First Look: All-New 2011 Mazda BT-50 Global Pickup Truck

First Look: All-New 2011 Mazda BT-50 Global Pickup Truck
By James Stanford for

The Mazda BT-50 is the sister truck to Ford's all-new Ranger global small pickup. Both were developed by a team led by Ford’s Australian engineering team, although Mazda had considerable input from the start.

While the trucks are almost identical underneath and share many parts, Mazda’s designers have given the BT-50 a radically different look. The Ranger is more traditional with predominantly straight edges, while Mazda has gone for a much more shapely design that it describes as emotive.

The BT-50 shares certain hard-points with its Ford twin and has the same general dimensions, but it features a different shell and tub. Its dramatic nose sets it apart from other more conservative commercial vehicles and links it to the Mazda passenger car range. In Mazda’s own words, it wanted the BT-50 to look like a “sophisticated beast.”

The truck’s chief designer, Ryo Yanagisawa, said he looked to nature for inspiration when it came to shaping the BT-50 — more specifically, a picture of a lion.


"[The lion] looked like a magnificent predator, with his muscles all bunching up as though he was about to pounce on his prey," Yanagisawa said about the picture. "His sinews were stretched taut, ready to strike, and his mane framed a sharp, masculine countenance that seemed to say, 'I am the proud king of the beasts!' In profile, that lion appeared to be both intelligent and powerful. I really wanted the design of the truck to project that kind of image. This kind of inspiration was the basis of the emotional design that we worked so hard to achieve with the all-new BT-50."

The BT-50's interior is not as wild as the exterior, but it’s a more adventurous design compared with other commercial vehicle interiors and could have originated from a car. An asymmetric dashboard arcs down and links up with the center console and a sporty instrument cluster that could be from an RX-8 sports car.

Mazda says the BT-50 was developed as an "active lifestyle vehicle," which is hardly a new claim in this segment.


The company says the BT-50 offers unique value with expressive styling, a comfortable and high-quality interior, the feel of a passenger car, and sporty and responsive driving dynamics that match the fun-to-drive characteristics that Mazda is all about.

While Ford released a lot of detail on its new Ranger, Mazda declined to release any information on the production BT-50.

It is likely there will be some sharing of the engine lineup Ford has announced, including the 2.2-liter four-cylinder and 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder turbo-diesels and 2.5-liter naturally aspirated gas engine, but Mazda is tight-lipped. It has already been announced that the two vehicles will be produced in Thailand next year. This plant is a joint venture between Ford and Mazda.

As is the case with the Ranger, there are no plans to bring the BT-50 to North America.



1. Ford Ranger
2. Ctrl + C
3. Ctrl + V


Ford and Mazda have shared compact pickups for years. It's obviously economically more sensible to do that.

UGLY. It has a surprised look, front and back. Surprised by its own ugliness, perhaps.

Lights on the tailgate? Oh boy...?!

This is the ugliest truck I've ever seen. Thank you Mazda for not bringing this to the States! I really like the Ranger though...

I like it! Since Ford won't bring the Ranger to the States maybe Mazda will fill the gap (I'll take mine in Diesel please). Otherwise the Mahindra is it.

Where are the other truck makers? Seems like ford is the only one doing anything worth writing about.

Nicest 4x4 Mazda 6 sedan i've ever seen... haahaha would rather the Ford thanks

Unlike the Ranger... the Mazda has a rental car interior:(
Anyway, Ranger vs Amrok: FIGHT!!!

I'm not getting the whole "lion pouncing on its prey" theme. The T6 looks better.
I think those are reflectorson the tailgate.

Oh No.

Shock mounts below the axle line.
Can't have that in a real offroader.
Leave the tough stuff for Toyota.
(Just filling in for Oxi today) LOL! I love it! It's different, not boring at all! Now lemme see the Ranger in the other story! It's looking good too!

MEH !!

Darn Ugly !!

It looks like a Nissan Marano, err...I mean Murano

the VW amarok beats the pants off both the ranger and mazda in the looks department.

Even worse than the SSangyong Actyon Sport.

Ranger and BT-50 may be siblings, they are sure not twins!

It's official, the compact pickup is dead in the U.S.. Someone take the animal crackers away from Yanagisawa before he styles something else.

Frontend looks like it belongs on a minivan, not a pickup.

This truck should have a shorter hood. Kind of like a van.

I think they missed an opportunity to make the visibility better by making the hood sloped so that you can't see it, the way it is in a minvan or a Prius. The visibility is better, and you can use more of the vehicle for cargo and passengers. I've been wondering why pickup trucks always have such long hoods. The engine usually isn't as long as the engine compartment, and the length of a crew cab and a useful bed are pretty long already. The styling of this truck would work better if they sloped the hood more steeply and took out the flat part of the hood.

