2011 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck: High hopes?

Sharing its underpinnings with the all-new 2011 Ford Ranger, the 2011 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck looks like a love child of a Mazda CX-9, Mitsubishi L200 and Dr. Frankenstein.

2011 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck

The truck is designed by a certain Ryo Yanagisawa, who is not particularly well-known in the business.

For some reason, Mr. Yanagisawa decided that the truck (a workhorse, which is supposed to play in the same ballpark with a modest Ford Ranger, which it is in fact based on, not with the flashy F150 Raptor) should look like one of the Japanese brand’s current crossover SUVs. From where I stand, not the brightest idea, but at least the two trucks do not look like identical twins. According to the Japanese brand, they share only three elements of their exterior: windscreen, roof and rear screen: a great progress if you compare the new vehicle to the first generation BT-50.

Still, the exterior could look a lot better or, at least, not as pretentious as it is.

2011 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck (front view)

Although speaking the same Nagare design tongue as the rest of the family and pretending to be a trend setter, the truck nevertheless looks like… Well, like just another Japanese truck. The competitor that first comes to mind is the Mitsubishi L200 pickup.

Both vehicles sport the same prominent wheel arches, huge hood and an energetically sloping front windshield. Even the C-pillars look almost identical to each other. The main difference between the two is that the L200 can in fact be used for serious off-roading, while the 2011 Mazda BT-50 is better suited for paved roads and will rarely see real mud. However, the BT-50 is better suited for, um, the heavy lifting: like its sibling Ranger T6, a diesel-powered version of the truck is rated for a maximum payload of 1333 kilos, while a single cab L200 with a 134 bhp oil-burner is rated for just 1145 kg (2359 lbs).

The 2011 Mazda BT-50 also looks like a better choice in terms of interior. While plastic panels, as usual, look boring and, well, cheap, the cabin seems to have better ergonomics, more comfort features, and doesn’t make an impression like it was designed as homage to USS Enterprise’ bridge.

One thing that is clearly more user friendly in L200’s cabin is the 1DIN stereo system, which is easy to replace with an aftermarket unit in case your inner audiophile demands better sound. In Mazda, you are probably stuck with the stereo that goes with the truck. Thank Ford for that.

There is still virtually no info as to the vehicle’s specs but the truck is expected to sport the same pair of diesel engines that are available for its sibling — the 2011 Ford Ranger.

2011 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck (rear view)

The entry level 2×4 model will probably be equipped with a relatively small 147 hp / 375 Nm 2.2 four-cylinder TDCi powerplant, while the 4×4 versions will receive a 3.2-liter Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel with an intercooler, which is capable of producing 200 hp and 470 Nm of torque.

The truck will reportedly go to the assembly line in June, 2011. It will be built at the same manufacturing facility in Thailand, which is going to also build the 2011 Ford Ranger.

2011 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck (interior)

Photos: Mazda

See also: 2006 Mazda BT-50 pickup truck