Mazda has just released the first details on its mildly refreshed BT-50 mid-size pickup truck. The BT-50 is Mazda’s global pickup that competes with the Toyota Hilux and Chevrolet Colorado. Based on the global Ford Ranger, the BT-50 carries all the Ranger’s mechanicals but provides truck buyers with what Mazda calls, an “active lifestyle vehicle.”

In other words, the BT-50 has a sportier style than the Ranger.

This marks the first major refresh for the Mazda truck since its introduction back in 2011. Designers were modest in the restyling, only concentrating on the front grille, headlights and taillights. The interior also features a new feel that Mazda says is higher quality than before. A rear-view camera also makes its appearance for the first time on the truck.

More specifically, the grille now has Mazda’s current corporate design, with the large horizontal bar backing the Mazda logo. Smoked headlights now have a more premium look. Similarly, the taillights share the smoked look, imparting a more premium feel to the exterior. Finally, a new set of aluminum wheels replace the outgoing design.

All the greasy bits carry over unchanged. That means the truck’s base engine is the 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel making 158 horsepower. Optional is the 3.2-liter inline five-cylinder turbodiesel making 197 horsepower. The truck can be had with a manual or automatic transmission, as well as two- or four-wheel drive.

The Mazda BT-50 will go on sale in the third quarter of 2015 starting in Thailand and Australia, with sales expanding beyond that in time.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Mazda’s refresh of the BT-50 coincides with the recent refresh of the Ford Ranger. The Ranger’s new design focuses on more luxury and capability while the Mazda offers a more youthful approach. Though the BT-50 doesn’t get the extensive updates found on the Ranger, the visual updates are welcomed nonetheless.

The two diesel engine options offer a respectable amount of power for a variety of tasks. Though even the optional five-cylinder won’t be able to compete with the U.S.-spec 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel headed for the 2016 Chevy Colorado in terms of outright horsepower and torque, it’s still a workhorse.

In light of all this, it’s fascinating to know that Ford and Mazda still produce copycat versions of the same mid-size pickup truck as the two had before here in the U.S. Still, Americans shouldn’t expect to see Mazda import the BT-50 any more than Ford importing the Ranger. Both appear to be impossibilities at this point.

Press Release

Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that production of the refreshed Mazda BT-50 utility has commenced at the company’s manufacturing plant in Thailand, Auto Alliance (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (AAT).

Mazda plans to start introducing the updated model from the second half of 2015, starting with Thailand and Australia.

The BT-50 defied the conventional image of the pickup truck when the current model was introduced in 2011 as an "active lifestyle vehicle" with modern and refined styling.

Since then it has gained great popularity thanks to its excellent driving performance and highly functional interior and cargo space which make it ideal for both personal and business use.

Customers with active lifestyles have found that the BT-50 suits their needs for a wide variety of purposes, from transporting the family to facilitating leisure activities.

The new BT-50 maintains the versatile practicality and exhilarating driving performance of the current model but the design has been updated to give it a sportier and more powerful presence than ever before.

The new styling incorporates a newly designed front face, rear combination lamps and aluminium wheels.

In addition, the interior has also been refined to give a higher-quality feel, and for the first time a rear-view camera has been added to the list of safety equipment available on the BT-50.

The powertrain and body-type line-up is unchanged from the previous model.

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