The Karate Kid
go! - South Africa|October/November 2021
The launch of a new double cab is always big news in South Africa, especially one as handsome and capable as theMazda BT-50. But is “handsome and capable”enough to force the reigning black belt champions – the Hilux and Ranger – out of the dojo?
PIERRE STEYN

The days are long gone when only farmers and construction workers drove bakkies. Today, the double cab is the family vehicle of choice for many suburban South Africans. Even an entry-level bakkie can cost as much as a luxury German sedan.

It’s a competitive segment of the market, and it’s one where Mazda has never made an impression. Not that there was anything mechanically wrong with the old BT-50, which shared many components with the Ford Ranger and was even built at Ford’s plant at Silverton in Pretoria for a while. It was simply an ugly duckling, and potential buyers gave it one look and headed over to the Toyota and Ford dealerships for something that looked more like a bakkie should look. The old BT-50 was skinny Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid before he met Mr Miyagi. Whenever he tried to befriend a buyer, the bullies of the Cobra Kai dojo (Toyota and Ford) would knock him to the ground.

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