There’s some musical chairs going on with a few of our favorite global-market small trucks never destined to come to the U.S. The Mazda BT-50, currently based on the Ford Ranger, will be based on the Isuzu D-Max, which is basically a Chevy Colorado, for its next iteration. Make sense?
Mazda and Isuzu jointly released the most unsexy press release I’ve ever seen simply stating; “Isuzu will produce next-generation pick-up trucks for Mazda, based on Isuzu’s pick-up truck model.”
Isuzu’s pickup model is the D-Max, which comes in the same flavors of four door, extended cab, and chassis cab as the global Ranger.
Also like the Ranger, the D-Max is a basic mid-sized pickup truck with a turbocharged diesel engine and available manual transmission designed with a focus around efficiency rather than rock-crushing capabilities .
Since the Mazda BT-50 was just facelifted for 2016, it’s presumed that the changeover will take place around the 2018 or 2019 model year at which point the D-Max will probably go through a refresh as well.
No word yet on what the practical differentiators will be between the Mazda and Isuzu-branded versions, besides a front bumper. But you can expect to see both models doing duty in the South Pacific and other markets that are not the U.S.A.
It will compete with vehicles like the Toyota Hilux, Volkswagan Amarok, Nissan Navara (the global Frontier), and Renault Alaskan (rebadged on the Navara), but not full-sized trucks like the Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado.
As it stands, the BT-50's look is... unique. That swoop from the front fender across the door is lovely, and the face almost looks like it could work on a sport sedan. Almost.
I can’t imagine this slippery shape going over well with us aggressive, brick-loving Americans, but the design is cohesive enough to work within the geometry of a truck.
Definitely looks weirdly half-built with a tray bed, though. And by “weird” I mean “I kind of want one.”
We’ll keep our eyes open for details as they break out. But I don’t believe a U.S. version is likely—even if the Mazda parts could be made to bolt up to the American version of the Chevy Colorado, which might be possible, Mazda would have a long and steep climb to market themselves as a pickup company.
Then again, maybe they’re perfectly poised to bring the “mini sport truck” back!