Not only are the powerplants and platform all-new from the ground up, but Mazda has also applied the automaker's latest design language.
"Something huge is coming" on June 17th, and the teaser photo for the global reveal showcases a sculpted hood and a bigger grille than before. Don't try to brighten up the picture because Mazda thought about this so-called hack before publishing it on social media. The taillights also represent a departure from the second generation, and the roof-mounted antenna is sourced from the Isuzu D-Max pickup.
The front mudguards also appear similar to the D-Max, which is manufactured in Thailand as well at the Samut Prakan plant. Even though Mazda has allocated one billion baht (approximately $32.35 million) into AAT in Rayong, the BT-50 will be produced by Isuzu from here on in. The two Japanese automakers confirmed the collaboration in July 2016.
Mazda didn't mention anything else about the BT-50 other than the teaser pic and catchy promise, but it's easy to guesstimate what we'll be treated to. The Kodo – Soul of Motion design philosophy hides a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic and a choice of two turbo diesels, the RZ4E and 4JJ3.
The RZ is a 1.9-liter motor, a four-cylinder that develops a rather conservative 150 PS (148 horsepower) and 350 Nm (258 pound-feet) of torque. Although adequate for a mid-size pickup truck, these figures are better by the J-series engine. The 3.0-liter mill is an evolution of the 4JJ1, featuring 190 PS (188 horsepower) and 450 Nm (332 pound-feet) from 1,800 to 2,800 rpm.
Revealed in October 2019 for the 2020 model year, the D-Max comes with an aluminum propeller shaft when optioned with the four-wheel-drive system. An electromagnetic rear differential lock is also featured.
Not only did Isuzu improve the suspension and steering systems over the previous generation, but customers are also treated to a 9.0-inch infotainment system that runs Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring are also worthy of note.
With a payload of nearly 1,200-ish kilograms and a towing capacity of 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds), both the D-Max and BT-50 tick all of the right boxes without breaking the bank. In Thailand, the Isuzu in entry-level Spark configuration starts at 547,000 baht or $17,710 at current exchange rates. The outgoing BT-50 in Pro Standard Cab flavor is 562,000 baht, or $18,180.