ON THE job

The D-Max re­mains the num­ber-six best-sell­ing 4WD ute but it’s gain­ing ground on the Navara

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Ute Review: Isuzu D-max -

Some 6,409 D-Max 4WDs were sold in the first six months of 2108, a 6.4 per cent in­crease on the same pe­riod last year. That’s not suf­fi­cient to see it climb out of the num­ber-six spot in the year-to-date best sell­ers but at the same time it’s not far be­hind the Navara in sales and could pip it by year’s end.

Since the ar­rival of this gen­er­a­tion D-Max in 2012 it has en­joyed a steady in­crease in sales. In its first full year in 2013, some 8,488 D-Max 4x4s were sold. Last year 12,795 D-Max 4x4s found new homes. That’s a 50 per cent in­crease over that fouryear pe­riod and sales con­tinue to trend in the right di­rec­tion so far this year.

The D-Max sold now is, how­ever, a dif­fer­ent ve­hi­cle from the D-Max that ar­rived here in 2013 mainly thanks to a raft of up­grades for the 2017 model ini­ti­ated by manda­tory com­pli­ance to Euro 5 emis­sions stan­dards that came into ef­fect in

De­cem­ber 2016.

This bought a diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter but at the same time Isuzu re­worked the en­gine’s top-end (from the pis­tons up), new turbo and all, to bump the max­i­mum torque from 380Nm to 430Nm for bet­ter driv­abil­ity, and to qui­eten down what’s al­ways been a rel­a­tively noisy en­gine.

At the same time an Aisin six-speed au­to­matic, sim­i­lar to what’s used in the Hilux and Prado, re­placed the pre­vi­ous five-speed auto and a six-speed man­ual re­placed the pre­vi­ous five-speeder.

For the 2018 model, Isuzu has made changes to the cabin, equip­ment lev­els, and rear sus­pen­sion. SX, LS-U and LS-T du­al­cab 4WDs now have softer three-leaf springs in­stead of the five-leaf springs used pre­vi­ously.

The end re­sult is a more com­pli­ant ride when un­laden but seem­ingly di­min­ished abil­ity to carry max­i­mum pay­loads, if our re­cent 4x4 Ute Me­gat­est is any­thing to go by.

As ever, the D-Max is solid rather than spec­tac­u­lar and while it’s not the last word in what it does on or off the road, it makes a lot of sense as an own­er­ship propo­si­tion.

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