New tough guy ute arrives in Australia

Another blockbuster dual-cab ute is about to hit Aussie roads where it’ll take on top-shelf versions of the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux.

Mazda is beefing up its new BT-50 dual-cab ute.

The Japanese brand has introduced the new four-wheel drive BT-50 Thunder – a range topping version of its dual-cab ute.

It brings tough guy looks, increased equipment and a higher price tag.

Prices kick off at $65,990 drive-away for manual versions and $68,990 when equipped with an automatic, which is about $3000 more than the former range-topping GT version.

This price compares favourably to rivals such as the Ford Ranger Wildtrak X and Toyota HiLux Rugged X.

The extra spend comes with more than $13,000 total value according to Mazda Australia.

Additional equipment includes a single-loop black bull bar with an LED light bar and Thunder decals.

The macho image is further bolstered by 18-inch black alloy wheels, side steps, fender flares and sports bar. It also comes with an electronic locking tonneau cover.

Mazda Australia boss, Vinesh Bhindi, says the BT-50 has been well received since its launch last year and the Thunder is custom-built for the Australian market.

“The range-topping, uniquely-Australian BT-50 Thunder makes a strong statement with a bold and assertive aesthetic, while retaining the high level of specification and safety attributes expected of a Brand-New BT-50 model,” says Bhindi.

Power comes from the same 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel unit making 140kW and 450Nm as the rest of the BT-50 range.

Mazda claims the Thunder will sip 7.7L/100km when fitted with a six-speed manual or 8.0L/100km when paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Thunder comes with a full suite of active safety gear including auto emergency braking, blind spot detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert among others.

Mazda has decked out the interior with heated brown leather front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, dual zone aircon with rear vents and a nine-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The BT-50 Thunder goes on sale in April.

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