The Mazda BT-50 was a simple and surprisingly nice ute!
With almost infinite combinations of strollers, bags and dogs in the tray I could fit 29 shopping bags in when it was empty. That is five more than the Nissan Navara, one more than the Mitsubishi Triton, the same as the Toyota Hilux and one less bag than the VW Amarok and Holden Colorado!
The Britax Flexx tandem and singles strollers fitted in the tray with 21 and 22 bags respectively. I found I could only reach the first two rows of bags standing on the floor behind the tailgate.
Storage inside the cabin of the BT-50 was good also, there were two good cup holders in the front and back that would hold reusable and disposable coffee cups. The door bins in the front and back held a large refillable water bottle.
The glovebox is a good size, as are the central console storage box and a rubber lined tray on the dashboard below the USB and AUX sockets that is handy for holding and charging your phone. The BT-50 is pretty basic, a lot of the interior plastics have sharp edges and the storage areas feel like they are made to be hosed out so there is no padding or trims! The seats are comfy and adjusted with flimsy plastic handles. They are covered with synthetic, cheap uniform-like fabric and this would be quite difficult to get kids spills and detritus out of.
The bare basics continue in the back seats where I discovered there are no ISOFix or top tether points!! You have to install your own top tethers! Utes do not come under the same regulations as cars and SUVs so do not have to meet the same standards and have top tethers installed… CRAZY!!! After installing my own top tethers, I could install two child seats in the back: The Britax Maxi Guard Pro (forward facing) and the Britax Graphene (rear facing), and I could sit between them too.
The media screen is quite large and I could easily connect my phone to it. It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (it's the first Mazda to have these). The reversing camera is a little pixellated but the image is nice and large. I really relied on it when reversing such a big vehicle.
The BT-50 felt basic and bare bones and this helped with visibility and maneuverability. I could tell where the edges of the front and tray were and I wasn't worried about not seeing something.
The BT-50 was a good ute to drive, although like most utes it does jostle and jiggle a bit giving rear passengers a bit of a bumpy ride and the engine noise is quite loud, especially when accelerating uphill.
Overall once you have installed your own top tethers it is an enjoyable and versatile vehicle.
The Mazda BT-50 scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2011 and has six airbags as standard.