Truth be told, I’m disappointed with the new Mazda BT-50

I love Mazda. I love its vehicle designs, the road manners, the sheer amount of creativity and engineering applied to each car in the lineup is so admirable. Ever since the introduction of the Kodo – Soul of Motion design language in 2010, the Hiroshima-based automaker has been faithful in making eye-catching vehicles that never fail to mesmerize.

So much so, in fact, that in my years of experience in reviewing cars, I’ve always associated Mazda cars with sexiness, sultriness, and passion, almost breaching the NSFW category.

But not the Mazda BT-50. While the marque was already on its latest wave of Kodo design, which you can see in the minimalist approach on the Mazda3, the BT-50 was seemingly stuck in the automaker’s previous design language.

Alas, the time for the BT-50’s redemption has come and the Mazda pickup truck finally joins the Kodo family. A bit too late to the party, but as they say, better late than never. 

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If you ask me why only now, I won’t have a definite answer, but an educated guess tells me that this has something to do with Mazda’s disassociation with Ford and newly-found union with Isuzu that delayed the new-generation BT-50’s development.

So why am I disappointed?

Don’t get me wrong. I love how the Mazda BT-50’s design. Leading to its reveal, I was debating with colleagues whether Mazda’s Kodo will work on a utility pickup truck. As it turns out, it does.

While one might say that the new BT-50 is just a CX-9 with a bed, or more accurately an Isuzu D-Max with Mazda’s badge and face, I pretty much like the contrast between utility and passionate design employed on the truck – but all that admiration is reserved for the fascia.

See, the rear end of the BT-50 disappoints me, in such a way that I expected more from Mazda in terms of styling. Sure, the block-shaped taillights would work – it’s a pickup truck anyway – but this is Mazda. The company that I love for differing from the norm. The Kodo design language that starts at the grille and extends all the way to the rear.

If I tail a new BT-50 down the road but didn’t see the badge, I won’t be able to tell that it’s a Mazda without looking at its face. And that’s the sad part. Mazda vehicles are distinct, and you can always tell one even from afar (and even with other brands copying its design).

Heck, if Mazda just gave the BT-50 circular taillights or halo LEDs from the Mazda3, that would have made its design so much better. The need to write this story will be thrown out of the window as well. But, no. Mazda had to resolve to mediocrity for this one – at least at the back.

Truth be told, my disappointment with the BT-50 definitely won’t affect my adoration for the brand. Mazda had their reasons for this, I believe. I just wish that those assigned at the drawing board didn’t forget about the rear end.

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