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New Isuzu D-Max to carry Aussie flavour

Maxed out: The third-generation D-Max (current generation pictured) is set for a 2020 reveal and is expected to feature equipment tailored for the Australian market.

New Isuzu D-Max expected to break cover internationally in 2020 before Aussie launch

Isuzu logo17 Aug 2018

AUSTRALIAN feedback is expected to heavily influence specification levels of Isuzu Ute’s third-generation D-Max pick-up due to be revealed in 2020.
 
Speaking to journalists at the unveiling of the D-Max and MU-X Concept X pair, Isuzu Ute Australia (IAU) senior regional fleet sales manager for the southern region Kevin Griffiths said to expect increased safety equipment in the new models, keeping them in line with local standards.
 
“You’ll see safety features because obviously that’s … driven by legislation,” he said. “So whatever legislation is, you’ll see some safety feature changes as a matter of having to do that to comply.”
 
The inclusion of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is now mandatory for a full five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash test score, meaning the collision avoidance technology will likely be included across the board in the new-generation MU-X and D-Max.
 
Furthermore, equipment such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert, which are off the table for current vehicles, could also be offered in the updated ute and seven-seat SUV.
 
As for powertrain options, Mr Griffiths would not be drawn on particulars, but said the current 3.0-litre turbo-diesel unit, outputting 130kW/430Nm, is a local-market-specific engine that complies with current standards.
 
“That 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, that engine was built for Australia,” he said. “So if you look globally, Isuzu’s got a 2.5 or even a 1.9, but in Australia, it’s a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel because we made that Euro 5 compatible because that’s what the Australian market wants.
 
“It’s only in this country that you can get that engine.”
 
An update to the powertrain could also debut with the changeover to a new model with improved outputs and efficiencies, but it is currently unconfirmed if the engine or six-speed automatic transmission will carry over.
 
As for the MU-X, Mr Griffiths said to expect further differentiation between the donor D-Max and the large seven-seater to give the MU-X a more mainstream appeal.
 
“You can expect I think to see continued softening of that (MU-X) … further distancing of that and the D-Max,” he said.
 
“If you go back two years, or three years ago, there wasn’t a lot of difference … that’s dramatically changed now.
 
“Look at where the market feedback is … it’s trying to make it a little more quieter, try and make the ride a bit more softer or smooth, and that market is, if you look at things like Apple CarPlay that market quite clearly is going that way, so we have to try and find something to meet that demand otherwise we’ll be left behind.
 
“We want it to be a bit more passenger-friendly, and we’ve certainly done that in the last 18 months, and will continue to do so.”

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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.