Written byShaun McGowan
Isuzu released this latest-generation of the D-MAX ute in July of 2020. It features an evolution of the company’s 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine (called the 4JJ3-TCX, which is also found in Isuzu trucks) plus a new platform and a host of advanced safety technology that’s new for Isuzu.
Mazda has a contract with Isuzu to share the design, with minor styling changes, in the current Mazda BT-50.
In addition to the 3.0-litre engine, an entry level 1.9-litre engine is offered in the base-model 4X2 single cab ute.
140kW & 450nM
Intelligent Driver Assistance System
If you’ve never bought a ute before, the range can be quite confronting, with three different cab styles: single cab, dual cab and, somewhere in the middle, space cab versions. However, not all cab styles are typically available in all model grades - highest-spec models tend to be dual-cab only.
In addition, there are pickups (with a body coloured ‘tub’ for cargo) or ‘cab chassis’ options (where you add your own alloy or steel tray). And, if that’s not enough to consider there are also 4X4 and 4X2 powertrains, with 4X2 offered in conventional (car-like) ride height, as well as ‘high ride’ with additional ground clearance.
Isuzu leverages its reputation for reliability in the trucking industry into the D-MAX range, but peak outputs on the latest engine (140kW and 450Nm) don’t quite match that of Hilux’s 2.8 (150kW and 500Nm), although the D-MAX’s fuel economy is slightly better than Hilux, on the official ‘combined cycle test (8.0 litres per 100km versus 8.4).
The D-MAX has a very basic 4WD system comprising 2WD for high traction surfaces and 4WD for low traction, in both high and low range. If you’re looking for a ute with a more sophisticated AWD system, where you can use 4WD (high) on bitumen and good dirt roads for increased surefootedness, essentially you need to compare higher grades of Mitsubishi’s Triton - the GLS or GSR.
Everything in SX plus:
Like most competitors, D-MAX offers 3.5 tonnes of tow capacity, but in practice this is very difficult to achieve (legally) - especially on vehicles carrying a significant payload of people, gear (in the tray) or accessories. In the real world, 2.5 to 3.0 tonnes is far more realistic in the towing domain.
D-MAX is very competitive on spec levels. At the top of the range the vehicle comes fully loaded with leather, Apple and Android phone integrations, a rear diff lock, smart key with pushbutton start and adaptive cruise control.
Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.