2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE Review

Is the BT-50 worth considering over the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger? Let's discuss that today!

Jacob Brooke
Expert reviewer
Updated on
February 9, 2024
Saucey score


  • 4JJ3 Engine Reliability
  • Nice interior touches, with great surround sound audio
  • Loads of included extras


  • A bit pricey for an Isu... I mean Mazda
  • Average cloth seats
  • Infotainment starting to show it's age
Car specs

140kW + 450Nm

$64,295 + On-roads


5-star ANCAP

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In a world of expensive Hilux’s, teched-out Ford Rangers, and growing appetite for a decent, mid-range dual cab Ute; the 2023 BT-50 XTR is Mazda’s offering. Closely related to the Isuzu D-Max in almost every way bar the appearance, this Ute aims to fill the gap in the market that exists between brands like Great Wall Motors on the budget end, and Ford sitting atop the heap.

Today we’ll be taking a look at the Limited Edition version of the BT-50 XTR, aptly named BT-50 XTR LE, which includes a few notable bonus features that the Japanese company believes are worthy factory fittings that boost the price by almost $6000 AUD over just the standard 4x4 XTR. As per usual, we’ll be taking a thorough look at the practicality of this vehicle, checking out the looks and quality of the interior, while also giving the XTR LE plenty of sauce, testing it’s 0-100km/h launch times and handling abilities. 


How much does the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE cost?

The 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE costs $64,895 before on road costs, a $5765 price jump over it’s standard XTR counterpart, which comes in at $59,130 before on roads for the 6-speed auto. This price puts the XTR slightly below the equivalent Toyota Hilux 4x4 SR5 ($61,930 excl. on-roads) while the Limited Edition (LE) version is slightly more expensive, however a Toyota Hilux with similar add-ons would be much pricier than this XTR LE. 

The XTR LE is also significantly cheaper than the Ford Ranger Wildtrak 3L ($70,190), and even slightly below the cost of a Ranger Sport 3L ($66,690), with the standard XTR 6-speed manual ($56,630) sitting comfortable at more than $10,000 below the Ranger models.

Compared to budget options like the GWM Cannon-X 4x4 Dual-cab ($45,490 excl. on-roads), the BT-50 XTR LE model is significantly more expensive, however, the standard 4x4 BT-50 XTR with 6-speed manual transmission is a $10,000 leap from the GWM Cannon-X for what is essentially the same Ute (mechanically, and interior-wise) as what we have today, making it definitely worth considering.

What do we think of the exterior looks on the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE?

The Mazda BT-50 - being a Mazda - follows their traditional “KODO” design language, essentially favouring simplicity and minimalism. This is reflected in the slim design of the front headlights, with small LED day-time running lights. The classic Mazda grille is prominent as well, markedly one of the few differentiating features between the BT-50 and the Isuzu D-Max. Well, apart from the warranty but we’ll get back to that later.

The Limited Edition version of the XTR is only available in a single colour option - Ingot Silver, which is an optional extra $695 over the base colour options on the standard XTR. That being said, it pairs extremely well with the polished alloy bull bar and sports bar, both included as standard with the LE spec. Since these parts are fitted from the factory, you can rest assured that they have received proper safety testing as well, which is a nice advantage over sourcing aftermarket parts for your Ute! Plus, they will be covered under Mazda’s 5-year warranty. Another nice touch is the bash plate just beneath the bull bar, with “BT-50” spelt out in nice rugged block lettering. Very rugged!

Adorning the tray is the final couple of genuine parts that Mazda has added for the LE version of the XTR; the tub liner and sports bar! The tub liner withstood my moving house, a true testament to the toughness of the materials used, and therefore has my undying respect. Anecdotal evidence aside, I am glad to see the addition of this part as it is definitely something that most BT-50 owners will want, and increases the value proposition of this spec by close to $1000, plus it looks pretty cool, with some more “BT-50” block lettering. 

Mazda state that these extras, if optioned on separately would cost an additional $2,500 over the price of the Limited Edition trim.

What’s the Interior like on the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE?

Unlike the exterior, the Limited Edition version of the Mazda BT-50 XTR is essentially the same on the inside as the standard version. That being said, the build quality throughout the cabin is quite good, with the exception of some plastic edges visible on the door panels. Soft touch materials are all over the place, and the seats are nice and comfy, cloth material with a strange, small dash of leather on the bottom. I guess Mazda are going for, “rugged with a dash of luxury”? Or maybe I’m reading too much into the material quality choices for the seats. Regardless, the quality of the interior easily surpasses the Toyota Hilux, despite falling short of the Ford Ranger.

Safety and tech inside the BT-50 XTR is great! We have adaptive cruise control with lane centering assist and lane departure warning as standard, as well as collision avoidance and autonomous emergency braking. In my opinion, I found some of the safety systems to be a little too cautious in certain scenarios, though I’d much rather be stuck on a long road trip with them, than without them.

