In possibly what is one of the most anticipated ute launches in some time Isuzu has taken the covers of its new D-Max following many months of speculation, leaked images and snippets of info about the new machine.
The 2021 D-Max has taken things up a level with new styling, a revised chassis , retuned suspension and a raft of safety features that signals the company has a contender to take sales off the likes of Mitsubishi’s Triton, Ford’s Ranger and the market leading Toyota HiLux.
The D-Max comes to market on 1st September and really is an all new model with an updated version of the always flexible and torquey 3.0-litre four cylinder turbo diesel powerplant under the bonnet mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic.
The new D-Max comes from Isuzu’s plant in Thailand and is launched following the demise of Holden and its Colorado, which despite being built in a separate factory shared many of its underpinnings with the previous generation D-Maxs.
This time around Isuzu is sharing the D-Max platform with Mazda, which will base its new BT50 ute on the D-Max platform.
The D-Max has been a huge success in Australia for Isuzu and it is now the second biggest market for the D-Max globally with the local subsidiary declaring that it had a good deal of input into the new version, including local testing and development.
Truck and Bus News is yet to drive the new D-Max, but we are looking forward to sampling what has always been an honest and engaging ute, that is often an under estimated competitor in the ute market.
The D-Max will be available as either a single cab, a space cab or a crew cab( read dual cab) with either a cab-chassis or ute configurations with four levels including SX, LS-M, LS-U and the top of the range X-Terrain, which is the replacement for the previous LS-T flagship model.
Like many new models, not surprisingly, the prices have risen, with the SX and LS-M 4×4 models up around $3000 compared with the superseded models, while the LS-U is up about $6000 and the headlining X-Terrain will cost about $8000 more than the previous LS-T it replaces.
The revised turbo diesel has more power and torque than the previous version with 10kW more power and a 20Nm boost to its torque. The 3.0litre now pumps put 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm from 1600 to 2000rpm.
The engine has a new block cylinder head, crankshaft and aluminium pistons while there is also a new variable geometry turbocharger and a rearward facing air intake
With autos available alongside the manuals in all models except the X-0Terrain (which is auto only) the D-Max carries over the same part time shift on the fly high and low range 4WD system, with a new rear diff lock available on 4WD versions.
Isuzu says that it has utilised a new ultra-high tensile steel in the ladder chassis and this has brought greater rigidity with the company claiming that this is the strongest D-Max its ever built. This has allowed it to bump up the weight capacity with the new model boasting a 3100kg GVM and a GCM of 5950kg on 4WD models, along with a 3500kg braked tow capacity. Interestingly the new model is 30mm shorter overall than the previous version, but without compromising its load area, which is actually larger, while it is wider and lower but with a longer wheelbase. This means it has shorter front and rear overhang with better approach, departure and ramp over angles as well as better ground clearance.
The load tub width is the same as the old model, however Isuzu is claiming there is more usable space, although not a huge amount, thanks to the tub being a relatively modest15mm longer and 30mm deeper, while cab-chassis versions also get larger load area.
The new version is also a bit heavier than the old D-Max and tips the scales at between 1780kg and 2130kg depending on the model, while payload range from 1320kg down to 970kg depending on the spec and the standard equipment on board.
Isuzu is claiming the new D-Max ranges from 7.7L/100km to 8L/100km giving it a optimal range of around 950km from its 76 litre tank.
The D-Max suspension has been revised and tuned for Australian conditions according to Isuzu which says has benefited the ride and handling. The company points to the high-mounted upper-control arms as part of the independent double wishbone suspension which has been designed to minimise body roll, along with a 5mm thicker anti-roll bar and revised lighter and stronger three-leaf rear suspension and dampers which have delivered 30mm more rear axle travel.
Braking is handled by larger 320mm front disc brakes and 295mm drums while the new D-Max gets the benefit of electric power steering which is claimed to deliver improved feel and response and is integrated with Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Prevention, while it also delivers a very slightly improved 100mm better turning circle.
The car gets an all new interior with a new dash with a large format high res infotainment touch screen, a 7.0inch on the bottom two models and 9.0 inch on the LS-U and X-Terrain, which also get standard sat nav and DAB+ radio tuner, while all models have Apple Car Play and Android Auto.\
There’s also new seats and it gets a telescopic and tilt adjustable steering wheel, most importantly Isuzu has given it a total safety suite which it calls IDAS or Intelligent Driver Assistance System, which includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and as we mentioned lane departure warning. It also comes with a full eight airbags with a first for a ute with knee and centre bags.
There are a lot more detailed features which we will highlight and expand on in a future road test later in September.