2012 Mazda Bt-50 ON THE ROAD Performance
The BT-50’s shared five-cylinder 3.2 litre MX-CD turbodiesel engine sports 147kW and 470Nm of torque and effortless low-end tractability (with 100 percent of peak torque on tap between 1750rpm and 2500rpm). On road, in the six-speed manual, hills flatten beneath it, and swift, safe overtaking is a breeze. The throw of the gear-shift is chunky although a little wooly through the gate, but it’s easy to use and the clutch is nicely-weighted.
Like 2012 Ford Ranger, this mighty torque when combined with descent control, hill-start assist, locking rear differential, steep approach and departure angles make it an off-road monster.
There is so much torque, that, in the manual, you can simply point the nose at a gradient, engage first, slip the clutch and let it idle up and over.
Descent control is so superb that on one’s way down all one need do is to engage descent control and throw it out of gear into angle, take your feet off everything and it will carry you down beautifully. In BT50 the front springs are softer, allowing more compression and travel, which helps in really rough going. The dual-range transfer case can be shifted between 2H and 4H at up to 120km/h at the press of a button. But for engaging low range, the car must be stopped.
In a mix of on-road and heavy off-road work, it averages 10.1 l/100km: which is amazing for such a powerful big pickup truck, working hard. Claimed average consumption is 8.9 l/100km.
The strong, smooth-revving 3200 cc diesel is one of the best in the business. Vibration and harshness is beautifully isolated from the interior.
Mazda BT-50 is amazingly quiet, when one driving in on-road condition, one hears neither the tyre nor the wind. The BT-50 is quieter at speed over coarse road than even the improved Mazda 6. There might be a little fluttering from the base of the A-pillar, but shearing from the tyres barely intrudes.
Suspension: On road, this where the BT-50 needs more work. Nothing wrong on paper with the double wishbone front-end and leaf-sprung rear, but the tuning is out of whack.
Braking: Strong and arrow-true, discs all round with ABS and all the gear, and no sign of fade when off-road (the hill-descent control means you barely need touch the picks).