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Every day’s a hauler day

IT’S NOT VERY often that you find a pickup as sophisticatedly handsome as the all-new Mazda BT-50. After all, pickup trucks are stereotypically aggressive and brusque, often serving a primarily utilitarian nature. But Mazda, as we know, always chooses to be different. And as in the case of the latest-gen BT-50, I bet you would not have even guessed that you were staring at a pickup, when you first had the chance to look straight into its front fascia.

And perhaps the best thing about it is that, being a Mazda, it shares all the company’s latest brand values which capitalize on perfecting every vehicle’s human-machine ergonomics and driving synergy — not to mention its premium materials and workmanship, especially at its given price point. Combined with fluidic looks and that very specific “zoom-zoom” driving pleasure that encourages strong bonds to form between drivers and their cars, you know what I’m getting at.

“The new BT-50 brings power, stature, and prestige into the pickup market as it sits proudly among the rest of our Kodo: Soul of Motion-inspired lineup,” explained Mazda Philippines President and CEO Steven Tan during the local launch. He added that, “It is a confident expression of strength and versatility tempered by style and boldness that will allow its driver to experience life to the fullest. Our customers will surely find in the new BT-50 the same premium quality, comfort, durability and driving satisfaction that they have come to expect from every Mazda.”

The all-new BT-50 will only be sold with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel, six-speed automatic in the Philippines. It is an engine-transmission spec carefully selected by its local distributor — Bermaz — based on the country’s market trends and its demographic of Mazda clientele. The engine’s electronically controlled VGS turbocharger offers power that is now available over a wider range. It is also gifted with very strong low-end torque to keep the vehicle more relaxed, with a maximum of 450Nm at just 1,600rpm.

The BT-50 will be available here as a double cab carrying a tub that is 1,530mm wide, 490mm deep, and 1,571mm long. All variants will come with a bedliner that is meant to serve as a membrane to protect the cargo bed. As the units will also come in both 4×4 and 4×2 variants, the 4×4 will also carry a functional roof rail for customers who wish to have overhead cargo-carrying ability.

As Steven Tan emphasized that “you can’t get more utilitarian than a pickup truck,” more related features are also now integrated into the latest BT-50’s design and architecture. Inside the cabin are larger bottle holders that can accommodate containers bearing up to 1.5 liters. Available in the front and rear are 2.1A USB ports; and an auto-dimming rearview mirror also makes it more convenient to fight glare while driving at night. Its car key now has a remote engine start button that allows the driver to switch on the engine from a distance and start cooling the cabin before he or she boards the vehicle. Along with its keyless entry and walk-away auto-lock system, there are lots of little conveniences that make life a tad bit easier.

Among the BT-50’s other useful niceties are its secret compartments located underneath the rear seats to enable occupants to store items that are out of temptation’s sight. The pickup is also equipped with a nine-inch LCD touchscreen infotainment system that is already Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-ready. An eight-speaker surround setup with door woofers and on-dash tweeters gift the cabin with audible pleasures. Moreover, with the meticulousness of Mazda engineers, they have strategically lined the cabin with foam fillers to further reduce noise, vibrations, and harshness — providing only the best quality of quietness possible.

When it comes down to off-roading business, the BT-50 4×4 variant offers an electronically controlled Drive Selector that can enable either 2WD Low, 2WD High, 4WD Low, or 4WD High power delivery. Of course, it also comes with a rear differential lock, to make it a true off-roading machine.

Furthermore, the BT-50 has a cache of goodies in the safety department with its Mazda Active Safety Technology suite. These include Adaptive Cruise Control (which adds a lot of extra convenience to the driver for certain applications), Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning, a Blind-spot Monitoring system, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. And should there be a collision, the pickup is equipped with seven air bags, which include a driver’s knee air bag and front side air bags.

But equally impressive is the BT-50’s price point, which is at P1.39 million for the 4×2 MT, P1.43 million for the 4×2 AT, and P1.79 for the top-of-the-line 4×4 AT. They are all offered alongside Mazda Philippines’ five-year/100,000-kilometer free service plan, which covers the expenses for each new vehicle’s periodic maintenance — including the engine oil, all scheduled replacement parts, and of course, the labor.

The all-new Mazda BT-50 is available at all Mazda dealers nationwide.

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