Even though Isuzu is seen by some as a low-cost alternative in the mid-size pickup segment, don’t forget that Chevrolet’s Colorado uses a few nuts and bolts from the D-Max. The same applies to the GMC Canyon and Holden Colorado, and looking at the bigger picture, Isuzu is a world-class manufacturer of diesel engines with an emphasis on reliability.
To be provided to Mazda as an OEM, the D-Max with BT-50 styling and badging should be treated to four- and six-cylinder turbo diesels as well as a six-speed manual and a torque-converter automatic. The RZ4E-TC GEN2 inline-four with 1.9 liters of displacement is good for 150 PS or 148 horsepower and 350 Nm (258 pound-feet) of torque.
The 4JJ3-TCX, on the other hand, cranks out 190 PS or 188 horsepower and 450 Nm (332 pound-feet) of torque from 3.0 liters. Though the bi-turbo diesel of the Ranger Raptor is more potent in both regards, don’t forget that the off-road sports truck is limited in terms of towing and payload capacities because of the trail-rated hardware it boasts.
Imagined with the front fascia of the CX-9 family crossover and the taillights of the D-Max, the design proposal for the BT-50 from Kleber Silva looks pretty close to the real deal. It’s hard to imagine Mazda going for a different styling language than the one it currently has, and it’s also impossible to expect any changes in the cabin compared to the D-Max.
Three years ago, a couple of previous-gen prototypes were photographed at Mazda’s U.S. headquarters in Irvine, California. However, don’t expect the BT-50 to go on sale in the United States next year because Mazda doesn’t have where to build this truck locally and the powertrains need to be recalibrated or changed to meet EPA requirements.