Was down in Mpumalanga recently, one of my favourite area’s in SA, to drive the Isuzu D-MAX, which is the updated KB. The KB served Isuzu well through the years, and became probably the third most popular bakkie, after Hilux & Ranger. That is no mean feat in a country, where arguments about which bakkie’s are best, have been known to start fights. And the D-MAX looks like it will certainly carry on the good work. The Isuzu of old, has been more of a workhorse, but the double cab was also popular, albeit a bit plasticky. This is one area that has been changed, and I’m happy to report that soft touches abound in the cabin..hooray!
Now known as the Isuzu D-MAX, in line with international markets, the Isuzu bakkie range spans an extensive portfolio comprising of 30 models for South Africa and 13 models for export markets, with the top-spec derivatives gaining a more luxurious execution that reflects the more sophisticated requirements of top-end buyers in this segment.
The D-MAX name originated in Thailand, with the ‘D’ originally referring to the 2000 model year Isuzu bakkie which boasted the flush “Dragon Eyes” headlamp design. It also represents Isuzu’s proud legacy in the production of diesel engines, the use of industry-defining direct injection, as well as ground-breaking design and durability. ‘Max’ signifies Isuzu’s maximum approach to design, size, comfort, technology, performance, safety, durability and line-up.
The most changes have been made to the range -topping LX 3.0l models. And the facia is certainly more aggressive looking, with chrome grille, and new tapered chrome accents extending right across the L-shaped headlights. The D-MAX is a much better looking bakkie, it looks more sharp and up to date, it stands up to it’s other two competitors in the top three.
There are new Bi-LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights introduced on the extended and double cab models, and restyled foglamp bezels framed by chromed vertical accents that give the LX a distinctive and aggressive character.
Into the cabin, and you have a more premium feel, with the soft touches mentioned before. This is way overdue, as the saying was that Isuzu was a good bakkie, but it was very plasticky. This has gone a long way to turning this comment around. iThe D-MAX logo makes an appearance, and the piano black finish on the air vent grilles sets the tone. A new infotainment with 8-inch full colour touch screen is available with rear-view camera, and Bluetooth handsfree. We drove the D-MAX through the beautiful Kruger Game Park, and the drive was comfortable, with good climate control, and off-road was a pleasure.
Isuzu customers are also now able to select as an option, the all-new premium Alpine infotainment system that first debuted on the Isuzu mu-X sport utility vehicle (SUV). The Alpine infotainment system boasts a high-mounted nine-inch screen that is Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) ready, and additionally provides access to built-in navigation, as well as USB, Aux and HDMI video inputs.
Passengers will undoubtedly appreciate the new USB ports which have a higher 2.1A rating (up from 1A) to charge smartphones and multimedia devices. It also links Apple CarPlay® and Android™ Auto, once it is made available in South Africa. This allows phone functions and apps to be accessed on the display, or via a paired smartphone’s voice recognition software.
All-new six-speed transmissions.
One of the most significant new features of the 2018 Isuzu D-MAX range is the introduction of an all-new six-speed gearbox on the high-spec 3.0-Litre LX derivatives, replacing the five-speed versions used on the outgoing models. This brings the D-MAX more in line with it’s competitors, as well as a better driving experience. It also updates the D-Max with competitors, and really would not have been acceptable without it.
The six-speed manual benefits from optimised gear ratios and an improved shift action, and makes the most of the strong torque delivery and superb fuel economy of Isuzu’s dependable 3.0-Litre four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel engine, which produces 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque.
For fans of smooth-shifting automatics, the D-MAX offers the same six-speed transmission that recently debuted in the Isuzu mu-X SUV. This sophisticated gearbox delivers the ideal combination between refinement and responsive performance. This also has a sport mode for more vroom.
This mode is also ideally suited to off-road driving, allowing the driver to engage the appropriate gear ratio for the specific terrain. Combined with Hill Descent Control (HDC), manually selecting the lowest gear on downhills ensures optimal control of the vehicle as it maintains the vehicle at the set speed on steep descents.
Enhanced driving safety.
On the safety front, the ABS brakes on all D-MAX LX models are now equipped with Isuzu’s Brake Override System (BOS) for the first time. The system restricts accelerator input if the brake pedal is applied simultaneously, thereby reducing stopping distances in an emergency.
The standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control has also been bolstered with the addition of Trailer Sway Control (TSC) that detects and minimises the effect of a trailer or caravan beginning to sway from side-to-side. The Hi-Rider and LE models can be equipped with an optional towbar package rated to tow a braked trailer up to a maximum load of 2.1 tons, while the standard heavy-duty unit on the 3.0-Litre 4X4 LX derivatives comes standard and is capable of hauling 3.5 tons.
As before, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) are included to assist the driver in all types of driving situations. These active safety features are available as a standard feature from the Fleetside Safety to the LX trim.
