Meet the 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder – One Mean Truck from Down Under!

2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder images: Mazda

It’s interesting to see what the Australian’s have done to create the 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder, and it’s still not coming here.

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder is an off-road package that would compete with Ford’s FX4, or Toyota’s TRD (or Toyota HiLux Rugged X in that region) upgrade packages. It is locally built for the Australian market, so many of the additional components are what folks in that market are looking for. It looks pretty beefy.

The 2021 Mazda BT-50 pickup “Ute” has already gone through serious changes. You can read about it (here).

“Since the 2021 Mazda BT-50 is no longer based on the Ranger, it no longer gets Ford’s Duratorq four and five-cylinder diesel engines, either. Now, the truck gets a 3.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. The 4JJ3-TCX engine, as it’s known in the D-Max, is a common rail direct injection powerplant that’s both turbocharged and intercooled, making 188 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels or all four by way of six-speed manual or automatic transmission options.”


The 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder has a price of $69,000- Australian dollars. You can save a few thousand opting for the manual transmission model, but it’s a $9,000 increase for the package. Right now, that price translates to about $52,000 USD – which is painfully steep.

The Thunder package

The overall “Thunder” package is, for lack of a better description, an appearance package. Still, it looks unique, and many of the components are specifically designed for this Mazda. The front steel bumper is an excellent example. The bumper was designed to fit the Mazda without causing the front end any issues while off-roading. It appears that there is no cutting needed to fit the bumper.

LED lights and a skid plate are integrated into the steel front bumper. The fender flares look like they came from a company like Bushwacker. Unfortunately, they look like they were added as an afterthought. Fortunately, they do a good job shading the kind of low(ish) profile rubber mounted on cool-looking 18″ wheels.

The package also gives you an side steps, electric bed cover, stickers and macho-looking bed bars. You also get the top-of-the-line interior comfort and tech.

It looks pretty cool to me, and I wish Mazda would sell a truck in our market – but I know I shouldn’t hold my breath.

Here’s a great deep dive into the 2021 Mazda BT-50 Thunder. It’s a CarExpert video review!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.