THE ALL NEW Isuzu D-MAX is the 'boss', uttered some of admirers as we took it for a rigorous test.
Perhaps fascinated by its brash design, who can argue that?
Yes, there were concerns from doom-sayers that the brand might NOT make it in the mzansi market, following the withdrawal of parent company GM but as things would turn-out, investors took a huge risk (after all any business is about taking risks) and it turns out to be fruitful. Talk of South African’s loyalty.
The new D-MAX nameplate originated in Thailand, with the ‘D’ originally referring to the 2000 model year Isuzu bakkie that boasted the flush ‘Dragon Eyes‘ headlamp design.
It also represents Isuzu’s legacy in producing of diesel engines, the use of direct injection, as well as design and durability.
The D-MAX is more appealing and competitive, and the high-spec models do raise the bar for pick-up in terms of luxury and quality- an evidence on-lookers couldn’t stop raving about.
Available in single, extended and double-cab body styles, we played hard with the DC, that features new projector-type Bi-LED headlamps and LED DRLs introduced on the extended and double cabs, restyled fog lamp bezels framed by chromed vertical accents that give the D-MAX a distinctive and aggressive look.
As expected, my Gran complained bitterly, on numerous occasions, about climbing onto it (its high) but the interior makes it feel completely welcoming courtesy of soft-touch materials such as touchpoints around the cockpit. You also get a new, more attractive, high-quality grain for the dashboard and door trims, along with a piano black finish on the air vent grilles and window switches.
In contrast, the door handles, locking knob, and air vent knobs are picked out in chrome.
For ‘thumping’ system, you can tick the box that says ‘Premium Alpine Infotainment System’. You will also appreciate USB ports scattered around the cabin that offer a higher 2.1A rating (up from 1A) to charge essential things like smartphones, and larger multimedia devices such as iPads.
The Isuzu D-MAX is powered by 3.0-litre, four-cylinder, intercooled, turbodiesel engine, which produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque.
Yes, at first one struggled with the reverse application, as it would be with such big Vans, but eventually warmed up to it and it was off-road please come. Unfortunately, that was not the case as it only rattled between Jozi and Pretoria.
It simply negotiated its way through obstacles, but all you really need to do is aim in the right direction and squeeze gently on the loud pedal.
It comes with ABS brakes as applied by Isuzu’s Brake Override System (BOS) for the first time in SA. 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 tinkered with, 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. You also get Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC).
The only snag: this six-speed auto transmission, gallops much diesel, a point that seem not to deter my ‘rent-a-crowd’, during interaction under some ‘tree’ in Germiston.
As indicated in my previous stanza its high, but the leg room is super MAX, it makes you feel you’re not driving any of those hardcore Vans, that prompted my neighbours to courteously ask to dump some of their garden stuff- now that’s being ‘neighbourly’.
Be it a ‘pick-up truck’ or a workhorse that can be used as day-to-day leisure and lifestyle vehicle- your thinking is as good as mine…Stru!
A risky investment by Isuzu Motors SA, though.
D-Max comes 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 services pegged at 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, your new D-MAX’s service plan can be upgraded to a fully comprehensive maintenance plan that covers the vehicle for any planned and unplanned maintenance up to six-years/200 000km.
D-Max 300 4×4 double cab LX auto retails for R606 400
Performance 1-10 (6)
Diesel 1-10 (5)
Image SLM (The all new Isuzu D-MAX had tongue wagging.)