Yes, I'm trying to break the classic pickup truck mold here a bit, but so were the designers. Plus, the size of a 3/4 ton truck is a big drawback in my particular (suburban) circumstances.

Jerimiah: "Nicest 4x4 Mazda 6 sedan i've ever seen..."

Oddly enough, that's kind-of what I'm looking for. I need an on-road vehicle for weekend DIY projects and hauling the family. Minivans are seem to be deliberately castrated by the distance between the wheel wells on the load-floor -- they're typically just a hair short of 48" (47-3/8ths is common), which means that if transport a stack of plywood or drywall, I'll gouge and rip the interior. My 1998 Ranger does OK in this respect, but the wheel wells and the 6' bed are just annoying.

So, a truck like the one in this article warrants further investigation. Too bad they didn't put the exact measurements of the cargo area into the article, though. But I guess it's irrelevant since a lot of the kind of Euro-vehicles that match my needs/tastes just aren't sold here in the US.

Maybe I should just buy a Transit Connect and get it over with -- but I sure wish they'd sell me one with a diesel engine in it.

A "Chick-Car/truck"? ...not "gettn it".

Oh-oh. Now the chick-a-fication of pickup trucks.

This thing is ugly. The Ford T6 looks much better. The interior in both trucks looks good though. These trucks would sell here in Canada & US even at 9/10 the size of an F-150 if they had the right engines. EB 4 cyl, 3.7 L V6 gas, 4 cyl. diesel. The buyer of these trucks are different than F150 buyers. They don't tow much or haul much.

We are not missing anything,What a Turd !!!

Wow!! Someone beat the crap out of this thing with an ugly stick!

If you think the front is strange, the rear is worse. I took a shot of it at the Sydney Motorshow today

Ford Ranger is a very unsafe piece of crap...Mazda looks superb front and rear

where are the real Japanese Mazda trucks of yesterday. This one is ugly. I miss my B2600 4x4

i like the rear end on this one verses the ranger front end on the ranger is better my 2003 f250 super duty is better than anything ford styling has gone down hill since i wonder how capable these 3.0 diesels are my conversion program puts the 3.2 at 197 hp and 347lb/feet of torque witch is a solid engine for this size of truck not a hot rod but good if it could get 26 mpg i am in but unfortunately the f trucks here in the states are too profitable so the best i can hope for is 5 liter diesel superduty i know keep dreaming

Saw this at the Sydney Motor Show and it did look as "unusual" as the photos suggest. The T6 Ford Ranger beats it hands down in looks.

I really like this design . Some comments sound more like people are hating at Mazda . I gues this is because Mazda is taking over USA market since 2004 with its new design and high quality product ! If they bring it over I will take it right away !!!!!!!!!

Well what a bunch of negative PEOPLE !I love the look and I have a Mazda truck that I love with 197K and I have done nothing major to it so if Mazda is involved I love it !!!!!!

I owned a 87' B2000 SE-5 long bed and always wished to have their 4-wheel drive version. I got turned off to Mazda when they did away with their truck and started using Ford for their truck. The Ford Ranger is a ugly thing to me. If Mazda could make a truck like Marty won in the' Back to the future' movie(not a Mazda but cool) then I might consider buying one

I have a Ranger and love it but wish it was deisel for better fuel milage

i would like to find out about a package deal the mazdacx5 minivan 2012 and the mazda bt50 truck both the same color.the mini was red so was the truck...we have 2010 ford king ranch 3700miles just like new wife has a 2009 kia rondo 30,000 nice little mini ....what kind of deal could we get onthetwo

looking for a deal on the 2012mazda cx5 and the mazda bt50,,,will be trading ford f150 2010 king ranch 3700 miles just like new,,,wife's car kia mini rondo30,000 miles ...looking for a package deal

hey mazda campany how do u do am edmend from ethiopia and am bulding contructer so i need used mazda pick up for my campany & also for to my frend 626 modell.can u tell me how can u send the cars & how can i pay u the money when i receved the cars.

This truck is unattractive to say the lest. I have a B4000 with bed cover and it sits high with 15 inch wheels and I get more compliments on how attractive it looks over the ranger. I had had rangers before. Had planned after owning a mazda to stay with the mazda but after seeing this I'm gonna have to go aback to range for next truck upgrade. Also I like the option of having the 6 foot bed and not being limited to this little 4 foot bed attached to a SUV stuff. Need both opptions and just a same but more luxurious look than ranger. Can you work on that.

Waaaaal, i'v got a mazda drifter & my homies always looked down upon a mazda. im so happy with this new mold that will compete with the rangers & amaroks. I felt very encouraged though i will never afford one.. Thank u mazda, this is a great shape

The comments to this entry are closed.