Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mazda BT-50 4X4 - The Beast That Conquered The North


By: Monch Henares

At First Glance

When the Mazda BT-50 rolled into my driveway for the first time, it definitely took my breath away. I exclaimed to myself, "Wow, it's huge and monstrous!"  Laying my eyes on the 4X4 truck, the first thing I noticed were its gigantic all-terrain tires, which made it look like a proud stallion in heat. Its front rack climber bumper and newly designed grills would make one think that it wanted to bite your behind.





Getting into the truck was a breeze.  The convenient side steps and grab handles helped me get my lazy butt up to those comfortable leather seats that have height adjustment, by the way.  The Mazda BT-50 has an adjustable Multi-function Steering Wheel that was a pleasure to hold.  Its audio, voice control for my mobile phone, and cruise control buttons are conveniently programmable at a touch of my fingers.



Interior Features

The BT-50 instrumentation was well laid out and not at all confusing.  One of its outstanding features is its "Trip Computer" that can calculate real-time gas consumption (lt/100 kms), plus it shows the kilometers left with the remaining fuel in tank.... and mind you, it was very accurate.

Now, I turn my attention to the center dash panel.  A message screen sits at the top of the stack, which indicates all audio, bluetooth, cellphone settings, that also acts as the parking sensor indicator screen. Right below this is the AM/FM and CD unit, which has Bluetooth connectivity.  The USB and AUX connectors are strategically located inside the glove box.  Now, we are talking!

At the bottom of the stack is the AC/Heater Dual Climate Control System.  Yes, I said dual... as in separate controls for the passenger and driver. No more giving in to your passenger's hot flashes or Nordic chills.

I now grab the European designed key-less entry key holder, which, at a press of a button jack-knives a key. The engine started in one swift turn, and its soft hum made me think that the BT-50 had a petrol engine. Thumbs up!

Driving  Shotgun  with Arabelle Jimenez. She too found it a breeze to drive.

The Journey

Off we went for our 12-hour roadtrip to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.  It was a worry-free journey for we were equipped with the safety features that are standard with the BT-50 4X4 like the Dual Airbags, 3-point Seatbelts, Vehicle Stabilization, and Traction Control.

The journey started in Manila, leaving at 5 in the morning. City driving was a walk in the park. Sitting behind the wheel of a Goliath of a truck, literally floating above the other vehicles on the road, and with its steering accuracy and agility to weave through a maze of Manila crazies, made me truly feel I was driving a compact car.

As we got on the North Luzon Expressway, the power of its 3.2L Turbo with Inter-cooler (200 HP) engine showed its prowess and beastly roar.  The 6-speed Transmission shifted smoothly and quietly. I was in total control when overtaking other vehicles and climbing steep hills with no lag or hesitation at all.

Another cool feature which activated itself when I needed it was the Hill Start Assist.  As I was at a steep incline, and had to stop due to a pedestrian crossing, the system sensed a rollback, and automatically held the truck in place after I released the break pedal.  this gave me enough time to smoothly accelerate up the slope.  Now that was so cool!

Imagine all these awesome safety features in a truck full of testosterone. and may i add, the Brake Override System BOS is set when both the brake and accelerator pedals are stepped on simultaneously.  It reduces power to the engine and gives priority to the brakes.  So those with wide Goofy sized feet who step on both accelerator and brake pedals need not worry when this occurs.  You are safe now.

Driving at night was as clear as day, especially when climbing up the mountain roads of Ilocos. Its bright and stylish headlights blanketed the road ahead, which worked in tandem with the futuristic-looking LED cornering lights that illuminated both sides of the zigzag route.






The Sand Dunes of Laoag

The thrill of driving through the sand dunes gave us butterflies in the stomach, but at the same time we felt the adrenaline rushing in and we just had to try it out.  We contracted a veteran dune driver/guide named Daryll to guide us through the sandy course. Boy, those dunes were very intimidating.

With the BT-50, the Hill Descent Control was a cool feature for the steep dunes that uses the ABS, traction and stability control systems and makes the vehicle descend a steep, slippery or rough trail at a constant computer-controlled safe speed without driver intervention. This makes the driver safely concentrate on steering.

"Ang galing ng truck na ito. Kayang-kaya nya umakyat.. hindi siya hirap, Ang ganda ng ride kahit hindi natin binawasan ng hangin ang gulong" Daryll said. (This truck is awesome.  It climbs easily... without any effort at all. The ride is beautiful, even without deflating the tires.). Off-road vehicles run with low tire pressure for more traction and softer ride.


Laoag Sand Dunes Scenic Stop





Monchie's Overall Rating

Its powerful drivetrain, smooth drive, great fuel economy, maneuverability, stability, comfort, car-like ride, and of course because it's fully loaded with safety features... in a scale of 1 - 5, I'd rate it a 5. Awesome!


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Special thanks to:
Mazda Philippines
Villa Manuela Ilocos Beach Resort
Roven Ablan
Hon. Carmeling Crisologo

More photos















Monch Henares is a tech and motoring specialist and managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He is now based in Manila, Philippines.  
You may e-mail him @ monchnrs@gmail.com


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