AL-KO Toughest Tow Test 2018: 2014 Mazda BT-50 Tow Test

By: Tim Van Duyl, Photography by: Matt Fehlberg


Sunseeker's BT-50 saw a lot of Australia, on the back of a flatbed

AL-KO Toughest Tow Test 2018: 2014 Mazda BT-50 Tow Test
2014 Mazda BT-50

When the T6 series of Ford Ranger launched in 2011, Ford partnered with Mazda on the platform releasing the UP series of BT-50s. They share almost everything from engines to gearboxes and diffs to brakes. Inside is a bit different as is the outside but they are largely the same, high selling utes. Why? High load and tow capacities and plenty of power from the 3.2L in-line five-cylinder turbo diesel.

Sunseeker’s Chris Michel loves his offroading and was drawn to the BT-50 through his past work with Mazda. He went to town on the ute adding ARB front, rear and side bars, winch, snorkel, Clearviews, roof rack, front bash plate, extra lighting, a decent lift and a good set of tyres but one eventful drive has him wondering whether a LandCruiser was a better choice.

PROBLEMATIC GEARBOX

Day two of TTT had us convening for a sunset shoot atop one of the Barrier Ranges highest points for a dusk shoot. Chris approached the step climb in high-range leaning on the throttle to compensate for diminishing speed, the outcome, a BT-50 with no drive to its wheels and a long, slow tow home.

The next morning, Chris and offsider Troy swung into action before dawn towing the stricken BT-50 the 80km back to the Broken Hills Mazda. The feedback on the spot was a likely blown transmission. A day later and the diagnosis was confirmed, the BT-50 would not head back to its Caloundra home under its own steam. Luckily for Chris, he had ‘comprehensive+’ insurance covering the cost to get it home to a repairer of his choice. It did not cover the van, though, which had to be towed back by the Hema 200 Series—check your insurances people.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Capacity 3196cc
  • Type Turbo diesel 5-cylinder
  • Fuel capacity 80L
  • Power 147kw
  • Torque 470Nm
  • Fuel consumption (claimed) 8.9L/100km
  • Max tow capacity 3500kg
  • Payload 1095kg
  • Max ball weight 335kg

The full tow test appears in Caravan World #576. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!