Jude Morte / Brent Co, Jude Morte | October 27, 2008 00:00
More than just a rebadged Ranger"The pickup segment has grown by leaps and bounds in the past two years, and we want to be a big part of that," So said Mazda Philippines managing director Dave Macasadia to a number of motoring scribes, as Mazda recently unveiled its take on the pickup segment with the new BT-50.
Augmenting a rather small utility lineup, the BT-50 is branded as a lifestyle pickup, meant for individuals who lead an active, confident and independent lifestyle, who love customizing their vehicles, and needs a vehicle that exudes civilized ruggedness. The exterior design concept is modeled around flowing contours and a sporty and athletic theme, evoking a feeling of freedom when you let yourself be tapped into the pickup's emotion of motion. Hallmarks of this theme are Mazda's trademark five-point grille and a new integrated front bumper, headlamps and fog lamps, chrome lining (for the 4x4 variant only) for the grille, side mirror housings, exterior door handles and tailgate handle, large and thick doors, a chunky tailgate and tall cargo box panels.
The inside will make you forget that you are riding a pick-up. Large spacious seats are provided for better support (especially on rough roads), and the airconditioning system is more than capable of handling the hot part of the Philippine tropical climate. The floor console now integrates a storage box, a cigarette lighter (with removable ashtray) and four cup holders. For music lovers, there is a new audio system which is MP3-capable with Audio Level Control (ALC) that automatically adjusts the volume to match the speed of the pickup at any given moment. Also onboard are sedan-like convenience features like power assist for side mirror adjustment, an interior fuel cap cover opener, one-touch power assist for the front windows, and power door lock/unlock controls from the driver's seat.
The BT50 is more than capable of going on tarmac or dirt – with or without load inside the bed and in the cabin. Toting either a 2.5L (4x2) or 3.0L (4x4) inline-four-cylinder CRDi powerplant, the pickup ensures superb performance in any driving condition. It also is environment-friendly, capable of loading B-5 diesel fuel (five percent biodiesel, 95 percent pure diesel). Mated to the four banger is a five-speed manual transmission that has sure shifting with smooth action and a light touch, along with two-wheel drive or four-wheel-drive transfer (with smart, easy shift operation) for commercial use or for more adventurous off-road applications. Toss in a rack-drive electric power assist steering (EPAS) system (for smooth steering control), four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and you have ample opportunity to veer away from potential collisions.
The all-new new Mazda BT-50 is currently offered at an introductory price of P1.329 million (for the 3.0L 4x4 m/t variant) and P 949,000 for the 2.5L 4x2 m/t. The chic workhorse comes in Lagoon Blue, Copper Red, Cool White, Titanium Gray and Desert Bronze, and has enough features, performance and stylishness to make itself more than just a rebadged Ford Ranger.