2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 dual-cab review

2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 dual-cab review
  • Doors and Seats


    4 doors, 5 seats

  • Engine


    3.0DT, 4 cyl.

  • Engine Power


    140kW, 450Nm

  • Fuel


    Diesel 8L/100KM

  • Manufacturer



  • Transmission


    6 Spd Auto

  • Warranty


    5 Yr, Unltd KMs

  • Ancap Safety


    5/5 star (2020)


Rob Margeit

With dual-cab utes increasingly pressed into service as family haulers, we put the mid-spec Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 through its urban paces.

  • Exterior styling is a winner
  • Gutsy turbo-diesel powertrain
  • Good list of standard equipment
  • Still feels like a ute on the road, despite its handsome exterior promising otherwise
  • Automatic transmission can be too eager
  • Isuzu infotainment set-up not as good as regular Mazda system

It can’t be easy living in the shadow of your more famous sibling. But that’s exactly the fate that befalls the 2022 Mazda BT-50, which shares much of its underpinnings with the 2022 Isuzu D-Max dual-cab ute.

And that’s no bad thing, the pair jointly winning the coveted 2022 Drive Car of the Year – Best Dual-Cab Ute award, praised for their refinement levels married to go-anywhere ruggedness.

The Mazda BT-50, though, approaches the world of dual-cabs differently to the D-Max. Whereas the D-Max still looks the rugged utilitarian part with its truck-like fascia and workmanlike lines, Mazda’s reskin has added some softer lines redolent of the brand’s broader passenger car range. It is unmistakably a Mazda.

Today’s ute has come a long way from its workhorse origins and needs to serve multiple masters. From traditional tradies to adventurous off-roaders, from the towing kings and increasingly to families, the ute of today really is a multi-purpose vehicle.

The Mazda BT-50 range encapsulates this modern dichotomy with its sleek family-friendly design married to its tough-as-guts 3.0-litre turbo diesel powertrain underpinning its on- and off-road credentials.

The Mazda BT-50 range is a big one, with a price spread running from $33,950 to $68,290 (plus on-road costs) and covering the full gamut of buyers’ needs – two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive; single-cab, double-cab, or cab-chassis (bring your own tray); automatic transmission or manual gearbox; 3.0-litre turbo diesel or, new for 2022, 1.9-litre turbo diesel.

On test here we have the mid-spec 2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 dual-cab with an automatic transmission and it’s arguably the sweet spot in the range for buyers prioritising family duties. It’s priced at $57,510 plus on-road costs (or around $62,000 drive-away), and while not screaming premium motoring, it offers plenty enough in terms of equipment and creature comforts.

Standard equipment highlights include 18-inch alloys, LED headlights and daytime running lights, dual-zone climate control, 9.0-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ digital radio, a rear-view camera, keyless entry and push-button start, an eight-speaker sound system, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and power-folding mirrors.

Ute-essential additions include a lockable tailgate, side steps for easier entry and exit, and underbody protection for when you want to tackle some rougher terrain.

Of course, the ‘lifestyle’ ute buyer is spoilt for choice in a segment that continues to grow. Rivals to the BT-50 XTR include the ever-popular Toyota HiLux SR5 Double Cab ($58,680), and the recently launched and all-new Ford Ranger XLT Dual Cab with its 2.0-litre twin-turbo powertrain priced at $61,190 (plus on-roads).

Comparing like-for-like in terms of engine displacement if not cylinder count, the Ford Ranger XLT with the meatier 3.0-litre V6 asks for $64,190, while the BT-50’s fraternal twin, the Isuzu D-Max in LS-U dual-cab trim, comes in at $53,300 plus on-road costs. Both the Mazda and Isuzu feature a 3.0-litre diesel under the bonnet, but whereas the Ford’s is a grunty V6, the Japanese twins enjoy an inline-four configuration.

No shortage of competition for the BT-50 then. Let’s see how it fares in a week-long test of its urban-focussed, family-friendly credentials.

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Key details2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 Dual-cab
Price (MSRP)$57,510 plus on-road costs
Colour of test carIngot Silver
OptionsMetallic paint – $695

Tub mat – $700

Price as tested$58,505 plus on-road costs
RivalsIsuzu D-Max | Toyota HiLux | Ford Ranger

The first word that springs to mind when stepping inside the BT-50’s cabin (via those handy side steps) is ‘mature’.

The ute segment has come a long way since those early days of vinyl everywhere, which was designed to be hosed out after a hard day’s yakka on the worksite or a down-and-dirty weekend tackling muddy terrain.

In its place, utes are increasingly presenting as family-focussed urban dailies, and never is this more evident than in their cabins, which now mirror those found in the broader automotive spectrum. And the BT-50, certainly in XTR trim, does this well.

