We check out what makes the BT-50 and D-Max similar (and unique)

After a long wait, Mazda has officially brought the all-new BT-50 to the Philippines. But unlike the previous generation which was based on the sixth-generation Ford Ranger, the third-generation BT-50 is now based on the all-new Isuzu D-Max.

Since the two trucks are based on the same platform, what are the different and similar traits that the BT-50 and D-Max have? To find out, we've done a spec check between the top-of-the-line 4x4 variants to see which is one bigger, more capable, and packed with more features.

Bigger is better?

With both pick-up trucks essentially the same vehicle, they have similar dimensions right? According to the brochures, that's not the case.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

Starting with the Mazda, it measures 5280mm long, 1870mm wide, and 1810mm tall. Meanwhile, the Isuzu is 5277mm long, 1880mm wide, and 1810mm tall. This means that BT-50 is slightly longer, but the D-Max is wider by a few millimeters. When it comes to the wheelbase, both pick-ups measure 3125mm. Not surprising since both vehicles do ride on the same platform.

As for ground clearance, the D-Max has 240mm, while the Mazda has 237mm available. Despite the small difference, both vehicles can easily take on rough terrain. More importantly, the water wading depth for both trucks is rated at 800mm.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

Despite the slight difference in size, both pick-ups are capable of going over high waters and managing rough terrain.

Packed and Loaded

Aside from having (almost) similar dimensions, both vehicles are packed to the brim with features and amenities.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

The two pick-ups are fitted with a touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and USB. The Mazda's screen measures 9-inches, while the one in the Isuzu is slightly bigger at 10.1-inches.

Both vehicles also come with an 8-speaker sound system, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, full-leather interior, engine start/stop button, auto-dimming rearview mirror, various USB charging ports, power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a tilt/telescopic steering column.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

They may come from different brands, but the BT-50 and the D-Max have plenty of features to keep the driver and passengers relaxed and entertained.

Power and control

Besides having similar dimensions, both the BT-50 and D-Max are powered by a similar engine. Under the hood is the 3.0-liter 4JJ3-TCX turbo-diesel inline-four.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

It makes 190 PS along with 450 Nm of torque. Peak power comes in at 3600 rpm for both the BT-50 and D-Max. However, Mazda says that peak torque on the BT-50 is readily available between 1600 to 2000 rpm. Meanwhile, Isuzu claims that peak torque is attainable from 1600 to 2600 rpm. Like the engine, the D-Max and BT-50 are both paired to a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

So whether you plan on getting the BT-50 or D-Max, you’ll be glad to know that the two pick-ups pack a powerful 3.0-liter turbo-diesel.

A Big Differential

So the two pick-ups have the same turbo-diesel engine under the hood. But the BT-50 has an ace up its sleeve. Whereas Isuzu decided not to include a rear differential lock on the top-spec 4x4 LS-E, Mazda added it to the 3.0L 4x4 A/T as standard. This means the BT-50 can take on rougher terrain with ease compared to the D-Max.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

Why is the rear diff lock a big thing for 4x4 models? For those that take their pick-up trucks off-road, having a locked diff means getting better traction and grip on both sides of the rear axle - allowing vehicles to better manage the trickiest of terrains.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

A standard “open” differential leaves one wheel to spin at a different rate versus the opposite wheel which makes for easier cornering. However, the open diff follows the path of least resistance, like how lightning finds the shortest path to the ground. So when you’re going off-road and one wheel is suspended in the air, all of the power goes to that one wheel which has minimal resistance. As a result, your vehicle could end up being stuck.

Abundance in safety

Just like its cabin, Mazda and Isuzu made sure the two vehicles have plenty of safety features.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

From anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, reverse camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors, the BT-50 and D-Max are fully equipped.

4x4 Spec Check: 2022 Mazda BT-50 vs 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

In addition, the two 4x4 pick-up trucks even come with intelligent safety systems. Isuzu calls theirs the “Advanced Driver Assist System” (ADAS) while Mazda calls it the “Active Safety Technology” (AST).

Despite the name difference, both work in the same manner and have similar features. These include pre-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and automatic high beam control.

What’s the price?

So both pick-ups are fully-loaded with tons of features, amenities, and safety tech. They’re also pretty similar in size and are powered by the same 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine that’s paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox. However, the Mazda benefits from a rear-locking differential which makes it more appealing to the off-road crowd.

Does this make the BT-50 more expensive than the D-Max? Surprisingly, the 4x4 BT-50 is more affordable at PHP 1,790,000. The 4x4 D-Max, on the other hand, retails for PHP 1,825,000. The PHP 35,000 price difference may be small for some, especially at that price point. However, the BT-50 does have a rear diff lock as standard, giving the Mazda better value for money for those that want to take it off-road.

If you’re currently in the market for a 4x4 pick-up and you have to choose between Isuzu and Mazda, which one would you take? Share your comments below.