazda BT-50 GT Conclusion

The BT 50 has been a success for Mazda in sales and is an important part of their range. It looks are more subtle than some others but especially the GT is packed with features has a well combined engine and transmission, is comfortable both on and off road, is great on all 4WD surfaces and tows like a dream. It in some ways is an underappreciated 4WD Dual Cab Ute which is a pity given how good it is.

Mazda BT-50

What’s Good:

  • Build quality / Style
  • Value for money
  • Towing and 4WD ability

What’s Not:

  • Missing some safety features
  • No Apple Car Play or Android
  • No reach adjustable steering

Model    Mazda BT-50 GT

  • Model Price $59,627 RDAP
  • Engine 2L 5 Cyl TD
  • Drivetrain 6 Sp AT 4WD
  • Power        147kW @ 3,000rpm
  • Torque 470Nm @ 1,750rpm
  • Safety        5 Star ANCAP
  • CO2        229g/km
  • Economy ADR L/100 km
  • Servicing Fixed Price
  • Tow Rating 3,500kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 350kg
  • Warranty 2 Yrs / Unlimited km 1 Yrs Roadside Assist

 Overall UteGuide Rating: 90/100

  • Behind the Wheel 8
  • Comfort        9
  • Equipment        8
  • Performance        9
  • Ride & Handling 9
  • Practicality 9
  • Fit for Purpose 9
  • Towing Ability        10
  • Off Road Ability 10
  • Value for Money 9


About Anthony Hood 24 Articles
Anthony is an avid motor enthusiast. His interests lie in street rods, drag racing, 4WDriving and camping, burn out competitions, circuit racing and hill climbs. He is our resident hoon. Married with two children and a qualified diesel mechanic and fitter he brings a very laid back approach to reviewing vehicles.