Cloth seats might not seem like the stuff of high-end, but the fabric is visually interesting thanks to some textured patterns. More importantly, they feel comfortable and supportive, which is ideal for those long road trips.

The multi-function steering wheel is wrapped in leather with faux-aluminium garnish and looks like it could have come out of just about any Mazda in the Japanese brand’s line-up. This statement is true of the entire cabin, which presents more car- (or SUV-) like than workaday utility.

And yet, while it feels like a Mazda car interior, there are some annoying – and minor – quirks that downgrade what should be – at around $63K on the road – a more premium experience. There’s no volume knob, for instance, a trend we’ve long lamented here at Drive.

Comfort up front is good, while aesthetically there are enough softer surfaces to justify the BT-50’s price. Some harder plastics – such as on the doors – do infiltrate what is otherwise a nicely resolved interior.

Storage options up front abound including a pair of cupholders, a decently sized central storage bin, bottle holders in the door pockets, and a handy slide-out storage tray housed in the dash that is ideal for hiding valuables away from prying eyes. That’s in addition to the regular glovebox.

The second row is where the BT-50 claws back some points, with a comfortable bench that offers plenty of space for back seat passengers. The seatbacks, helpfully, are nicely angled, and not something that every dual-cab ute can claim where rigidly upright seating positions rule the day.

There are separate air vents back there, too, as well as a single USB point, while a fold-down armrest houses a pair of cupholders. The outboard seats are fitted with a pair of ISOFIX child seat mounts.

Out back it’s all business with a tub measuring 1571mm long, 1120mm wide between the wheel arches, and 490mm high. Its payload is rated at 1070kg.

Our test vehicle came fitted with a $700 tub mat that covers the floor of the load area but not the tailgate or sides. A full-fruit tub liner protecting all surfaces can be optioned for $952, and one of a multitude of accessories designed to enhance your BT-50. Soft tonneau covers start at $989, while a hard cover for the cargo area starts at $3207 and tops out at $3995 for an electric roller tonneau cover.

2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 Dual-cab

Infotainment and Connectivity

The 9.0-inch touchscreen nestled into the dash of the BT-50 has been taken from the Isuzu catalogue rather than Mazda’s. It’s serviceable enough, and features inbuilt sat-nav and DAB+ digital radio, while also hosting wireless (or wired) smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It also runs Isuzu’s operation system, and that means a slightly less refined experience than that offered by Mazda’s own Connect OS. It’s simply not as refined as Mazda’s OS, and we can’t help but feel this is one area where Isuzu could have benefited from Mazda’s input.

Chunky graphics, particularly in mapping, look a bit dated, while the rear-view camera resolution isn’t the sharpest.

Wireless Apple CarPlay works well enough but can sometimes struggle to connect quickly. We’re becoming increasingly used to cars where CarPlay connects from the moment you open the door. This isn’t one of them.

Still, smartphone mirroring hides most of the proprietary system’s shortcomings, and we’d wager more people than not would take the Apple/Android path.

A single USB – as well as a 12V – plug up front helps keep devices juiced up, the BT-50 in this spec not equipped with wireless phone charging. A wireless charging mat can be ordered from Mazda’s accessory catalogue. It’s $361.

The eight-speaker audio system, again, like the broader infotainment set-up, is serviceable if not outright brilliant.

It’s a similar tale with driver information, with traditional analogue dials flanking a small but serviceable digital display that provides trip data and the like, as well as a small digital speed readout.

One area Mazda hasn’t scrimped on is active safety technologies. The entire range is fitted with a full suite of safety tech including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a driver attention monitor, and adaptive cruise control.

ANCAP awarded the Mazda BT-50 range – bar the top-of-the-range Thunder variant – a five-star safety rating in 2020 based on the structurally identical Isuzu D-Max.

It scored highly in adult occupant protection (83 per cent), even better in child occupant protection (89 per cent), although down a little in vulnerable road user protection (67 per cent). Its safety systems were scored at 84 per cent.

A suite of eight airbags, including a front centre airbag designed to mitigate head clashes between front seat occupants in the event of an accident, covers both rows.

2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 Dual-cab
ANCAP ratingFive stars (tested 2020)
Safety reportLink to ANCAP report

Certainly when lined up against similarly specified rivals in the ‘lifestyle’ column of the segment. It’s a burgeoning segment, one where buyers are demanding ever more refinement from their once workmanlike dual-cabs, and one that Mazda has catered to reasonably well with the XTR.

Mazda covers the BT-50 with its standard five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty that bundles in five years of roadside assistance should any mishap befall your BT-50. Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

Visits to the workshop will set you back $443, $409, $699, $524 and $329 over the first five years or 75,000km, a total of $2404, or under $500 a year when amortised.

