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Mazda BT-50 looks good, automaker asks what US thinks

The BT-50 isn't sold in the US, but Mazda said it's "listening" to Americans.

Mazda BT-50
It's so weird to see this design on a pickup.

Yes, Mazda sells a pickup truck. No, not in North America. But, in other parts of the world the Mazda BT-50 has long worked to offer a more elegant take on the trusty ute, as our friends down under like to call pickups.

Now, the Japanese brand with growing premium ambitions has revealed the latest BT-50 and it marks big changes. To be clear, Mazda has never actually engineered and built the BT-50. Instead, it's always been an extensive game of badge engineering, which Mazda played with Ford for decades. Years ago, Mazda decided to part ways with Ford for the next BT-50, shown here, and instead tapped Isuzu as its new partner.

At the end of the day, this is very much an Isuzu D-Max pickup, also not sold in the US. Mazda, however, gave the pickup an extensive restyle with its signature Kodo design language front and center. The front clip almost looks identical to a CX-5, while its Isuzu roots show through a little more at the rear.

Mazda BT-50

It's easy to see the Isuzu looks at this angle.


Inside too is very much Isuzu, with an infotainment setup unlike any other Mazda vehicle. But the automaker worked to make the cabin its own, and there are a few niceties Isuzu buyers won't find -- wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are chief among them. Some finer materials for the cockpit also wash over the panels, and there's a Mazda-spec steering wheel that makes things feel more zoom-zoom than the D-Max.

Mazda BT-50

Underneath the Mazda looks, it's all Isuzu, all the time. A turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel inline-four engine provides 188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The figures are slightly down from the outgoing Ford-based pickup, but Mazda said drivers will note better fuel economy. A six-speed manual or automatic transmission are available, as is four-wheel drive. The diesel engine will let owners put 2,348 pounds worth of payload in the bed and tow up to 7,716 pounds.

We don't have local pricing yet, but the BT-50 will land in Australian showrooms by the end of this year. And although Mazda has given absolutely zero indication this will come to our part of the world, the Japanese automaker told Roadshow it wants to hear what we think.

"We are excited for those regions receiving the all-new BT-50, featuring Mazda's powerful design, exceptional driving dynamics and utilitarian function," Mazda said in a statement. "While we haven't announced future availability of the BT-50 pickup truck in the US, we'd love to hear what our fans here think. We're listening."

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