Mazda’s next-gen BT-50 pickup, is now based on the Isuzu D-Max. Unveiled late this week in Australia, the Kodo design language, new powertrain, and Isuzu underpinnings add up to create a great pickup truck.

Written By- Neehan Rashid  Pictures: Mazda

After nine years of service, Mazda has finally decided to give its BT-50 pickup truck a full overhaul. Heading for its third generation, the old workhorse will be using the Isuzu D-Max as its starting point. Unveiled via live stream by Mazda Australia late last week, this is the first time we are seeing the Japanese marque use its Kodo design language for a product which has the main focus of being rugged and utilitarian. With the incorporation of smooth-edged sheet metal and a front end that pulls inspiration from Mazda’s CX-5 and CX-9 crossovers, it can be considered to be a good combination.

However, we shouldn’t only focus on the luxe looks of the new BT-50, as the greatest change comes in the form of its underpinnings. Mazda has abandoned its aging Ford-based componentry for the new Isuzu D-Max platform. The BT-50 is also bringing a new powertrain and will come with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-four motor, producing 188 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, as the only option.  But the customers get to choose between two- and four-wheel-drive, mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. According to Mazda, the BT-50 will handle a towing capacity of 7716 pounds and max payload of 2348 pounds. These figures are slightly better than those of the mid-size pickups like the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Tacoma that are competing in the same market.

The BT-50’s interior can be considered to be typical Mazda, but it also appears to have a better layout in some areas that the other vehicles in the marque’s lineup lack. The 9.0-inch touchscreen and climate controls shared with the Isuzu D-Max fits nicely into the dash.

This is something new compared to the knob-controlled, non-touchscreen units found erupting from the dashboard in the rest of Mazda’s lineup. Apart from that difference, the seats, steering wheel, door panels, and other materials look to be on par with the quality Mazda is expected to deliver. Prices and on-sale dates haven’t yet been released, but we do know that the American market will not be blessed by the new pickup.