After 10 years, the Isuzu D-Max gets a total makeover



In the tech-world, product life cycles are counted in months, not years, so one just has to accord the highest respect to a product that moved out of showrooms for an entire decade—which is how long it took before Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) brought in the All-New Isuzu D-Max in the country.

At the launch event held last September 18 at the World Trade Center, IPC president Nabuo Izumina noted that this would be the first comprehensive model change for the Isuzu D-Max since 2003. He also announced that after the initial launch period with CBU units coming from Thailand, the best-selling pick-up would be assembled at their Laguna Technopark facility.

Isuzu Motors Ltd. engineering division executive/director of the board and senior executive officer Katsumasa Nagai described how over 120 categories of vehicle usage were studied and analyzed as part of the new D-Max’s design process.

As a result, this latest incarnation is longer, wider, taller, sleeker and tougher—in keeping with the following design philosophies: perfect proportion, aggressive form, and innovative structure. It also claims to be exceptionally fuel-efficient, due to a low drag coefficient.

IPC is offering the All-New D-Max in seven variants, grouped intro three categories.  The base model is a single cab 4×2 manual transmission (Php 697,000). This is followed by the LT (or Workhorse) edition, which comes in 4x2MT (Php 857,000) and 4×4 MT (Php 1,153,000). The LS (or Lifestyle) variants come in 4×2 MT (Php 1,144,000), 4×2 AT (Php 1,196,000), 4×4 MT (Php 1,398,000), and 4×4 AT (Php 1,457,000).

To ensure that the D-Max continues its heritage of durable, heavy-duty trucks, its chassis and cargo bed were constructed to be more rigid. The suspension system is also new, now consisting of independent double wishbone with coil springs in front and semi-elliptical leaf springs in the rear (for the LS variants).  The AT models now sport a new 5-speed transmission, with a sequential shift function.

Sadly though, IPC retained the engine for the LS and LT variants, described thus in their media release:

Under the muscular hood of the All-New D-MAX LS and LT 4×4 variants is Isuzu’s tried and tested 4JJ1-TC  3.0-liter Common Rail Direct Injection with Turbocharger and Intercooler Diesel engine that makes 146Ps @ 3,800rpm and 294Nm @ 1,400rpm to 3,400rpm. The base variant LT 4×2 and single cab are strengthened by Isuzu’s new 4JK1-TC 2.5-liter Common Rail Direct Injection with Turbocharger and Intercooler Diesel engine that produces 109Ps @ 3,400rpm and 280Nm from 1,800 to 2,200rpm. Besides providing optimum power, both engines are also fuel efficient.

During the press briefing, IPC senior vice president Art Balmadrid explained that while a new VGS (variable geometry) engine is available for the D-Max in other countries, IPC needs to match the engine with locally-available fuel for optimum performance and will wait until the correct fuel is widely available nationwide before introducing the new engine.

Billed as the workhorse vehicle with SUV amenities, the new Isuzu D-Max merits serious consideration if you’re in the market for a vehicle that can do double-duty as a truck for hauling cargo as well as a comfortable ride for those sporty adventure trips.