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Isuzu D-Max re-engineered for ‘unhealthy’ roads

ISUZU SA has updated the current D-Max bakkie by introducing the automatic transmission version of its 250 turbodiesel derivatives.

Isuzu D-Max re-engineered for ‘unhealthy’ roads

We tested the D-Max bakkie and as always it never fails, especially in rugged, untarred roads that are synonymous in the province of Bokone Bophirima. What about potholes- a nightmare.

In the last 2 years, Isuzu South Africa has taken over operations at the Port Elizabeth plant an investment that has seen growth from the brand and assurance from the market.

The brand Isuzu still have a reputation for being tough – so tough, in fact, that the word leisure isn’t often used to describe any other derivative than the top-of-the-range automatic versions.

The stories often told about it usually entail tales of many millions of miles travelled. But, to make the D-Max more appealing to the leisure market, an automatic ‘box is now available on 5 versions of the 250 range.  

Isuzu’s research shows that South African bakkie owners generally travel longer distances than in other markets (and at higher speeds).

The road conditions in South Africa (NW included) also vary more than in most developed countries. Therefore, the durable yet smooth-running General Tyre AT Grabber was chosen for the 250 D-Max.

The tyre is said to complement the damping of the bakkie in such a way as to provide a soft-yet-reassuring ride quality – even when operating at higher speeds. You can really tell the bakkie’s suspension tuning has been tweaked for our “uniquely South African” road network.  AGREE…

While driving in mixed conditions, I endeavoured to test the auto box by purposely varying my driving behaviour.

When the 250 D-Max was cruising at speeds of around 120 kph, the transmission felt well-calibrated, with sufficiently prompt responses when it was required to kick down, overtake and coast. Even the engine-braking felt natural and intuitive; my only bugbear was that the drivetrain snatched slightly when shifting down to 1st in congested traffic.

For consumers who spend most of their time travelling in urban areas, the self-shifting Isuzu is a credible option at an affordable price.

The tried-and-trusted 100 kW/320 Nm turbodiesel engine is quite well-matched with the 5-speed automatic transmission and I can imagine that opting for a 6-speed unit instead would have added more cost without any obvious/substantial benefit to drivability. By the way, the claimed average fuel consumption figure for the new auto derivatives is a very respectable 8.1 L/100 km. And yes, you can trust this award winning bakkie that boast a huge reserve diesel tank after traveling for more than 25kms looking for fuel station from Sannieshof to Lichtenburg, having left the peaceful but lush Ganalaagte village.  

According to Isuzu, there is an all-new Isuzu D-Max bakkie in the pipeline, but that will only become available in South Africa in 2021.

We can’t wait as opposition gleefully salivate the dust…

Retail price start from R403 200

Verdict:

Performance 1-10 (7)

Diesel 1-10 (7)

Image (The Isuzu DC D-Max is power).

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