- Doors and Seats
4 doors, 5 seats
3.0DT, 4 cyl.
- Engine Power
3 Yr, 100000 KMs
- Ancap Safety
2010 Mazda BT-50 SDX: Owner review
I purchased a 2011 registered BT-50 from a car yard here in Townsville. One owner, full service history, only 140K on the clock and a load of aftermarket goodies attached.
A very good ute, however…
I purchased a 2011 registered BT-50 from a car yard here in Townsville. One owner, full service history, only 140K on the clock and a load of aftermarket goodies attached. It was $21,000, which is too much but this is the world we live in now.
I wasn’t really looking at BT-50s when I bought it. I was after a HiLux or a D-Max, both vehicles I had as work cars in remote areas of the NT. As such, I trusted them. However, in the case of the HiLux, one the same age with the same mileage as the BT-50 would have been upwards of 15 grand more expensive. I decided that it probably wasn’t 15 grand better so I took the plunge.
To be blunt, the BT-50 is a bit of a pig. The suspension (especially the rear) is harsh, it’s loud by modern standards, and it is horrible on fuel – although mine is an auto with a massive steel bullbar and A/T tyres, which is definitely not helping. I get about 11L/100km on the highway, which is not great.
It’s also slow. The 3.0TD produces a meagre 115kW. It has 380Nm of torque, which was reasonable for the day (miles behind modern utes, though), but despite this, overtaking manoeuvres require careful planning. Again, the aftermarket bits on mine take it to over two tonnes, which certainly won’t help matters.
Not the most sophisticated vehicle to drive, but it is better than you’d expect in some key areas. Amazingly, it corners very well for a high-riding ute. It can tow up to 2500kg (3000kg in the manual). I haven’t towed anything with it yet so I can’t comment on that.
With regard to reliability, mine has been pretty good so far. I’ve had a few minor gremlins, most notably the shift actuator that engages 4WD. They are a known weak point in this vehicle. Thankfully, a new one can be purchased on eBay for $80 and it’s a 15-minute job to replace, just four bolts.
The EGR coolers and gearboxes are notorious for giving trouble on these, but I’ve not had any issues this far. A gearbox service was done recently to ease my mind. As for the EGR cooler, many BT-50/Ranger owners blank this off, which is illegal and means it won’t pass a roadworthy. Do what you want, but I’m going to replace mine next service and keep it legal. There are other potential issues – injectors, most notably, but that can be expected on many diesels these days.
The 3.0TD is otherwise a pretty reliable motor and they routinely get to half a million kays. Not as good as a HiLux but still not bad. Off-road, it’s as good as you’d expect. Mine is on stock suspension, however, with the Cooper AT3 tyres on mine it does well enough. The shift-on-the-fly function in the auto works quickly and you can shift into 4H at speeds up to 100km/h, which is useful. It’s got me everywhere I need to go anyway.
Overall, I like it a lot. It’s got many, many flaws but nothing that you can’t live with. It is a ute that was first released almost 20 years ago (and the platform on which it's built dates back to the '90s B-Series ute), so one has to be realistic about one’s expectations! It has taken me across north and west Queensland without any issues, including a recent 2500km trip.
You could do worse!
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