The Mazda BT-50 bakkie has been given a bit of a facelift, but it interestingly applies only to the Australian market.

Billed as “major front-end design changes”, the styling update includes a new (boxier) front bumper, fresh grille and larger fog-lamp surrounds, which Mazda says results in a “stronger road stance”.

Created exclusively for the Australian market, Mazda says the facelift’s “engineering and development process took 18 months, with the vehicle undergoing rigorous testing”. According to drive.com.au, Queensland-based aftermarket supplier EGR will produce and fit the BT-50's fresh face.

“It’s not a case of the old model looking ugly; we needed a fresh face,” said Alastair Doak, Mazda Australia marketing director, according to the publication.

“Our bosses in Japan are very happy with it and it’s a case of how we keep the current as fresh as possible, and this is the result,” he added.

The styling changes are accompanied by standard equipment upgrades across the Australian range, including the introduction of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Of course, the BT-50 shares much with the Ford Ranger, although it’s far off the sales pace of its Blue Oval cousin, both in Australia and here in South Africa.

The next-generation version of Mazda’s bakkie will be developed by Isuzu alongside the new KB after the two Japanese firms reached a basic agreement in 2016. And Mazda promises that it will be more assertive in its styling, with the new BT-50 set to lose its so-called “smile”.

Do you think Mazda Southern Africa should follow Australia's lead and introduce a local facelift? Leave a comment below...