GoAutoLogo
MENU

Future models - Isuzu - D-Max - Z-Prestige

Isuzu pondering Wildtrak rival as D-Max flagship

Full fruit: Isuzu showrooms in some Asian markets already have a D-Max Z-Prestige range-topper, which local executives are assessing for the Australian market to compete with the Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Holden Colorado Z71.

D-Max Z-Prestige model sold overseas could become Isuzu Ute flagship in Australia

Gallery

Click to see larger images

Isuzu logo11 Feb 2017

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

ISUZU Ute Australia (IUA) is assessing whether to offer a “bells and whistles” version of the D-Max to capitalise on the growing market for luxury lifestyle-oriented utes such as the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, Holden Colorado Z71 and Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate.

Some Asian markets already have access to a flagship D-Max, known as the Z-Prestige, featuring unique paint finishes and exterior trim such as a shark-fin antenna, fender flares and a buttress-like plastic sports bar with matching hard tonneau cover and rear spoiler, while the interior has piped leather upholstery and a trimmed central armrest plus keyless entry with push-button start.

The facelifted 2017 model-year D-Max range launched this week tops out at $54,200 plus on-road costs for the LS-Terrain automatic, which already shares some Z-Prestige features such as the 18-inch wheel design, keyless technology and aerodynamic aerial but has a more conservative exterior and interior design.

Given the Ford Ranger Wildtrak commands a $4175 premium over the equivalent XLT and Holden charges $4500 more for a Colorado Z71 over the LTZ, an Australian market D-Max Z-Prestige could come close to the $60,000 mark.

Isuzu is not the only Japanese brand to be considering an entrant to the luxury ute market, with an upmarket Toyota HiLux variant reportedly in the works.

At this week’s D-Max and MU-X media launch, IUA executives canvassed opinion from journalists about the luxo-ute trend’s longevity and pondered if it was likely to receive a boost when the Commodore-based Holden Ute is killed off later this year, or if those buyers would be attracted to conventional coupes and sports cars instead.

Currently, a luxurious lifestyle-oriented ute is not consistent with D-Max customer usage patterns, but IUA hopes the brand will eventually become aspirational enough to pull off a Wildtrak-like variant.

Speaking with GoAuto, IUA sales and marketing director Yugo Kiyofuji said he could see the trend toward what he described as “bells and whistles” utes such as the Wildtrak and Z71.

He observed that these vehicles were often driven by “lawyers and businessmen with lots of cash in their pockets”, but was still not sure if the trend would continue and agreed that potential roadblocks included future fuel price rises and the oft-mooted introduction of emissions-based taxation or congestion reduction measures to Australia’s capital cities.

Mr Kiyofuji pointed to the predicament faced by Japanese brands such as Toyota and Nissan when demand for their North American market full-size trucks plummeted during the global financial crisis as buyers fled to smaller, more efficient models.

However, he recognised the upcoming Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute as a sign the premium ute trend was here to stay and that Australia’s preference for diesel in the segment provided a buffer against fuel price hikes compared with the North American predilection for less large-capacity petrol engines.

“For now we will focus on the usage by our customers, but this bells and whistles ute is a goal into the future,” he said.

Read more

All future models

D-Max pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Share with your friends

Isuzu models

All future models

D-Max pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.