Isuzu’s workhorse is popular with tradies but a new model aims to broaden its appeal
THE Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger continue to duke it out for top-selling ute status, but competition in the affordable segment of the pick-up market just got tougher.
The Isuzu D-Max four-door 4WD range — priced from $39,990 to $50,990 drive-away — has been given a fresh look, and an overhauled diesel engine that has more grunt yet uses less fuel.
The update catapults the DMax from being the oldest mainstream pick-up on sale — this generation arrived in 2011 — to the newest.
The visual changes may be subtle but the bonnet, grille, headlights and front bumper are all new.
The big news is what’s under the new nose.
Isuzu has all but rebuilt the 3.0-litre turbo diesel to meet the latest emissions standards, in the process bringing the D-Max closer in power and torque to its competitors.
Power is the same as before (130kW) but torque has been given a boost from 380Nm to 430Nm on manual and automatic variants.
While these outputs are still less than most rivals, they shadow the top selling Toyota HiLux, which has 130kW of power and 420Nm (manual) and 450Nm (auto) from its 2.8litre turbo diesel.
To handle the extra grunt there are new transmissions.
The five-speed manual has been upgraded to a six-speed, and the six-speed auto has been strengthened to handle the extra torque.
The diff ratio is the same as before but the internals have