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Isuzu to introduce mild hybrid D-Max: report

Thai publication says 48-volt mild hybrid power will feature in 2025 Isuzu D-Max range

9 Jan 2024

ISUZU is set to follow Toyota’s lead in introducing 48-volt mild hybrid assistance to its utility line-up, according to an article published this week by Thai outlet, Headlight Magazine.


The outlet says that from 2025, Isuzu’s popular D-Max will launch with a 2.2-itre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine featuring an integrated belt-starter generator MHEV arrangement.


There is no indication as to whether the forthcoming unit will replace the 1.9-litre or 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine offering in the D-Max range or be sold as an additional option.


The news follows reports last year that Isuzu is working on an all-electric (BEV) version of its D-Max ute. In October, UK outlet Auto Express said the utility will be produced for sale in the European market and will be based on the current generation D-Max.


The announcement was made by Isuzu president and COO, Shinsuke Minami, at the release of the updated MY24 Isuzu D-Max in Bangkok – that model expected to arrive in Australia sometime in the first half of this year.


“Isuzu is actively taking efforts to realise a carbon-neutral society. Going forward, Isuzu plans to produce a BEV (battery electric vehicle) pick-up in Thailand,” said Mr Minami at the time.


“Isuzu will first introduce it in Europe, then examine its gradual roll-out by meeting the needs of each market.”


Mr Minami did not provide technical details, specifications, or timing for the Isuzu D-Max EV, but it is understood the variant will be based on the current platform, giving Isuzu (and related Mazda) a rival to the likes of the all-electric LDV eT60, as well as the incoming KGM (formerly SsangYong) 0100 and plug-in hybrid Ford Ranger.


GoAuto understands the D-Max BEV will be powered by a version of the driveline found in Isuzu’s N Series light duty electric truck, meaning power output of between 110kW and 150kW and a peak torque value of 370Nm.


Isuzu Ute Australia has yet to announce timing of electrified D-Max models for the local market, nor has it detailed timing of the facelifted MY24 D-Max range.


The new-look D-Max range was outed in Thailand in October, the revised MY24 model sporting an updated frontal design with revised bi-LED headlights and new ‘black chrome’ grille, more technology, and several new convenience features, along with a revamped ‘triple armour’ tail-light assembly and broadened alloy wheel selection.


According to Isuzu’s Thai website, the facelifted D-Max will also offer bolstered wheel arch extensions on the high-grade V-Cross variant (sold locally as the X-Terrain), and an aerodynamically improved lower bumper section with drag-reducing outer vents and an angled fog- or cornering light.


Interior changes take the lead from the Isuzu MU-X with steering wheel paddle shifters, ventilated front seats, front and rear USB-C charging ports, and wireless Android Auto now featuring on select variants. Touch-sensitive controls replace many of the infotainment system’s hard buttons.


A new bronze-finish interior treatment with BT-50 style brown and black leather upholstery is depicted on the high-grade V-Cross (X-Terrain) variant.


The range is also set to see the introduction of a larger multi-function display within the instrument panel, upgraded from 4.2- to 7.0 inches, though likely only on higher grade variants.


Isuzu’s Thai website does not mention any changes to the safety apparatus fitted to the D-Max, mentioning only a wider-view frontal camera (the camera appears to be stereoscopic in the images shown).


Similarly, there is no indication of any update to the vehicle’s driveline with the D-Max set to carryover the current 1.9- and 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engines (outputting 110kW/350Nm and 140kW/450Nm respectively), six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and choice of two- and four-wheel drive – the latter now available with the MU-X’s ‘rough terrain mode’.


It is not yet known whether the changes noted above will be applied to Mazda’s twin-under-the-skin BT-50 range.


Isuzu Ute Australia has not yet offered timing, price, or specification details for the updated 2024 Isuzu D-Max range, saying simply that it is continuing to monitor the situation.


Images: Thai specification Isuzu D-Max V-Cross.


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