At a glance2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4X4 Dual-cab
WarrantyFive years / unlimited km
Service intervals12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs$1551 (3 years), $2404 (5 years)

Mazda reckons the BT-50 XTR 4×4 with automatic transmission will use 8.0L/100km of diesel on the combined cycle.

Our week with the BT-50 couldn’t quite match that number, dipping to a respectable low of 8.2 litres before settling on an indicated 8.6L/100km. The fuel tank measures in at 76L.

Fuel UseageFuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed)8.0L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test)8.6L/100km
Fuel typeDiesel
Fuel tank size76L

The big dog under the BT-50’s bonnet is the same as found in the Isuzu D-Max. It comes from the Isuzu catalogue, and that’s no bad thing, the 3.0-litre, inline four-cylinder turbo diesel rightfully lauded for its torquey nature.

Outputs are rated at 140kW at 3600rpm and a meaty 450Nm at a very user-friendly 1600–2600rpm. An Aisin-sourced six-speed conventional automatic transmission feeds a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a dual-speed 4WD High and 4WD Low transfer case.

As this is an urban-focussed test, we didn’t test the BT-50’s off-road mettle, spending our time instead on the streets in the suburbs of Sydney. And that means we only ever had the BT-50 in two-wheel-drive mode, the drivetrain combination sending power exclusively to the rear wheels. Four-wheel-drive modes, whether high or low, are reserved only for loose surfaces like gravel, sand, mud and rocks. Don’t switch to 4WD on sealed surfaces.

Around town, the BT-50 chugs along as you’d expect of a diesel-powered ute. There’s a gruffness from the engine that is a little at odds with the BT-50’s more refined interior and stylish exterior.

It feels its size, certainly, the BT-50 not a ute to shrink around you as some larger vehicles can. In the tight enclaves of the inner city, the Mazda can overwhelm its surroundings, but that disappears once out on the broader expanses of the suburbs. A nicely weighted yet light steering tune ensures this is one ute that can navigate tighter environs with relative ease.

With peak torque on tap as low as 1600rpm, the Mazda has no trouble moving away briskly from standstill, even if the 3.0-litre diesel chugs and clatters along somewhat lazily. Ask more of the engine for, say, an overtake or merge, and the engine responds, but perhaps not as sharply as one would like.

Out on the highway, the BT-50 settles into an easy lope, underwritten by that lazy turbo diesel that grumbles along with minimal effort. This is a good thing, the BT-50 at cruising speeds remaining relatively unstressed at higher speeds.

The six-speed auto is, for the most part, intuitive, although can be a little too eager in the hunt for fuel-saving high gears, particularly around town where it can leave you in a bit of a torque hole. A firmer right foot fixes this, but it comes at the expense, paradoxically, of fuel consumption.

The suspension set-up is decent, if not great, unable to hide its ute underpinnings of double wishbones up front and leaf springs and a live rear axle out back. That makes for a jittery ride when unladen, a compromise ute owners everywhere have to live with if they don’t regularly carry a payload out back. This is felt most navigating the kind of obstacles urban road planners like to increasingly throw our way, such as speed humps.

At higher speeds, however, such as out on the motorway, and even with the tub unladen, the BT-50 is happy to settle into a smooth, if firm, ride.

Mazda says the BT-50 is tow-rated to 750kg unbraked and 3500kg braked. Its downball rating is 350kg. Our urban-focussed testing didn’t include hitching a trailer, caravan or boat out back.

Overall, the BT-50 on the road proved less refined than its exterior design suggests. But, a generously torquey drivetrain and mostly slick transmission calibration proved suitable to the demands and rigours this test placed on it.

Key details2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 Dual-cab
Engine3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power140kW @ 3600rpm
Torque450Nm @ 1600–2600rpm
Drive typePart-time four-wheel drive
TransmissionSix-speed torque converter automatic
Power to weight ratio69kW/t
Weight (kerb)2030kg
Tow rating3500kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle12.5m

This middle-of-the-rung-specification Mazda BT-50 XTR is a timely reminder that dual-cabs-as-urban-dailies are here, and here to stay. Certainly, its styling is a winner, the BT-50 presenting a more mature and elegant design outside, while its smart interior looks more car-like than a dual-cab ever has.

But, it still remains first and foremost a utility vehicle, one whose drivetrain is capable and with a suspension set-up designed for 1000kg in the tub. That’s felt most keenly on the school run, the BT-50 fidgeting its way through suburban streets in a compromise of tough-as-nails ability over comfort.

It’s a compromise, however, buyers are increasingly happy to live with, opting for the rugged appeal of a dual-cab and increasingly the interior comfort of a family SUV. For those buyers, the 2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 dual-cab is worthy of consideration.

Ratings Breakdown

2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR Utility Dual Cab

8.2/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Budget Direct

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Estimate details

2022 Mazda BT-50 XTR 4×4 dual-cab review

Rob Margeit

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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