2021 Mazda BT-50 previewed, to switch to Isuzu D-Max underpinnings

Mazda Australia has confirmed “something huge” is coming soon, with all signs pointing to the all-new 2021 Mazda BT-50. This is set to be the first all-new BT-50 since the current-generation model was introduced back in 2011.

The new model is set to coincide with the arrival of the 2021 Isuzu D-Max, slated to go on sale in Australia in July. Why? Well, instead of borrowing underpinnings from the Ford Ranger like the first two generation models, the new third-gen BT-50 is switching to Isuzu thanks to a partnership agreement announced in 2016.

With this we can expect the updated 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder Isuzu motor being introduced for the BT-50, swapping out the five-cylinder Ford unit. Isuzu recently made some pretty significant revisions to the dependable four-banger, resulting in lifted outputs. It now produces 140kW and 450Nm (up from 130kW/430Nm).

This (likely) means the 2021 BT-50 will be less powerful than the outgoing model, with less torque compared with the current 3.2-litre turbo-diesel five that develops 147kW and 470Nm (in auto form). However, the new D-Max is set to be lighter than the outgoing BT-50. In fact, in top-spec form the current BT-50 GT dual-cab auto weighs 2118kg (kerb) while the top-spec D-Max LS-T dual-cab auto weighs 2026kg (kerb)

The 2021 D-Max might even be lighter again as it’s underpinned by a fresh platform. It features redeveloped front and rear suspension, with reduced arm throws for the double-wishbone front end and new warm-stress shot-peened leaf springs at the back to improve comfort and strength.

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There’s also a completely new body with more defined panel contours, LED tech for the headlights and optional bi-LED units, and an updated tailgate and clear-lens taillights. Why are we talking so much about the 2021 D-Max? Well, Mazda is yet to confirm any hard details yet we expect pretty similar things to be showcased on the 2021 BT-50. However, Mazda is expected to apply its own unique exterior and interior styling.

Mazda Australia used its Instagram page to send out a teaser image, which shows a typical poorly-lit silhouette of a dual-cab ute. Its caption confirms a debut for June 17. The post says:

“Something huge is coming. Tune in on 17 June, 11am AEST⁠ for the global launch of a once in a generation Mazda. Set⁠ your reminder now.”

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.