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Isuzu D-Max gets limited

Take it to the max: The luxury special-edition D-Max LE II will come in two exclusive pearlescent mica colours – Solar Bronze (pictured) and Lunar White.

Luxury-packed D-Max ‘LE II’ arrives as second Isuzu Ute Australia special

Isuzu logo28 Sep 2010

ISUZU’S rugged D-Max utility has been on sale alongside its better-known mechanical twin, Holden’s Colorado (nee Rodeo), for two years now and to celebrate its second anniversary Isuzu Ute Australia has released a second limited-edition model.

Available to order now ahead of its formal introduction at the Sydney motor show on October 15, the luxuriously appointed ‘Limited Edition II’ is priced at $47,390 plus on-road costs – $4800 more than the current D-Max flagship, the $42,500 LS-U 4x4 crew-cab ute on which it is based.

However, the LE II – which follows last year’s special-edition D-Max ‘Pearler’ – comes with a host of unique extra features Isuzu values at around $9000, led by a premium six-speaker integrated Kenwood colour touch-screen infotainment system comprising Garmin navigation, rear-view camera, multi-format audio and USB/iPod/iPhone and Bluetooth connectivity.

Just 180 examples of the manual and automatic-transmission D-Max LE II will be available Down Under, all painted in two exclusive new pearlescent mica exterior colours – 140 in Lunar White and 40 in Solar Bronze.

About half of the LE IIs are fitted with the $2400 option of silver-stitched Charcoal Italian leather seat trim, including monogrammed front backrests and matching centre armrest and door inserts, along with branded polished aluminium doorsill scuff plates and custom carpet mats, which are also monogrammed in the front.

10 center imageFurther differentiating the LE II from the LS-U – the most popular and previously the most expensive variant in the D-Max one-tonne ute and cab-chassis range – are special side steps featuring polished aluminium step inserts with rubber grips, a lockable hard tonneau cover, and chrome nudge and sports bars.

Other exterior extras distinguishing the model include a bonnet protector, foglight recess bezels and tail-light guards, ‘Limited Edition II’ badging on the tub’s rear flanks and an ‘LE II’ graphic integrated into the custom lower-door striping.

Like the LS-U, the LE II comes with air-conditioning, ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, twin front airbags, fold-in power door mirrors with turn indicators, cruise control, projector headlights, remote entry, power windows, limited-slip rear differential, lockable tailgate, rubber tub floor mat, chrome rear bumper step and five alloy wheels.

As with all D-Max 4x4s, the LE II has a three-tonne towing capacity, high-ride suspension, 225mm of ground clearance (despite underslung rear springs and the resulting lower loading height), ultra-low low-range first gear with anti-stall, steel plate sump and transfer case guards, fuel tank shield, 16x7.0-inch wheels with 245/70 tyres and wheelarch flares, and push-button 2WD/4WD/low-range selection and on-the-fly shifting up to 100km/h between 2WD and 4WD High.

Manual versions of the LE II – which like all D-Max models is powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel – offer a 900kg-plus payload.

“Last year’s ‘Pearler’ limited-edition D-Max was very well received so we’ve sweetened this year’s special-edition with some even greater value unique elements at very reasonable cost,” said Isuzu Ute Australia general manager of sales Paul Vuko.

This year’s luxury special could well be the last for the current-generation D-Max, which was first sold in Australia as the 2003 Holden Rodeo and – along with the Holden Colorado – will soon be due for renewal.

GoAuto understands Isuzu could be just months away from announcing the timing of the all-new D-Max, which is again expected to spawn a five-door SUV derivative to replace the D-Max-based MU-7 wagon currently sold in Thailand and other markets.

This time, however, as with the eventual SUV version of Ford’s next-generation Ranger – which was engineered by Ford Australia and makes its world debut at next month’s Sydney motor show – such a model is likely to be sold in Australia as a direct rival for Nissan’s Navara-based Pathfinder and Mitsubishi’s Triton-based Challenger.

As we reported last week, the Australian International Motor Show is shaping up to be an unprecedented ute-fest, with Mazda also due to stage the global premiere of its redesigned Ranger-based BT-50 one-tonner, Volkswagen planning a local debut for its all-new Amarok dual-cab, Toyota expected to reveal an upgraded HiLux, Mitsubishi set to launch a ClubCab Triton, Nissan hoping to unveil a new Navara model and Holden’s new VE II Ute on display for the first time.

While D-Max 4x2 sales are up almost 13 per cent to August this year, sales of the 4x4 models have increased almost 110 per cent, with nearly 2500 D-Max 4x4s sold so far in 2010.

The 4x4 ute segment is up 20 per cent overall, however, with the D-Max claiming just 3.9 per cent of the increasingly lifestyle-driven market.

2010 Isuzu Ute D-MaxLE II pricing:
LE II$47,390
Charcoal Italian leathertrim option$2400

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