GQEBERHA, SOUTH AFRICA – ISUZU Motors South Africa has introduced the highly anticipated and desirable all-new ISUZU D-MAX bakkie, taking its popular light commercial vehicle (LCV) to higher levels of refinement, quality, technology and efficiency than ever before. With a 24-strong line-up of Single Cab, Extended Cab and Double Cab models available with two engine options, five specification levels, manual and automatic transmissions and in 4x2 or 4x4 guise. The newcomer is sure to find favour as both an all-encompassing everyday leisure and lifestyle and a trusty workhorse vehicle.
The all-new ISUZU D-MAX is the seventh generation of ISUZU bakkies to be manufactured in Gqeberha over the past 42 years, and is the culmination of a R1.2 billion investment in Isuzu’s local operations, announced in 2019. It is produced for the domestic market in South Africa, and exported to 25 left and right-hand drive markets across the African continent.
“Isuzu’s LCV offerings have always been key players in the local market, delivering exceptional reliability and durability for our customers, whether used in hard-working commercial applications, or spearheading the popular double cab segment. We are confident that the new ISUZU D-MAX will continue in this proud legacy and raise the bar even higher for the brand,” says Dominic Rimmer, Senior Vice-President, Technical Operations at ISUZU Motors SA.
“We have taken our proven and trusted characteristics such as power, strength and reliability and added distinctive sporty styling, significantly improved comfort, an extensive range of new technologies and trend-setting safety features to make the new ISUZU D-MAX line-up well positioned to compete the in the leisure segment of the market, ” Rimmer says.
The extensive, highly capable South African model range comprises five Single Cabs, six Extended Cabs, and a total of 11 Double Cab derivatives for South African customers. Rest of Africa model range includes four Single Cabs and 9Double Cab derivatives for Right-hand Drive and Left-hand drive markets.
Design and styling
Emphasising its rugged, yet modern and refined look, the all-new ISUZU D-MAX is bolder and sportier than ever. This is clearly evident by the fresh and more aggressive front fascia and grille, centred around a modern interpretation of the established ISUZU D-MAX design cues.
Slimmer, more angular lights that include Bi-LED projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights on the high-series models give the new ISUZU D-MAX distinctive on-road presence. This is complemented by LED edge lighting for the turn indicators on the mirror housings, crisp new LED combination tail lamps and an integrated LED high-mount brake light at the rear that continue the contemporary theme.
The enhanced sense of quality and attention to detail in the design is highlighted with the minimised panel gaps between the doors, as well as between the cabin and cargo box, while the integrated two-step rear bumper is seamlessly incorporated into the sleek and sophisticated lines of the new ISUZU D-MAX.
Despite its more athletic appearance, the new ISUZU D-MAX is bigger and more spacious in all key areas, other than the roofline which is 10 mm lower than the previous model. The bonnet and load area have been heightened by 15 mm and 30 mm respectively, while the wheelbase has been extended by 30 mm for greater optimisation of the cabin structure.
Everyday comfort and convenience have also been enhanced with longer front doors for Single Cab and Extended Cab models, and a new longer rear door for the versatile and family-oriented Double Cab, thanks to the B-pillar being moved 25mm forward to further improve access for rear-seat occupants. Overall, the new design ensures that the ISUZU D-MAX provides easier ingress and egress, matched to increased passenger space and legroom.
Similarly, the new loadbox design has released additional loading space and capacity, with up to 15 mm added to the bed floor length, and an extra 30 mm in depth for the box sides. At 1 530 mm wide, the tailgate offers easy loading of wide objects for added convenience and versatility.
The high series models of the new ISUZU D-MAX offer a smart and sophisticated cabin with a upper-class quality feel. It is more akin to that of a passenger car with sharp graphics and a variety of layered and textured surfaces with soft-touch materials – most noticeably on the dashboard – that provide a tactile, quality feel throughout. The new dashboard layout lifts the game with an elegant, simplified layout that positions the controls and switches within easy reach.
Overall interior space has been improved with increased legroom at the rear. The rear seat positions have been moved outward for a 20 mm increase in shoulder room, and the rake of the backrest has been increased for greater comfort.
The driving position can now be further optimised thanks to an increased range of seat adjustment and the use of a smaller-diameter steering wheel – the latter now incorporating up to 20 mm telescopic adjustment, further reinforcing the more car-like driving position.
The instrument binnacle features analogue dials for the rev counter and speedometer, along with a large 4.2-inch LCD multi information display (MID) that provides high resolution for easy readability and access to a wide range of functions.
A fully integrated Wide Extended Graphic Array (WXGA) display infotainment system features prominently in the centre stack, in 7-inch or 9-inch versions depending on model. The system is touch screen activated and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to seamlessly mirror your connected smartphone.
Supreme comfort is assured thanks to the dual-zone climate control on the LSE and V-CROSS models – with rear vents on the Double Cabs contributing for greater comfort – or manual air-conditioning on the lower derivatives.
Technology and safety
All new ISUZU D-MAX models come standard with impressive safety credentials such as Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS). Also added to the mix are Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control, Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Trailer Sway Control.
The range-topping V-CROSS raises the benchmark even further, as it boasts Intelligent Driver Assist System (IDAS) that incorporates a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features. It includes advanced features such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Parking Aid (front and rear) and Multi Collision Brake (MCB) that will automatically apply the brakes when the airbags are deployed.
