Best Bakkie 2022 Finalist: Mazda BT-50 1.9TD DC Active

Quite astoundingly, Mazda only mentions that the all-new BT-50 is a bakkie once, a long, long way into its press info. Even more surprising considering that it’s one of the better all-rounders among the seven Best Bakkie ’22 finalists.

A wild bout of bakkie wife swapping of late

There’s been a lot of wife swapping in the bakkie world of late. Ford divorced Mazda and married Volkswagen. Mercedes died and widow Nissan has hooked up with Mitsubishi. Which dumped Fiat. And jilted Mazda is now in bed with Isuzu. This BT-50 is the spawn of that last entente. But it’s built in Thailand, while the D-Max will be made in PE. The old BT-50 of course came from Pretoria. Incestuous? Indeed!

So, this is the BT-50 stepsister in that new Isazda nest. The D-Max will follow early next year. Remember, it takes a little longer to commission an entire manufacturing facility than to pop a few bakkies over on a ro-ro ship. So there’s another most intriguing twist to this one. This is actually the next D-Max in drag. We also asked for the all-new 110 kW 350 Nm 1.9-litre turbodiesel rear-wheel drive version with a lockable differential. Rather than the upgraded 3-litre 4×4. Which makes this the only truly all-new bakkie in this lot.

Another aspect we enjoy about this bakkie – yes, Mazda, it really is a bakkie – is that it’s a good old basic worker. And a splendid base if you are inclined to tweak yours a bit with your own wheels, tyres, bards and accessories. Instead of just being another sheep in the crowd of dime a dozen run-out and special editions.

Looks great. Even in boer bakkie white

It certainly looks the part. Even in boer bakkie white sans any trimmings. BT-50s Mazda SUV-like Kodo design language is completely different from its Isuzu sibling up front. But you will be challenged to tell them apart from the back, once the D-Max hits the road. This base bakkie is well specced. It runs 17 inch alloys, has LED daytime running lamps and rain-sensing wipers. BT’s ample bay is good for a ton’s load and even has a lockable gate.

Remote keyless access opens up a comfortable, typically spacious and durable quality Mazda cabin. It’s human centric design boasts a connected feel. You sit on a comfy six-way adjustable fine stitched black fabric driver’s pew behind a multifunction steering wheel. Striking dials comprise a smart odo and rev-counter each side of a multi-information display. The 7-inch Auto, CarPlay and USB infotainment touchscreen sits in a 9-inch frame and does the job well. It has 6-speaker surround sound and a reverse camera.

The new BT-50 comes with a 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating. It has driver and driver’s knee, passenger, curtain and side airbags, ISOFIX kid seat mounts and auto locking. Add ABS and EBD brakes, stability and traction, hill launch and descent controls, and rollover and trailer sway mitigation. Ample safety. Without overdoing it.

Why does Mazda defy what BT-50 really is?

Performance is more than adequate for an entry double-cab. This RWD 1.9 can pull a 2.1 ton braked trailer. Which means we can tow our race car or two horses in a box and a darn decent boat too. You’d need the 4×4 to tow more than three tons. If you ever needed that. Once again, in conclusion we go back to this year’s theme. What is a bakkie? The BT-50 is a damn good one. Only problem is that Mazda seems to think it’s something else. Now that’s a first!

Mazda BT-50 1.9TD DC Active
Engine: 110 kW 350 Nm 1.9-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 6-speed auto RWD
Payload:          1000 kg
Towing Capacity:  2100 kg
0-100 km/h:       10.30 sec
0-400m:           17.6 sec @ 127 km/h
80-120 km/h:      8.05 sec
Fuel:             6.6 l/100 km
CO2:              187 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y unl./3y unl. km
PRICE:            R647K
Best Bakkie 2022 Index
Ford Ranger 2.0bT DC 4x4 Stormtrak
GWM P Series 2.0TD DC LT 4x4
Mahindra Pik Up 2.2 CRDe DC 4x4
Mazda BT-50 1.9TD DC Active A
Mitsubishi Triton 2.4DI-D DC 4x4  
Nissan Navara 2.5DDTi DC PRO-2X
Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 DC 4x4 Legend RS A
Best Bakkie Top 3
Best Bakkie 2022 Winner
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