Despite being less than 18 months after Mazda unveiled its all-new BT-50 ute range, the brand has just moved to give the line-up a tweak with a couple of new models at either end of the price ladder.

The changes reflect not only the super-competitive nature of the ute market in Australia right now, but also recognises the marketing onslaught from less expensive players from, largely, the Chinese brands as well as Mazda's tilt at the fleet market.

When you look at the sales figures for 2021, it's arguable Mazda could be selling more utes into what is the hottest market segment in the country.

Yes, the BT-50 made it comfortably into the top 20 makes and models for 2021 (the ute's best ever year) but its total of 15,662 sales for the year was only just ahead of the Nisan Navara on 15,113.

The Mazda was also shaded by the Triton range with 19,232 sales and the Isuzu D-Max with which it shares much of its componentry on 25,575 sales.

Mazda BT-50 2022 review: XS 1.9, plus SP

Of course, all those models were knocked for six by the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux which swapped first and second positions on the sales ladder for the year with 50,229 and 52,801 sales respectively.

Mazda's response this time around has been to broaden the segments across which its BT-50 plays, as well as add a new entry-level model; one that is aimed at corporate fleets.

For the top of the BT-50 line-up, Mazda has dusted off the SP badge – normally reserved for its performance sedans and hatch models – and applied it to a ute for the first time to arrive at a load-hauler with a sporting flavour.

And down the other end of the market, the company has slipped a cut-priced model into the mix; a model that aims to offer as much vehicle as some operators need at a slightly lower price.

As a clear message to the established budget brands, the BT-50 XS may not make too much of an impression, and Mazda admits the XS will be most popular with business buyers, rather than user-choosers.

Other changes across to the BT-50 to the include a refreshing of the front and rear bumpers in terms of colour the and the addition of a cab-chassis layout for the dual-cab XTR model for the first time.

In the meantime, let's dig deeper into the new base-model XS model which is available in 4X2 cab-chassis, 4X2 dual-cab pick-up (styleside) and 4X4 dual-cab pick-up.

In fact, the only body styles not to feature the XS specification are the Freestyle (extended) cab and the 4X4 cab-chassis variant available across the other BT-50 trim levels.