On LSE and V-CROSS models, a Passive Entry & Start System (PESS) is standard. Along with the keyless unlocking and push-button start functionality, the system also allows remote engine start (on automatic models) from the key fob within a 20 metre range of the vehicle. The system also has an automatic locking function when walking away from the vehicle with the key.
In the event of a collision the ISUZU D-MAX is equipped with up to eight airbags, depending on specification level. Along with the dual front passenger airbags, roof rail (curtain) airbags, seat side airbags and a driver’s knee airbag, a far side airbag is also available on the top V-CROSS models which provides additional head protection between front seat occupants.
Power and performance
The new ISUZU D-MAX range is available with a choice of two diesel engines that build on Isuzu’s long-standing reputation for durability, reliability and efficiency.
Isuzu’s 1.9-litre Ddi powerplant is a new powertrain to the ISUZU line-up and is standard on all Single Cab models and is available on Extended Cab and Double Cab derivatives. It uses common rail direct injection to produce a maximum power output of 110 kW at 3 600 r/min, with peak torque of 350 Nm available between 1 800 to 2 600 r/min, delivering superb fuel economy and low running costs.
Available on mid to high-series Extended Cab and Double Cab models, the upgraded 3.0 Ddi engine has been optimised for more torque at lower engine speeds, superior pull off and acceleration, significantly reduced noise levels and optimised consumption. In its latest guise, the 3.0-litre unit delivers 140 kW of peak power at 3 600 r/min, with its maximum torque figure of 450 Nm available from 1 600 to 2 600 r/min.
A choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions is available. The manual gearbox benefits from optimised gear ratios and an improved shift action, and makes the most of the strong torque delivery and superb fuel economy. The automatic version delivers an ideal combination of refinement and responsive performance and incorporates a sequential sport mode that enables the driver to select a specific gear manually, which is helpful when towing and off-road driving.
Underlining its suitability for both work and play, the D-MAX is available in both 4x2 and 4x4 guise across Single Cab, Extended Cab and Double Cab body styles.
Ensuring that there is a D-MAX model to cater to virtually every need and application, there are five specification levels, ranging from entry-level Standard to upmarket V-CROSS.
Even in Standard guise, the list of standard features is comprehensive and includes items such as an AM/FM radio with an integrated CD player and Bluetooth, manual air-conditioning, an immobiliser and tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel as well as follow me home headlamps. Safety features such as airbags for the driver and front passenger and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and brake assist round off the package.
The next step up is the L specification level. These models gain an anti-theft alarm, power windows and satellite audio controls on the steering wheel, to name but a few. Safety is further enhanced with the addition of ISOFIX child seat anchors in the Double Cab models.
The list of features on LS models includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch screen for the infotainment system which offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, six speakers, USB ports in the front and rear, cruise control, seven airbags, halogen daytime running lights, a rear-view camera and black side steps.
In LSE models the size of the alloy wheels is increased to 18 inches, with a standard Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. The infotainment system has a 9-inch screen and eight
speakers, while a passive entry start system (PESS) is also added. Additional features include, among others, LED head and tail lamps, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, front and rear park assist, a tow bar, roof rails and a chrome tubular sports bar.
The jewel in the D-MAX crown is the V-CROSS specification level. Key features include leather seats with eight-way power adjustment, Isuzu’s Advanced Driver Assist System with latest-generation active driving safety features, eight airbags and automatic high beam activation. It is also differentiated from the rest of the range with gun metallic finishes for the grille, fender flares, door handles, mirror caps, roof rails and the distinctive hooped sports bar.
The range at a glance
The ISUZU D-MAX range reflects the modern requirements of the LCV market. There are five Single Cab derivatives, all featuring the 1.9 Ddi engine, and available in Standard and L specification levels. Two of these are available with the six-speed automatic transmission and there are two 4x4 models. There is also a Chassis Cab derivative for commercial customers aiming to outfit the vehicle according to their specific business requirements.
The Extended Cab is available in six derivatives in Standard and LS spec, matched to the 1.9 Ddi engine. The LSE models are paired with the 3.0 Ddi engine and automatic transmission, in 4x2 or 4x4.
With 11 models in the line-up, the Double Cab offering is extensive. Covering all specification grades, five of these make use of the 1.9-litre engine in L and LS models, and a choice of manual or auto, and two or four-wheel drive. Customers opting for the 3.0 Ddi engine can select LS, LSE or V-CROSS specification. A single manual derivative is available in the LS model, with the rest equipped with the six-speed automatic and either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains.
ISUZU Complete Care
ISUZU Complete Care comes standard with every new ISUZU D-MAX and embodies Isuzu’s unwavering commitment to aftersales service and customer satisfaction. All new ISUZU D-MAX models are sold as standard with a comprehensive five-year/120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, as well as a five-year unlimited distance anti-corrosion warranty.
In addition, a five-year/90 000 km service plan is included in the purchase price, with service intervals scheduled every 15 000 km or annually, whichever comes first.
Through ISUZU Mobility, customers have the option of extending the standard service plan up to a maximum of six years or 200 000 km. Alternatively, the service plan can be upgraded to a full maintenance plan that covers the vehicle for planned and unplanned maintenance up to six years/200 000 km.