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Mazda’s Next-Gen BT-50 Pickup: Pretty, But Not For Us

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Ever been offered a candy only to have it pulled away? This kind of how fans of midsize pickups must feel after getting a look at a new Mazda product unveiled online this week. Meet the third-generation Mazda BT50 truck, which is not for you.

The new edition of the Mazda truck is, in our humble opinion, a real looker. The model is actually based on Isuzu’s D-Max truck, and it was conceived mainly for Asian markets and for Australia, which loves its trucks almost as much as the U.S. does.

You’ll recall, most of you, that Mazda left the midsize pickup segment in North America after it nixed its version of the Ford Ranger truck, the B-Series, in 2009. The company stayed in the game in other markets, however.

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2021 Mazda BT-50, three-quarters rear
Photo: Mazda
2021 Mazda BT-50, three-quarters rear

The new edition of its BT-50 is powered by a 3.0L 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine built by Isuzu and able to deliver 190 hp at 3,600 RPM, as well as 332 lb-ft of torque between 1,600 and 2,600 RPM. It comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and a rear-wheel drive configuration, though buyers can fork over extra to get an automatic transmission, AWD, or both.

Load capacity is set at 2,347 lb, while towing capacity is 7,716 lb.

In your opinion, would the BT-50 stand a chance at succeeding in North America? In Canada, that seems like a safe bet, but what matters for Mazda is the model’s prospects in the U.S. And there, Mazda would face a real uphill battle with Americans used to their Big Three models, or the occasional Toyota.

2021 Mazda BT-50, interior
Photo: Mazda
2021 Mazda BT-50, interior
2021 Mazda BT-50, profile
Photo: Mazda
2021 Mazda BT-50, profile