This is the BT-50 Thunder.
If you've never heard of Mazda's BT-50, that's probably because the pickup isn't sold here in the States. At one time, it was closely related to the Ford Ranger, but regardless, the fact remains that it isn't seen as a viable offering for our market, despite the BT-50 proving quite successful in other markets. One such market is Australia, where the ute, as it is known there, is a staple of the automotive landscape. Building on the success of its pickup, Mazda has launched an Aussie exclusive called the BT-50 Thunder, thus creating a new range-topper for the market.
Changes for this model include a steel bash bar on the front fascia and a Lightforce dual-row LED lightbar, as well as wide fender flares, side steps, and 18-inch alloy wheels in black finish. At the rear, a sports bar is fitted along with an electric load bin tonneau cover, while 'Thunder' decals make it clear to onlookers that this is the best BT-50 in the range.
Under the hood, a 3.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine produces 188 horsepower with 332 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with either a six-speed auto or manual box. A dual-range 4x4 system is standard with a switchable locking rear differential.
Inside, you get brown leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver's seat, and a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment display supporting wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As for paint options, you have a large selection to choose from: Ice White, True Black Mica, Ingot Silver Metallic, Concrete Grey Mica, Gun Blue Mica, Rock Grey Mica, and Red Volcano Mica - all at no extra charge. Speaking of costs, the manual version starts at AUD$65,990 ($50,418) while the auto costs AUD$68,990 ($52,710). That's more than double what a regular Ford Ranger starts at, but we're sure it'll sell like hotcakes regardless.