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Driven: Isuzu pumps up D-Max with torque and tech

Heavy lifter: Isuzu's D-Max has been thoroughly upgraded across all aspects as part of its MY17 update.

More torque, six-speed transmissions, NVH upgrade, extra tech in MY17 Isuzu D-Max


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10 Feb 2017

ISUZU’S facelifted D-Max one-tonne ute range has arrived in Australia with a cleaner, gruntier new engine coupled to six-speed manual or automatic transmissions in place of the old five-speed units.

More standard equipment, additional noise and vibration deadening, subtly updated styling and, for the first time, a capped-price servicing offer also come with the update.

Behind the restyled bonnet, front bumper, radiator grille and headlights is a heavily revised version of Isuzu’s proven 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that develops the same 130kW of peak power as before but with an extra 50Nm of torque, to 430Nm.

Developed for Australia using real-world data from local customers, the new engine meets Euro 5 emissions standards and uses five per cent less fuel than before, ranging from 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle for the SX manual 4x2 single cab-chassis low-ride, to 8.1L/100km in the LS-U 4x4 manual crew cab.

Fuel economy is also aided by the addition of six-speed transmissions and a redesigned differential, with automatic variants being 0.1L/100km more efficient than the equivalent manual.

Isuzu has installed additional firewall insulation and new screens between the front guards and the body, which are designed to allow less engine and road noise to enter the cabin while reducing vibration and harshness levels.

Entry-level SX variants have all received price increases of $1000, meaning the range now opens at $28,500 plus on-road costs for a manual 4x2 single cab-chassis and prices of the higher-spec LS series variants have jumped $1400, topping out at $54,200 plus on-roads for the LS-Terrain in 4x4 automatic crew cab.

The price of a manual-only workhorse-spec EX 4x4 single cab-chassis has been increased $800, to $34,800 plus on-roads.

Also available are 600 value-added dual-cab 4x4 X-Runner special editions priced at $46,990 drive-away with unique exterior and interior styling, automatic transmission and standard equipment level higher than the $48,500 (plus on-roads) LS-M on which it is based.

Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) claims standard equipment upgrades offset the price increases, as do the fuel-efficiency gains and 18 per cent reduction in maintenance costs due to longer 12-month service intervals (previously six) and the introduction of a five-year, 50,000km capped-price program.

Every D-Max variant except the EX now comes with a touchscreen, the majority of models having a 7.0-inch system and an 8.0-inch unit with integrated satellite navigation is exclusive to the up-spec LS-U and LS-Terrain.

Crew-cab SX and LS-M variants now have an eight-speaker audio system including two ceiling-mounted speakers and all LS series variants have two front USB charging ports and one in the rear.

Another LS series upgrade is LED daytime running lights in the restyled projector beam headlight units and the LS-Terrain flagship gains a full-size 18-inch alloy spare wheel.

Hill descent control has also been made standard on every D-Max, including 4x2 variants.

Every LS series variant now has a standard reversing camera – the LS-M previously did without – while SX variants have reversing camera compatibility in the touchscreen. The camera itself is a dealer-fit option at $490 including installation.

The bare-bones, black-bumpered version has a basic audio system with AM/FM radio, CD player, USB and Bluetooth streaming. If the buyer wants a rear-view camera, an interior mirror with in-built camera screen must be fitted Responding to criticism over the lack of range-wide reversing cameras at the D-Max launch in Queensland this week, Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) executives claimed the types of tradie, fleet and mining customers that will make up the majority of SX and EX buyers are likely to prefer a lower base price over the presence of a standard camera.

IUA sales and marketing director Yugo Kiyofuji told GoAuto those who want a camera will likely negotiate it into the purchase price at dealership level, while private buyers typically go for an LS that comes with a camera.

He added that if demand for the camera on SX and EX variants is higher than expected, IUA will make it standard across the range.

Single-cab, 4x4-only EX trim includes manual air-conditioning, USB connectivity and Bluetooth streaming, a leather multi-function steering wheel, vinyl flooring, unpainted grille, bumper and door mirrors and 16-inch steel wheels with all-terrain tyres and a full-size spare.

The SX, available in all cabin types, adds 7.0-inch touchscreen, cruise control, a gunmetal grey grille, body-coloured bumper and door mirrors, electric windows and mirrors and remote central locking. Low-ride 4x2 versions have 15-inch steel wheels with highway terrain tyres.

Dual-cab, 4x4-only LS-M variants add projector headlights with LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, 16-inch alloys with all-terrain tyres, a chrome grille and door handles, a black rear step and lockable tailgate.

LS-U trim can be had in space or crew cab formats and gets climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, a shark-fin antenna, electrically folding chrome door mirrors, carpet floor coverings, 17-inch alloys with full-size steel spare and highway terrain tyres and a chrome rear step.

The flagship LS-Terrain is 4x4 automatic crew-cab only and has leather upholstery, keyless entry and start, chrome roof rails, aluminium side steps and 18-inch alloys with highway terrain tyres and a full-size spare.

Limited-edition X-Runner specials are somewhere between LS-M and LS-U spec, with darker-coloured version of LS-M’s alloy wheel design and its 7.0-inch touchscreen but with climate control from the LS-U plus reversing sensors, a matte black sports bar, gunmetal grey side steps and grille, black and red upholstery and steering wheel trim, a tub liner, red Isuzu emblems, 100th anniversary badging and X-Runner decals.

Eight paint finishes are available across the D-Max range, comprising Splash White, Ash Beige, Cosmic Black, Nautilus Blue, Obsidian Grey, Titanium Silver, Tundra Green and Venetian Red.

The X-Runner is available with exclusive Silky White pearlescent paintwork or Cosmic Black.

2017 Isuzu D-Max pricing*
4x2 Single Cab
SX Cab Chassis$28,500(+$1000)
SX Cab Chassis Hi-Ride (a)$31,700(+$1000)
4x2 Space Cab
SX Ute Hi-Ride (a)$35,500(+$1000)
4x2 Crew Cab
SX Ute$34,500(+$1000)
SX Cab Chassis Hi-Ride (a)$37,300(+$1000)
SX Ute Hi-Ride (a)$38,000(+$1000)
LS-U Ute Hi-Ride (a)$43,600(+$1400)
4x4 Single Cab
EX Cab Chassis$34,800(+$800)
SX Cab Chassis$38,000(+$1000)
SX Cab Chassis (a)$40,100(+$1000)
4x4 Space Cab
SX Cab Chassis$40,700(+$1000)
SX Cab Chassis (a)$42,800(+$1000)
LS-U Ute$46,200(+$1400)
LS-U Ute (a)$48,300(+$1400)
4x4 Crew Cab
SX Cab Chassis$43,200(+$1000)
SX Ute$43,900(+$1000)
SX Cab Chassis (a)$45,300(+$1000)
SX Ute Hi-Ride (a)$46,000(+$1000)
LS-M Ute$46,400(+$1400)
X-Runner (a)$46,990N/A
LS-U Ute$48,300(+$1400)
LS-M Ute (a)$48,500(+$1400)
LS-U Ute (a)$50,400(+$1400)
LS-Terrain Ute (a)$54,200(+$1700)
*Excludes on-road costs

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