TG Garage

Upgraded Mazda BT-50 is right for every occasion

Very many bad things happen when the Rand does a dolphin and dives below the surface of predictability on any currency trading graph.

Your pending iPhone7 128g purchase demotes to a 16g, branded sneakers are replaced by Chinese-store imitation items and fuel becomes a lot more expensive. We’re sure you can sacrifice on Smartphone memory storage and step-out in slight discomfort, but you can’t use less fuel.

It’s the very worst of decisions, what to do when fuel prices start taking off like that SA280 flight to Perth, the one you wonder if you should be on. Either you drive a lot less or you drive something with less performance. Both of those are unacceptable outcomes in the TopGear world of logic.

This is where the Mazda BT-50 is such a saviour. Slightly less ungainly in appearance for 2017, courtesy of a new grille, bumper and lights, it’s now a more acceptable Ford Ranger clone. South Africans still refuse to consider it as such, and their denial can be your salvation from a fuel price restricted motoring future.

How? Pricing power. Despite being powered by virtually the same 147kW 3.2-litre turbodiesel five-cylinder as Ranger, and boasting similar features (though worse infotainment and phone synching), nobody’s interested in a Mazda BT-50. If you can recognise the value behind its looks, BT-50’s an absolute steal – a comparative Ranger 3.2 XLT is a bit more than R30k dearer than Mazda’s double-cab bakkie. Similar in every possible way, but for those badges on the grille, steering wheel boss and tailgate.

Both also have 80-litre fuel tanks and to fill those, cost about R950 a piece. Divide the price differential between Ranger and BT-50 by fuelling cost, and Mazda’s theoretically giving you nearly 35 tankful’s worth of fuel for free. A simply stupendous deal.

With the Mazda, you never have to ration the use of its 470 torques. This is the generous benefit of choosing a Mazda BT-50 over Ranger, with fuel to burn (okay, it’s diesel, so technically it compresses to ignite, but, whatever), you’re able to immerse yourself in the entirety of the five-cylinder double-cab bakkie ownership experience.

There’s nothing worse than having night-surfer data you can’t use. With Mazda’s BT-50, you have an every occasion useable Ford Ranger, because there’s never a sense of dread when you feel the urge to leverage that right pedal.

  • 3198cc 5cyl, turbodiesel, 4×4, 147kW, 470Nm
  • 9.7l/100km, 256g/km
  • 0-100km/h N/A, 175km/h
  • 1963kg.
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