As promised, Mazda has taken the covers off the all-new Mazda BT-50 pick-up truck. Fully redesigned for the first time in nine years, this latest generation is a big shift for the Hiroshima carmaker – the BT-50 is no longer a twin of the Ford Ranger, but is instead based on the Isuzu D-Max.

The Japanese truck specialist will also produce the BT-50 for Mazda in Thailand, and the new truck will hit showrooms later this year. The current third-generation D-Max was unveiled in Thailand in October 2019. As you can see, the new BT-50 looks very different from the D-Max, with its own full front end and tailgate design.

If the previous generation BT-50 was a Ranger with Mazda’s then Nagare design, this is a D-Max with Kodo skin. The face of the latest BT-50 is immediately familiar, as seen on Mazda’s CX SUVs, with a square jaw. No obvious “macho” cues usually found on trucks here – Mazda’s going its own way with a classier look. At the back, the simple tailgate and wraparound lights are not shared with the D-Max. Ditto the 18-inch wheels.

The two highlighted colours are the Gunblue Mica you see here and Concrete Grey Mica “for a more industrial presentation”.

Inside, the simple and classy theme continues. The dashboard is unique to the BT-50 and features a horizontal wide design with the head unit flanked by air con vents. Again, no tough look here and it’s all very car-like. The theme is dark and the leather is in a dark brown hue.

We spot a nicely integrated second glove box, stitch effect on the dash top and knee pads on the centre console – if those look soft, they probably are because Mazda mentions “soft-touch” in press materials. The lower half of the dash is where you’ll find layout similarities with the D-Max.

“The all-new BT-50 design expresses the unique beauty of Mazda’s Kodo Soul of Motion design theme with power, toughness and utilitarian functionality suited to a pickup truck. Mazda developed the BT-50 with the intention of making travel and the time spent inside the vehicle exceptionally pleasant,” Mazda says.

Under the sculpted hood lies Isuzu’s 3.0 litre turbodiesel with 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. The 4JJ3-TCX should be paired to six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The global and Australian press releases only mention the 3.0L, but Thailand should be getting the truck in 1.9L (150 PS/350 Nm) form as well.

With reduced body weight and a more frugal engine, the new BT-50 will also launch with a significant improvement in fuel economy, the company says. Towing capacity is 3,500 kg and payload is over 1,000 kg.

On the safety front, this truck comes with the latest driver aids such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Auto Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. All those will be standard in Australia, but it probably won’t be across the board in Thailand/ASEAN.

GALLERY: 2021 Mazda BT-50


GALLERY: 2020 Isuzu D-Max V-Cross in Thailand