2020 Isuzu D-Max revealed
Isuzu’s new D-Max ute could pull sales away from the segment’s leading heroes.
Isuzu has unveiled its all-new D-Max ute in Thailand that brings a beefier engine, improved off-road ability, new styling, and much better technology.
The new model will come to Australia in 2020, the first new generation D-Max since the current model went on sale in 2012. It will be a much more sophisticated ute from Isuzu to battle against rivals such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado, Nissan Navara and Mazda BT-50.
Underpinning the 2020 D-Max ute is a new chassis comprising revised double-wishbone front and three-leaf rear suspension with electrically-assisted steering, and there’s reach adjustment to the steering wheel for the first time.
Powering the model is the same 3.0-litre four-cylinder diesel turbo engine, boosted to produce a competitive 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm at 1600-2600rpm. The figures compare favourably over the previous 130kW and 430Nm outputs, and compete close to the competition such as the Ranger (157kW, 500Nm or 147kW, 470Nm), Hilux (130kW, 450Nm), Triton (133kW, 430Nm), Navara (140kW, 450Nm) and Colorado 147kW, 500Nm).
Improving off-road ability is the inclusion of a rear differential lock (currently open-wheeled), activated by a button next to the gearshift, and wading depth has increased from 600mm to 800mm. There is also hill descent control and hill start assist, and the front brakes have grown from 300mm to 320mm while drum brakes remain on the rear.
Safety technology announced for the Thailand market includes rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot monitoring, which doesn’t meet the requirements for a full five-star ANCAP rating in Australia. But given Isuzu Australia’s previous statement that it will gun for a full five-star ute, and that Mazda will base its new BT-50 on Isuzu’s platform, we fully expect AEB and lane departure warning to be loaded into local versions.
But otherwise, technology and convenience improvements are top of the class, with a central 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for the first time, a 4.2-inch digital instrument display in the dash for the driver, optional eight-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control with rear air vents, perforated leather seats, automatic LED headlights and wipers, keyless entry with automatic locking doors and remote engine start.
The significant improvements to Isuzu’s D-Max ute should help boost sales in Australia, though local pricing, specification and a launch date are yet to be confirmed.
Can the new Isuzu take on the ute segment’s best? Comment below or get involved in our Facebook group page.