The Isuzu one-ton bakkie range has been revised to reflect the modern requirements of the crucial LCV market, and now comprises 30 models for South Africa and 13 models for export markets covering the needs of commercial and leisure-oriented customers.
A total of 16 single cab derivatives are available, including the addition of the new Dropside Base models which can be specified with either a factory-fitted flat load deck or in Dropside configuration.
The Dropside Base models can be ordered in 2.5-Litre LEED Base or Fleetside specification, powered by the trusty 2.5-Litre turbodiesel engine that produces 58 kW and 176 Nm. There is also the high-spec 2.5-Litre HO Fleetside Safety model that employs the high-output common rail turbodiesel engine with 100 kW and 320 Nm on tap, along with a raft of safety features including ABS, ESC, HSA, and driver and passenger airbags.
The practical extended cab models include the 2.5-Litre Hi-Rider, two 3.0 LX models with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes, as well as a 3.0-Litre 4X4 LX manual.
A new 2.5-Litre HO Base model joins the popular double cab range as an entry-level proposition that is perfectly suited to hard-working commercial applications. It is complemented by the existing Hi-Rider and striking X-Rider models in 4X2 or 4X4, as well as the LE version that offers exceptional value for money.
Topping the D-MAX line-up is the updated, more capable and more luxurious 3.0-Litre LX, available in 4X2 or 4X4, and the choice of the all-new six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
Isuzu Complete Care.
Isuzu Complete Care comes standard with every new Isuzu D-MAX and embodies Isuzu’s unwavering commitment to after-sales service and customer satisfaction. All Isuzu D-MAX models are sold as standard with a comprehensive five-year/120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, as well as a five-year unlimited distance anti-corrosion warranty.
In addition, a five-year/90 000 km service plan is included in the purchase price, with service intervals scheduled every 15 000 km or annually, whichever comes first. Through Isuzu Mobility, customers have the option of extending the standard service plan up to a maximum of six years or 200 000 km. Alternatively, the service plan can be upgraded to a full maintenance plan that covers the vehicle for planned and unplanned maintenance up to six years/200 000 km.
To sum up, the Isuzu D-MAX will continue to win customers, and will remain a strong contender in the bakkie segment. On a recent 7-day test, the Isuzu D-MAX stood up to scrutiny, and performed very well. In my opinion, it is better than the Ford Ranger, however everyone has their own opinion.
Model Line-up and Pricing
ISUZU DMAX DIESEL PRICING
D-MAX 250C SINGLE CAB BASE R 256 100,00
D-MAX 250C CHASSIS CAB BASE R 246 200,00
D-MAX 250C DROPSIDE BASE R 284 800.00
D-MAX 250C SINGLE CAB FLEETSIDE R 280 000,00
D-MAX 250C CHASSIS CAB FLEETSIDE R 270 200,00
D-MAX 250C DROPSIDE FLEETSIDE R 308 700.00
D-MAX 250 HO SINGLE CAB FLEETSIDE R 299 900,00
D-MAX 250 HO CHASSIS CAB FLEETSIDE R 290 000,00
D-MAX 250 HO DROPSIDE FLEETSIDE R 328 600,00
D-MAX 250 HO SINGLE CAB FLEETSIDE (Safety) R 310 500,00
D-MAX 250 HO CHASSIS CAB FLEETSIDE (Safety) R 300 600.00
D-MAX 250 HO DROPSIDE (Safety) w/ESC R 339 200.00
D-MAX 250 HO SINGLE CAB LE R 353 500,00
D-MAX 250 HO 4X4 SINGLE CAB HI-RIDER R 399 600,00
D-MAX 300 SINGLE CAB LX – 6-SPEED MANUAL R 413 800,00
D-MAX 300 4X4 SINGLE CAB LX – 6-SPEED MANUAL R 477 900,00
D-MAX 250 HO EXTENDED CAB HI-RIDER R 358 000,00
D-MAX 300 EXTENDED CAB LX – 6-SPEED MANUAL R 450 700,00
D-MAX 300 EXTENDED CAB LX – 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC R 465 200,00
D-MAX 300 4X4 EXTENDED CAB LX – 6-SPEED MANUAL R 513 700,00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB BASE R 332 500,00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB HI-RIDER R 387 800,00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB LE R 437 200,00
D-MAX 250 HO 4X4 DOUBLE CAB HI-RIDER R 435 500,00
D-MAX 300 DOUBLE CAB LX – 6-SPEED MANUAL R 522 100,00
D-MAX 300 DOUBLE CAB LX – 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC R 537 100,00
D-MAX 300 4X4 DOUBLE CAB LX – 6-SPEED MANUAL R 591 800,00
D-MAX 300 4X4 DOUBLE CAB LX – 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC R 606 400,00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB X-RIDER R 424 400,00
D-MAX 250 HO 4X4 DOUBLE CAB X-RIDER R 472 500,00