The 9-inch infotainment screen is very sharp and responsive, with a great reversing camera, in-built satellite navigation, and wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, hooray! Connectivity is a little underwhelming with just a single Type-A USB port and Auxiliary port up front. Also, the 2 cupholders in the centre console are horrendously deep; great for storing long water bottles, not so great for storing takeaway Cappuccino…

The steering wheel is a very nice leather unit, and there is a small LCD display up ahead with plenty of info, analogue gauge clusters - nothing too fancy like the digital cluster in the Ford Ranger, but very functional. Kind of the theme of this Ute! The climate controls are very logical, easy to use, and well-placed in the cabin, and I’m happy to see physical buttons! Looking at you, Ford Ranger…

An underrated aspect of this Ute is the sound system with its “Live Surround Sound” down-facing speakers in the ceiling, which really help the clarity of phone calls on Bluetooth hands-free, as well as adding an extra level of depth to the music, as a bit of a Hi-Fi nut, I really appreciate this.

What about the back seats on the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE?

Like most utes, the BT-50 gives us plenty of seat folding options with a nice intuitive “hook” system, that allows you to access the small storage areas beneath the rear seats, and keep the seats in place for expanded storage options. Pretty nifty but not revolutionary.

The back seats are quite spacious and comfortable, with plenty of leg-room and a couple of air vents. Connectivity, just like up front, could be better with just a single Type-A USB port, next to a very small storage nook. Speaking of storage, there are a couple of hooks in the back as well as a couple of generously sized mat pockets, and a fold-down armrest with 2 additional cupholders, this time they won’t de-lid your coffee! A caffeinated, enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

How much can the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE fit in the tub?

The fully tub-lined tray of the BT-50 XTR LE has the following dimensions:

Length - 1509mm

Width (No wheel arches) - 1560mm

Width (Between wheel arches) - 1134mm

Height - 519mm

This puts it between the Toyota Hilux and the Ford Ranger in terms of storage capacity. Add on the extra storage available in the rear seats with the seats folded, and storage capacity is excellent.

What’s under the bonnet of the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE?

Being essentially an Isuzu D-Max under the skin, the Mazda BT-50 XTR LE has the awesome and reliable 4JJ3 Engine, a 3.0L 4 cylinder Turbo Diesel engine that pumps out 140kW of power, 450Nm of torque. Definitely not mind-melting numbers, though the torque is definitely aplenty and this thing gets off the line pretty swiftly. This is despite sometimes struggling for traction, with the overprotective ESC cutting all power from the engine. More about that in the driving section…

Being a Diesel, there is always the risk of something going wrong with the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), though that certainly isn’t a fault with this engine in particular. Isuzu’s 4JJ3 has proven itself as a super reliable engine, with smooth power delivery to either a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission.

How does the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE drive?

The BT-50 XTR LE sits quite high on the road, with very soft floaty suspension so cornering ability is definitely limited. The comfort on long road trips, however, is excellent, with the Bridgestone highway terrain tyres soaking up most of the road noise. Power delivery from the 3.0L 4-cylinder Turbo Diesel engine is smooth and linear, there are no struggles uphill at all, even with a substantial load in the tub. The 6-speed automatic transmission is quick and decisive, no gear searching here like in other 10-speed autos we’ve reviewed.

The safety tech works mostly well without a hitch, the lane-keep assist sometimes struggles to stay centred in the lane, and the autonomous emergency braking sometimes acts a little too eagerly for my liking, however overall operating these systems while on long drives was an easy enough process. Seating in the cabin has plenty of adjustment options, and the visibility in the cab is excellent.

In a straight line, this Ute exceeded our expectations. Despite being a part-time 4WD, full-time RWD, the Bridgestones spun a little before gripping and sending us to 100km/h in just shy of 11 seconds - 10.95 to be precise.

We also did some mild offroading - on a gravel road, and the Ute performed well, with minimal vibration and noise in the cabin.

What does the 2023 Mazda  BT-50 XTR LE cost to service?

The Mazda BT-50 XTR LE is covered under Mazda’s 5-year unlimited km warranty with included roadside assistance for the same period. This is differentiated from the Isuzu D-Max’s 6 year 150,000km warranty.

Regular servicing intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km.

Is the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE Safe?

The BT-50 Ute boasts a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, as well as plenty of modern safety and convenience features, with all BT-50 models coming equipped with the following features as standard:

  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Turning assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Driver Attention Alert

With the automatic versions adding lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control.

All BT-50 Utes also coming with front, side and curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbags and front-centre airbags.

Final thoughts - should you buy the 2023 Mazda BT-50 XTR LE?

There is no doubt, the Mazda BT-50 XTR represents an excellent mid-range option compared to other Utes such as the Toyota Hilux 4x4 SR5, and the Ford Ranger 4x4 Sport/Wildtrak. With it’s comfortable, practical and simple interior, beautiful minimalist exterior design, and plenty of safety features, it seems to be an absolute “Goldilocks” Ute in today’s 4x4 Dual-Cab segment.

While we will leave the choice up to you whether you see the value in going for the Limited Edition Mazda BT-50 XTR, with it’s included bull bar, sports bar, tub liner and Ingot Silver paint, we strongly recommend adding this Ute to your list of options, especially if you are already considering a Toyota Hilux!

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Jacob Brooke
Jacob Brooke, a respected voice in the world of automotive journalism, brings a wealth of knowledge and insights to his reviews at CarSauce. His keen eye for detail and passion for all things cars shine through in his in-depth analysis and honest evaluations of the latest models of cars. Join him as he guides readers through the car-buying process and explores the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

140kW + 450Nm

$64,295 + On-roads


5-star ANCAP

Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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