Isuzu has announced the launch of its I-Venture Club which is designed to help Isuzu D-Max and MU-X owners learn more about travelling off-road.

MOST 4X4 MANUFACTURERS like to talk the talk about offroading and the adventure lifestyle, but very few actually do something about it beyond produce some glossy brochures.

So good on Isuzu for creating I-Venture, which is a company-backed club to help Isuzu D-MAX and Ute owners start off-roading. To begin with there are quite a few introductory driver training days around Australia, some at the well-established Werribee 4X4 grounds in Melbourne, others on sand in Western Australia for example, and the cost is $250 which for a day’s training is very decent value. You’ll also be sure to get trainers who know Isuzu product inside and out, and the ratio is one instructor per 12 students.  The driver training events are geared at the beginner or drivers new to off-roading, but Isuzu say the experienced will get something out of it as well. Only Isuzu vehicles are permitted on these trips.

Isuzu also intends to move beyond basic training to actual trips. According to Isuzu, “the I-venture Club has ‘day-trip’ events planned across all states of Australia this year, with longer overnight and weekend journeys, as well as ‘special interest’ events also in the pipeline”.

We asked if the idea was just for Isuzu to run events, and the answer from Isuzu’s media boss, Dave harding, “eventually (longer term) we expect members will begin to organise their own journeys through the friendships they form via our hub”.  It’s clear Isuzu see the I-VENTURE club growing, as they also said the club  “will offer different experiences to different customers – from the ‘first time out’ novice to the experienced hardcore off-roader … and via our dedicated website it will become a hub where our owners can get together to share their stories, pick up some professional advice and ultimately use their vehicles for what they were designed for – and that’s adventure.”

So all this makes the concept of I-VENTURE is a very interesting approach, as mostly manufacturers just do drive experience days as distinct from training.  A drive experience is where you’re shown the car over a very carefully prepared course to best advantage for the purpose of making a sale or at least raising brand awareness, and not given any operating or driving tuition.  A training course is where you’re actually told the good and the bad, and how to improve.  The distinction is important.

Another distinction is that very few manufacturers organise offroad trips on a regular basis, and this is the first time we’ve heard of a manufacturer actually get into running what looks like a club.  In fact, the relationship between car clubs and manufacturers is not always as smooth as you might think, as sometimes the clubs use the vehicles in ways the manufacturer would prefer they didn’t (notably some softroaders), or focus on older cars which the manufacturer wishes to downplay.  But overall, there’s normally a positive relationship between clubs and manufacturers, and there have been some good examples of cooperation over the years.

Regardless, we wish Isuzu all the very best with this initiative as anything which helps get people out and about touring in 4X4s is to be commended.

One of our roving reporters is with Isuzu on Moreton Island as we write this, so check back soon for her report. 


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