report on new Mazda BT 50

Submitted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 18:34
ThreadID: 95757 Views:10233 Replies:7 FollowUps:10
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A change of styles for me - I have moved away from a wagon to a dual cab ute - a new BT 50 Mazda 4WD.

I got the hose out model with auto - after driving both it was a no-brainer to get the auto.
This forced my hand into a ute away from a cab chassis, so I decided to modify my plans of a custom integrated canopy body (cheaper too, this way!)

Here's a quick report after a few weeks driving on bitumen (metropolitan + country highway) and dirt roads of Birdsville & Strzelecki tracks, Flinders Ranges, Innamincka and Cobar.
I have also driven 4 hours on unmaintained station Strzelecki sand dune tracks and over Big Red (easy peasy).
Approx 7,00 km in total with a variety of 3 or 4 in the cab. In other words, a reasonable cross section of Outback motoring.

Road manners:
I planned prior to purchase to sit tight before committing to a suspension up- grade. I have been concerned that clearance will be a real issue; that has not yet proven to be. Ute rides better with my regular load than with just the driver - no surprise. But what is surprising is when fully loaded it still rides very well.
Has excellent dirt manners and only once has all the fancy electronic gadgetry had to earn its living; the dynamic stability control braked a wheel at 90 kph on some loose corrugations and snapped the ute smartly back into line. Gave me a fright, tough!
In summary, easy to drive and hangs on like crazy.

Heaps of powers & torque. A willing & amazing drive. Tows my 1.4 t trailer like the big 4.8 L Nissan does at half the fuel cost!!!
Economy so far is 11.1 L/100 km. I am more than satisfied.
Half of that distance has been driven with a custom made aluminium roof rack loaded with a 2nd spare and 5 swags - it catches plenty of air.
The ute section has been full with water, extra fuel, fridge, bags & large tool box (100 kg weight).
Engine has a degree of Turbo lag & I am taking a while to adjust my driving style to this aspect.

Comfy & roomy.
It was a concern of mine moving from 2 x GU Patrols re space, seating, comfort etc.
I am amazed and delighted to say that after 10 hour driving spells I am not as fatigued from sitting as I was in the Nissan!

I have added as mentioned a custom roof rack, and also a ute liner & 2 x 12 V outlets to the tub. ARB bull bar goes on next week (not available until now - and you would not, even in a pink fit, get the Mazda dealer's offer.) Tonneau cover goes on tomorrow- it also is being custom made, to fit over the 2nd spare which is now mounted vertically on RHS of tub.

I traded in the standard issue Dunlop highway tyres on 5 x 265/70 R 16 LT Bridgestone 697's after 3,500 km. These are the 'new' version of the 694's and are almost impossible to fault - a real value equation.

All in all, I reckon I have made a good choice. Not much more for me to do in terms of making the vehicle fit to my patterns of use. I'll worry about underbody protection & a lift as/when it happens. For the moment will run with jerry cans of diesel to increase the range - after market fuel tanks are a crazy price, although the Dolium 48 L tank is appealing.

Watch out other manufacturers - Ford aka Mazda have re written the dual cab rule book here. Goodnight Hilux - you're a dinosaur.



PS have a look in the classifieds at my GU for sale - it may suit you.
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Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 19:41

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 19:41
Hi Rick,

Thanks for your report on your BT50. Hope you continue to use and enjoy your vehicle, and get many years of use from it.

Unfortunately my BT50 hasn't been up to the task, despite all the rave reviews and awards when released. I will be trading up to a heavier duty 4WD in the near future. Hopefully the new BT50/Ranger will be an improvement on the previous model and on paper it seems to be - we will have to wait and see.

Cheers, Geoff
AnswerID: 486593

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 20:26

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 20:26
If I recall correctly, you had serious issues with the chassis etc??

Overloading has killed many a 4WD - I have also destroyed one doing just that- a 'heavy'one.

However, this Ford/Mazda is way different & I don't believe we are comparing apples with apples if we relate your BT 50 with mine.

All that said , as you observe, we will wait & see.

One thing for sure - I won't overload this one!!!!!!!!!!!!
FollowupID: 761841

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 07:43

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 07:43
Hi Rick,

Yes I had chassis problems along with many other problems which unfortunately tipped me over the edge and caused me to look elsewhere for a vehicle.

The vehicle was never overloaded, but the weight carried (400kg slideon camper) brought it up close to the GVM.

The most disappointed thing at the end was the complete disregard and lack of interest from Mazda to my large list of problems, both from the dealer and head office.

Good plan to keep the load down - yes the new Ford/Mazda is different but my observations are that some things are similar and don't expect help from Mazda if you have problems.

Good luck with your vehicle - maybe see you on the track some day when I'm back on the road.

Cheers, Geoff
FollowupID: 761873

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 20:02

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 20:02
Good to hear that you are happy with your new ute. I was speaking with a mate on the weekend who has one as well. He has cracked a windscreen and tried to have it replaced only to find they have none available, there was another thread here last week where another BT50 is off the road also waiting for a parts. Hopefully they get their act together with backup support .
AnswerID: 486594

Reply By: Member - Netnut (VIC) - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 22:20

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 22:20
Hello Rick.
I have a BT-50 and it's about to have its first service. I was interested to read how the vehicle handles on dirt roads.

I'm learning how to make the auto gearbox go into the next gear in na built-up area instead of letting it change by itself. I find I have to travel at over 60 kph to get it to change up to fifth gear and run ast lower revs. Thus far, I've found that shifting into sports mode and back helps overcome the problem, and I don't have to break the speed limit.

I read that you have a roof rack and I would like to know how this has been installed to ther cabin roof and wehat mounts you have used.

Check out my profile picture for a look at the aluminium ECB bull bar and the ARB canopy.

Happy travels !
AnswerID: 486608

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 07:34

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 07:34
Nice looking unit.

I am going for the ARB bar as it's a fair bit cheaper than the ECB bar, which I admit looks stylish..anyway, I prefer a steel bar - they are more 'elastic'.

I removed the side steps to help with he clearance issue as I drive in a bit of soft deep sand in the desert. Interestingly, it makes the vehicle easier to get into as one can approach the seats from a closer & therefore better angle.

What economy are you getting?

I'm not a member so can only offer a peek through photobucket.¤t=DSCN3188.jpg#!

FollowupID: 761872

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 13:05

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 13:05
I'll try & reload the photobucket link:

FollowupID: 761901

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 13:10

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 13:10
Damn - last attempt:

You may have to copy & paste Vs clicking on the previous two links as it won't link properly. Sorry.
FollowupID: 761904

Reply By: TH - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:15

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:15
I also have a new BT50.
I got the dual cab base model auto and took the tub off and have had an alloy tray fitted (slightly longer at 1.8m instead of 1.65). It's also got a snorkel, Icom radio fitted and under tray drawer. A reversing camera, long range tank and dual battery system are due to be fitted soon. All through Mazda.
I have also ordered an ARB bullbar.
Very happy so far. I will fit a trayback camper to the vehicle.
I was interested to read your comments about the suspension. I will review that when I get the camper although I have been expecting that I would have to upgrade if not for load carrying then for extra clearance.
I have yet to do much with the vehicle (only 1500ks).
I will probably fit a waterwatch to it and later 265/75/16's
AnswerID: 486630

Reply By: cityslicker - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:27

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:27
GDay Rick,

Glad to hear the mazda's living up to your expectations. Will the guys on South Road still do the servicing for you?

A good write up like that needs a piccy or two :-)

AnswerID: 486631

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 13:04

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 13:04

Alltrac is the only place to go for 4WD servicing. They're cheaper per hour than the dealer & know what to look for & do. I can get peace of mind from their work but not from the dealers - I know more about the vehicle than they do. This statement applies to both Nissan & Mazda, with whom I have had experiences (not issues).

Piccys are on photobucket (see other reply with the link), but over the next few weeks as the bull bar & tonneau get fitted I'll take some more.

Aha, the penny has just dropped on the nickname use in this post. You'd be an expert in culinary matters, yes?
FollowupID: 761900

Follow Up By: cityslicker - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 14:32

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 14:32
An expert in culinary matter - only by name, although I'd be more of a cook than a chef :-)
FollowupID: 761913

Reply By: Member - Jo Q (NSW) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 15:22

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 15:22
Hi Rick,

Good info in report & glad to hear it handled well through the desert with good fuel economy to boot.

I have a 2010 Ford Ranger, with front & back ARB bars, snorkel, EGR canopy & racks & have just finished fitting out the back ready for a trip across the Simpson in July. Mine is a diesel manual.

I too have forgone the long range tank at this stage & opted for jerry cans.

Pics below;

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Fingers crossed it travels through the Simpson with no dramas...


AnswerID: 486652

Follow Up By: Member - Jo Q (NSW) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 15:23

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 15:23
Just realised top pictuire was taken prior to racks!
FollowupID: 761917

Reply By: Mazdave - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 14:52

Friday, May 25, 2012 at 14:52
Hi Rick
I too have gone down the new model BT50 road, after owning 2 patrols. The accessories are a little tardy in coming in, but are slowly. Mine is a Freestyle cab with a 2100mm tray and I have installed, OME Suspension with a 2" lift, ARB bar and winch, driving lights etc and swapped over the std steelies to 16 x 8 Black Sunrayias and the new Cooper AT3's. Still waiting on the 150l Long ranger tank and snorkel through ARB.
Mine has to lug a Carry me camper - fully loaded about 500kgs, so without the upgraded suspension was dragging its a#@e along the ground.
Definately worth the extra $$ to spend on the suspension as the ride on the bitumen and dirt is so much better. Seems to be very strong so far and great on fuel.........
AnswerID: 486763

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 17:32

Friday, May 25, 2012 at 17:32
Interesting, Mazdave.

The ARB bar is not yet here in SA - mine's booked for fitting on the 30th & will be the 2nd the ARB boys have done here. But I have to mention that I have no winch - however the bar should be with or without a winch, surely???

They've also told me the OME suspension is not yet ready. Does this mean they are supplying the eastern states (presumably a far larger market)??

Is the OME lift a genuine 2" (measured before & after) or just the rough spec from the product info?

How many k's on yours & exactly what fuel consumption ? - I'm hoping mine will get better & better over the next few '000 k's.

What has the different tyre size done to speedo accuracy?
Any difference to all the electronic stability aids?

I have the dealer fitted snorkel - seems OK, but how does one really tell ?- I can hear it loudly sucking air when I have the window down.

FollowupID: 762017

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 13:09

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2012 at 13:09
Hi Rick,
There was a wait on the rear springs but are now readily available. There is plenty of Rangers also getting around with OME, so not sure why they arent available in SA. Definatley a 2" lift, (at least), however rear springs arent as solid as I thought with the camper, Have had to add airbags as well. It was either that or add another leaf, but didnt want to compromise the excellent ride without the camper on. I have don 2500kms and getting 10l per 100km around town. Hasnt been on a trip as yet, but suspect I wont get any better with the camper on, However I'll take that. Speedo reads a little slow, it is about 4kph out by my GPS. I was told by the Mazda dealer, you can only fit factory towbar to maintain the anti-sway electronic aid, however I'm sure Hayman Reece etc will overcome this issue quickly. All else works in conjunction with the aftermarket mods.
No snorkels available this side of the border as yet.

FollowupID: 763036

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