Speculation

Mazda "listening" to see if it should bring its pickup truck to America

The redesigned Mazda BT-50 made its debut a few weeks ago.

Photo courtesy of Mazda

Should Mazda bring its BT-50 pickup truck to the U.S.? The company has said that they are "listening" to see if the public wants it. Let's take a closer look at its chances.

The BT-50 is a midsize truck. In the U.S. it would compete against the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, Jeep Gladiator, Honda Ridgeline, GMC Canyon, and Nissan Frontier. The pickup truck field is set to get more competitive as the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Volkswagen Amarok coning to market in the next few years.

2021 Mazda BT-50 The backside of the Mazda BT-50 is pretty standard for a pickup truck. Photo courtesy of Mazda

Mazda's truck is built on the Isuzu D-Max platform and is built at Isuzu Motors Thailand. Despite this, the model has a fair amount of Mazda's Kodo design language ... at least on the outside. That starts at its face where the truck wears a grille and headlights similar to the three-row CX-9 SUV.

The inside is a different story. Here, the BT-50 is mostly an Isuzu but there are a few bobbles that are from the Mazda parts bin - sort of like what Toyota has done with the inherently BMW cabin of the 2020 Toyota Supra.

Under the hood is a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that delivers 188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

It's available in either two- or four-wheel drive.

Mazda boasts that the model will be able to tow up to 7,716 pounds and have a maximum payload of 2,348 pounds.

2021 Mazda BT-50 The interior of the BT-50 is straight from the Isuzu playbook, but it does have some Mazda touches.Photo courtesy of Mazda

But will it come to the U.S.? In a statement, Mazda told Roadshow, "We are excited for those regions receiving the all-new BT-50, featuring Mazda's powerful design, exceptional driving dynamics and utilitarian function," Mazda said in a statement. "While we haven't announced future availability of the BT-50 pickup truck in the US, we'd love to hear what our fans here think. We're listening."

Aside from demand, the biggest hurdle for the BT-50 to jump through for its arrival in the U.S. would be the fact that it's subject to a chicken tax tariff. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that recently replaced the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has a rules of origin clause for automobiles that requires 75 percent of the value of a vehicle to come from the area within the USMCA governing region. That tax and the cost of shipping could make the BT-50 cost prohibitive for most buyers.

The verdict: Don't bet on the BT-50 coming to the U.S. anytime soon. If you want to drive it, you'll want to head to Australia where it arrives for sale later this year.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car showcases the future of the Hyundai brand.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai debuted the RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car this week, showcasing what isn't the beginning but what is very much the future of what the Hyundai brand will offer. The electric-based high-performance race car, like those designed by other manufacturers is a proving ground for technologies that may be employed in Hyundai passenger vehicles in the future.

Hyundai has been quite open about this calling the platform the RM20e is based on, the RM development platform, will be used for future N brand products that are inspired by the car. This follows as part of the progressive evolution of the car with previous iterations bearing the names RM14, RM15, RM16 and RM19.

RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai's first electric race car was developed for the eTCR electric touring car series in 2019 - the Veloster N eTCR.

"Our new electrified RM20e pushes the proven RM platform forcefully into a new, environmentally-focused decade of the 21st century, stretching the performance envelope of electrification on normal road environments," said Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group. "RM20e represents a revolutionary new chapter of electrified performance for the Racing Midship series, and our N engineers continue to garner valuable insights in the arena of zero-emission performance dynamics."

The mid-engined, rear-wheel drive RM20e features a powertrain that achieves 810 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque thanks to its electric motor. It can get from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds and to 124 mph from a standstill in 9.88 seconds.

Hyundai says that the RM20e combines "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip while retaining daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability".

The propulsion system driving the car, as well as the equipment that helps it achieve the "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip" are part of Hyundai's larger plant to develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai isn't working alone. The company has formed a strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili to co-develop battery and fuel cell electric vehicle prototypes.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of the Hyundai, Genesis, Kia, and new Ioniq brand, has committed to addinng 44 "eco-friendly" models by 2025.

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The 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback has debuted but Americans will have to wait around six months to get one.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi Q5 Sportback takes the traditional dimensions of the Audi Q5 and shaves some off the back of the roof to creating a more sloping design. The result is a model that fits right into Audi's lineup.

At the front of the new all-wheel drive model is an octagonal Singleframe grille that is flanked by large air inlets. The car's headlights feature daytime running lights with the buyer's choice of LED or matrix-design LED technology. At the rear are taillights that feature OLED lighting technology split into three ties of six segments each.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Like the roof, the car's windows taper as the design of the vehicle flows backward. Its rear bumper appears to be high-mounted.

Base Audi Q5 Sportback models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The SQ5 will come standard with adaptive dampers and has an available air suspension and dynamic steering capability.

Each model has Audi's new MIB 3 infotainment system, which can be optioned to include a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver as well as virtual cockpit and head-up display technologies. At the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation. The system allows for multiple user profiles.

The Audi phone box and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 3D sound are available.

Inside the cabin, the car has a rear bench seat the can be shifted laterally as well as forward and aft. The seat also reclines.

Each Q5 Sportback comes with a standard hands-free power tailgate.

Buyers can option their model to include numerous driver assist systems including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, standard Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear, lane departure warning, and Parking System Plus.

The 2020 Audi Q5 starts at $43,000. Expect the Sportback model to be slightly pricier when it arrives in the U.S. in the first half of 2021. It will be assembled at the San José Chiapa plant in Mexico.

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