Covers finally come off the all-new Isuzu D-Max bakkie
The wraps have come off the new-generation Isuzu D-Max, with pictures and technical details revealed by Isuzu’s Thailand division.
The locally-built D-Max, formerly known as the KB before its name was changed in October last year, is one of SA’s most popular-selling bakkies and the one-tonner range comes with its first major design overhaul in eight years, including a new design and a host of technological and safety upgrades.
In addition to an updated infotainment system, the technology and quality of interior components are also upgraded, and interior noise is significantly reduced.
The restyled exterior — as before available in single cab, double cab and extended cab variants — adopts a more bold and chunky design while the bakkie’s been modernised with front and rear LED lights and an integrated rear bumper.
A major internal restyle sees the D-Max venturing ever further into the lifestyle category with a more upscale cabin that features richer surface striking contrasts.
A 23cm infotainment screen offers navigation and connectivity including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and it can be operated by voice control. In the range-topping version the engine can be started remotely from the key fob while standing within 20m of the vehicle, and the bakkie also locks itself automatically when you walk away.
The D-Max offers up to six airbags and joins the modern era of safety with features like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
The new D-Max now flexes bigger muscles, an area where it had fallen behind its rivals. The newly developed four-cylinder 3.0l turbodiesel has been bumped up to a more lively 140kW and 450Nm — up from 130kW and 380Nm.
A 1.9l turbodiesel will also be offered, though its outputs haven’t yet been revealed.
Transmission choices are six-speed manual or a six speed automatic, sending power to the rear wheels or all four.
Four-wheel drive versions now take a shorter time to switch between two-wheel and four-wheel drive as well as between high and low range, and there’s an electromagnetic rear differential lock.
Refinement has taken a step forward with a 20% increase in body rigidity by using ultra-high tensile steel, leading to reduced noise and vibration levels and improved handling.
The independent front suspension employs double wishbones with coil springs, while the rear suspension continues to use rugged leaf springs.
Braking performance has been boosted with the introduction of larger discs, and the steering ratio has been revised to reduce turning effort. Reach adjustment has finally been added to the steering column’s repertoire, so that longer-legged drivers no longer have to drive with their knees pressed up to the dash.
Isuzu Motors South Africa hasn’t yet confirmed when the new D-Max will be launched here but it’s unlikely to be imminent as the company is still engaging with Isuzu to build the vehicle at its Port Elizabeth factory. It seems the existing D-Max, which was given a refresher along with its name change a year ago, will be with us for a while longer.
MOTORING PODCAST | The importance of proportion