More than a year after making its global debut, the order books for the third-generation Mazda BT-50 are now open in Malaysia. Unlike the second-gen model that was tied to the Ford Ranger, the redesigned Mazda pick-up truck is now based on the latest Isuzu D-Max, with five variants set to be offered to customers here, all fully imported from Thailand.

The range starts with the 1.9L Single Cab MT, which is followed by the double cab 1.9L Mid MT, 1.9L Mid AT, 1.9L High AT and the range-topping 3.0L High Plus AT. For now, we only have pricing for the last two offerings, with the 1.9L High AT going for RM124,179.20, while the 3.0L High Plus AT retails at RM143,218.40.

These figures are on-the-road without insurance and inclusive of a five-year, 100,000-km manufacturer warranty. The ongoing sales tax exemption doesn’t apply here because pick-up trucks are classified as commercial vehicles.

Under the bonnet, the BT-50 gets the same engines used by the D-Max, with “1.9L” variants being powered by a RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel making 148 hp (150 PS) at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 2,600 rpm.

Meanwhile, the range-topper gets Isuzu’s updated 4JJ3-TCX 3.0 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel that serves up 188 hp (190 PS) at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. Four-wheel drive is standard across the board, but depending on the variant, there’s either a six-speed manual (MT) or a six-speed automatic (AT) transmission fitted.

While the platform and engines are shared with the D-Max, the BT-50 has been styled to appear classier than its Isuzu counterpart. The Kodo approach sees a front end that is reminiscent of the brand’s CX SUVs, with square jaw accompanied by a familiar grille and sleek headlamps. Meanwhile, the BT-50’s rear gets a simple tailgate and wraparound taillights that are different from the D-Max.

This trend continues on the inside, as the BT-50’s dashboard is less “rough and tough,” but more car-like. The horizontal wide design features a central head unit flanked by air vents, while carryover items are things like the climate controls, gear lever, centre stack as well as the centre console with rear vents (this also has knee pads).

In terms of equipment, the 1.9L Single Cab MT comes with 16-inch steelies, LED headlamps and front fog lamps, bulb-type DRLs and rear fog lamp, automatic wipers, a 3.5-inch monochrome instrument cluster display, a basic head unit with two speakers, manual air-conditioning, manual seats, fabric upholstery, a 4WD transfer dial, a rear differential lock, two airbags, ESC, traction control, Hill Launch Assist, ABS, EBD and brake assist.

2022 Mazda BT-50 Malaysia spec sheet (left), Peninsular price list (right); click to enlarge

Stepping up from the workhorse variant to the first of the double cabs, the 1.9L Mid MT and AT gain 17-inch alloys, keyless engine start, powered side mirrors with indicators, rear parking sensors, a 4.2-inch TFT-LCD coloured multi-info display, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and six speakers, rear air vents, a reverse camera, Isofix child seat anchors, passive cruise control as well as blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The 1.9L High AT builds upon the Mid variants by adding auto-levelling bi-LED headlamps, LED DRLs, keyless entry, front parking sensors, roof rails (100 kg limit), side steps, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, eight-way powered front seats, five more airbags for a total of seven and hill descent control.

At the top, the 3.0L High Plus AT gets all the 1.9L High AT’s features, but with the addition of 18-inch alloys, a remote engine start function, two more speakers for a total of eight and brown leather upholstery. More importantly, the range-topper gets a more comprehensive suite of safety and driver assists, including multi-collision brake, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

The BT-50 comes in five colours, including Rock Grey Mica, Gunblue Mica, Ice White, Red Volcano Mica and True Black Mica. Despite the availability of a spec sheet and partial price list, the BT-50 is still being “previewed” for now, and we’re told a formal launch event will take place later this week. Given what’s presented to you, would you pick the BT-50 over other pick-up trucks like the D-Max, Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton?