Mazda has finally whipped the covers off its new BT-50, giving the bakkie its first full redesign in almost a decade.

While the outgoing BT-50 shares much with the Ford Ranger, this third-generation model is based on Isuzu’s new D-Max (the latter is scheduled to start rolling off the Port Elizabeth assembly line only in the second half of 2021 although production in Thailand has already started).

Indeed, Mazda officially says the “all-new BT-50 is supplied by Isuzu Motor Limited on an OEM basis”.

Like the D-Max on which it’s based, the flagship double-cab variant of the new BT-50 is powered by Isuzu’s 3,0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which delivers 140 kW at 3 600 r/min and 450 N.m from 1 600 to 2 600 r/min (that’s a little down on the outgoing 3,2-litre five-pot’s 147 kW and 470 N.m). Fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission, this 4×4 range-topper boasts a maximum payload of 1 065 kg and a braked towing capacity of 3 500 kg.

The new BT-50 measures 5 280 mm long, 1 870 mm wide and 1 790 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 3 125 mm. It will be available with a locking rear differential, low-range gearing and an 800 mm wading depth.

So, what about the design? Well, there are certainly shades of the CX-9 in the new bakkie’s front end, with Mazda describing it as expressing a combination of “power, toughness and utilitarian functionality”. The taillamps, meanwhile, are of a more conventional design than those of its predecessor.

Inside, the new BT-50 predictably shares much with the latest D-Max, including its nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (it thus does without Mazda’s own MZD Connect arrangement). The newcomer also offers a rake- and reach-adjustable steering column.