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Bigger and better: All-new 2021 Isuzu D-Max ute launches

Has Isuzu’s new generation D-Max ute risen to the top?

Isuzu has lifted price, specs and details on its new generation Isuzu D-Max ute in Australia, and it’s a ute that steps up as a serious challenger to threaten the sales-leading Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.

Breaking the segment’s usual compromise of safety for utility, the new D-Max is a significant step forward with its comprehensive safety technology, well-equipped features and technology and new cabin design. It also brings an all-new engine and improved drivetrain inside a new chassis. From what was once a stalwart work ute, it has become one of the most advanced offerings.

While it brings a familiar look, almost everything underneath has been improved on the new and more rigid ladder-frame platform. The body has grown wider (with a 30mm longer wheelbase)  which provides more cabin space, though wind-tunnel time means the body is more aerodynamically efficient, and the development program included over four million kilometers of vigorous testing to ensure it has improved in every area of ride and handling and performance.

Underpinning that performance is an all-new ‘4JJ3-TCX’ turbo diesel engine, though it measures the same 3.0-litre capacity as the out-going model. Euro 5 compliant, it produces 140kW at 3600rpm 450Nm of torque at 1600-2600rpm, an increase of 10kW and 30Nm over the old motor, though the new engine is said to be quieter, more refined and providing noticeable real-world driveability improvements. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or auto, though the auto is a new Aisin Rev-Tronic unit with sports mode and manual shifting.

Despite improvements to the drivetrain, there is some fluctuation to fuel economy, which is up on most units at around 7.7L/100km for most of the range, though also down on some variants.

Ride and handling have improved, with new independent double-wishbone front and the same three-leaf spring setup in the rear but with 30mm of axle travel and tuned to light or heavy load work depending on the grade of model (see below).

MORE 2021 ISUZU D-MAX: Tow, work and play accessories revealed

There are four model variants available, from base SX to a new flagship X-Terrain fitted with plenty of flash kit. Most importantly, all models come with the new Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) with a unique twin-camera system used by independent partner Hitachi and is compatible with bullbars and other Isuzu accessories.

The full capabilities of the safety system (fitted across the range) include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), AEB with turn assist, forward collision warning, post-collision warning, misaccelration mitigation and adaptive cruise control (both not available in manual models), lane departure warning and prevention, lane keep assist (also not for manual), traffic sign recognition, speed limited, blind-spot monitoring, auto high beams, rear cross-traffic alert and driver attention assist.

In addition to safety is an upgrade to off-road ability, with all 4×4 models now offering an electromechanical rear differential lock, improved ‘Terrain Command’ that can shift from low to high range within one second and an 800mm wading depth.

The ‘Terrain Command’ system is a selectable part-time 4×4 system that can be switched to four-high on the move at speeds up to 100km/h.

LS-U and X-Terrin also have a higher 240mm ground clearance with 30.5 degrees approach, 24.2 degrees departure and 22.8 degrees ramp-over. All 4×2 and 4×4 also offer hill start assist and hill descent control as standard.

For touring and working, the payload goes up to 1320kg in the SX cab chassis, and towing capacity is 3500kg braked with a 350kg tow ball limit. GCM is 5950kg and GVM goes up to 3100kg.

The same six-year, 150,000km warranty carries on and is joined by seven years roadside assist. There’s also a seven-year capped price servicing scheme that covers the 12 month/15,000km service intervals on all models.

For the range, the LS-T departs and is replaced by the new X-Terrain 4×4 king of the range, priced at $62,900 – a reasonable increase in price when compared to the old LS-T though the model is equipped with everything, including a premium cabin with every inch of technology available.

At the entry point we have the SX, which carries on with a sib-$30k price point and is the most work-ready ute, with practical cabin fitout and the highest payload capacity.

The bulk selling LS-U and popular LS-M continue, priced $51,000 and $53,900 respectively, up around $4000 on the old models though, as per the entire range, the models come with the comprehensive IDAS system and interior finishes.

All models go on sale September 1.

2021 Isuzu D-Max variants and equipment

D-MAX SX

  • 3-leaf standard rear suspension on ute model (3-leaf heavy-duty on Cab Chassis and Space Cab 4×2 ute)
  • Vinyl floor
  • Cloth trim upholstery
  • Power windows, mirrors, electric power steering and air-conditioning with rear air vents on Crew Cab models
  • 7-inch infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, with 4-speakers
  • Isuzu signature matt grey metallic front grille
  • 17-inch steel wheels with 255/65R17 Dunlop AT25

D-MAX LS-M:

  • 3-leaf heavy-duty rear suspension
  • Two additional cup holders and one additional 2.1-Amp USB port
  • Vinyl floor
  • High-grade cloth trim upholstery
  • 7.0-inch infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, with 6-speakers
  • Bi-LED headlights with LED daytime running lights (DRL), with auto-levelling
  • LED fog lights
  • Body coloured mirrors, handles
  • Matt grey metallic front grille
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with 255/65R17 Dunlop AT25

D-MAX LS-U:

  • 6-speed auto or manual, 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain with rear diff-lock
  • 3-leaf standard rear suspension
  • Carpet floor
  • Premium leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • 9.0-inch infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Sat-Nav, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, with 8-speakers (6-speakers – Space Cab)
  • Power adjustable lumbar support on driver’s seat
  • Dual-zone air conditioning with rear air vents on Crew Cab
  • Smart wet wiper blades
  • Chrome Door handles, tailgate handle, handbrake button, side mirrors and front grille
  • LED combination taillights
  • Rear Park Sensors
  • Available in Marble White pearl and Magnetic Red mica in addition to the standard range of paint finishes
  • 18-inch machined-face alloy wheels with 265/60R18 Bridgestone 684II HT

D-MAX X-TERRAIN:

  • 6-speed auto, 4×4 drivetrain with rear diff-lock
  • 3-leaf standard rear suspension
  • Leather-accented upholstery with leatherette across interior trims
  • Premium leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support
  • 9.0-inch infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Sat-Nav, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, with 8-speakers
  • Remote engine start
  • Smart Entry and Start
  • Walk Away Door Lock
  • Piano black interior trims with satin silver highlights
  • Dark grey metallic side steps, mirrors, door and tailgate handles, roof rails and fender flares
  • Under rail tub liner
  • Matt black roller tonneau cover
  • Aero sports bar
  • Front and rear underbody spoilers
  • Front and Rear Park Sensors
  • Gunmetal grey metallic front grille
  • Exclusive ‘X’ badging
  • Available in Marble White pearl, Magnetic Red mica and Volcanic Amber metallic in addition to the standard range of paint finishes
  • 18-inch dark grey metallic alloy wheels with 265/60R18 Bridgestone 684II HT

2021 Isuzu D-Max pricing (plus on-roads)

Drivetrain

Model

Body Type

Transmission

Rear Tray

 RRP

4×2

Single Cab Chassis SX

Single Cab

MT

Cab Chassis

 $       32,200

Single Cab Chassis SX

Single Cab

AT

Cab Chassis

 $       34,200

Crew Cab Chassis SX

Crew Cab

AT

Cab Chassis

 $       40,700

Space Cab Ute SX

Space Cab

AT

Ute

 $       38,900

Crew Cab Ute SX

Crew Cab

AT

Ute

 $       41,900

Crew Cab Ute LS-U

Crew Cab

AT

Ute

 $       48,900

———————————————-

4×4

 

Single Cab Chassis SX

Single Cab

MT

Cab Chassis

 $       40,200

Single Cab Chassis SX

Single Cab

AT

Cab Chassis

 $       42,200

Space Cab Chassis SX

Space Cab

MT

Cab Chassis

 $       43,700

Space Cab Chassis SX

Space Cab

AT

Cab Chassis

 $       45,700

Crew Cab Chassis SX

Crew Cab

MT

Cab Chassis

 $       46,700

Crew Cab Chassis SX

Crew Cab

AT

Cab Chassis

 $       48,700

Crew Cab Ute SX

Crew Cab

MT

Ute

 $       47,900

Crew Cab Ute SX

Crew Cab

AT

Ute

 $       49,900

Crew Cab Ute LS-M

Crew Cab

MT

Ute

 $       51,000

Crew Cab Ute LS-M

Crew Cab

AT

Ute

 $       53,000

Space Cab Ute LS-U

Space Cab

AT

Ute

 $       53,900

Crew Cab Ute LS-U

Crew Cab

MT

Ute

 $       54,900

Crew Cab Ute LS-U

Crew Cab

AT

Ute

 $       56,900

Crew Cab Ute X-TERRAIN

Crew Cab

AT

Ute

 $       62,900


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Ted
Ted
1 month ago

Part time 4×4, full time 4×4 or selectable full time 4×4 Alex? ‘Terrain Command’ could be any of them, though I suspect it’s a marketing name for part time 4×4.

This is detail almost universally overlooked in motoring reviews, but is a critical factor in deciding if a vehicle is fit for purpose when not living in the big smoke.

PAUL LEWIS
PAUL LEWIS
1 month ago

Dose the new one limited slip diff or lockers?

Alex Rae
Alex Rae
1 month ago
Reply to  PAUL LEWIS

Hi Paul,

It has a rear diff lock. 

Whilst in 4-Low, the Rear Diff-Lock can be engaged on the fly at speeds up to 8kph and will automatically disengage at speeds above 30kph. 

When driving with Rear Diff-Lock engaged, systems such as Traction Control System and Electronic Stability Control will automatically be disengaged. All ADAS features, however, including AEB & LDP will remain engaged, but can be turned off via the Driver’s 4.2” Multi-Information Display.

Dennis
Dennis
1 month ago

Purchased new October 2017 my MU-X has travelled almost 90,000 Km, over 50,000 Km in the first twelve months including much of WA, NT and NQ, with one only warranty repair, a hydraulic steering leak repaired in Darwin during a book scheduled service.

Most of the travelling towing a caravan, MU-X handles 1,800 Kg effortlessly.

Paul Germaine
Paul Germaine
1 month ago

Wow, the interior is chalk and cheese on the old model- and well overdue. Good work Izuzu.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae