The third-generation Isuzu D-Max doesn't want to change its usual formula.
That's not to say the D-Max's formula is bad. It's diverse, actually, because since the first truck was introduced in 2004, it brought a wide range of trucks: From a workhorse with rear-wheel drive, fabric seats, and steel wheels, to a "lifestyle" truck with four-wheel drive, leather seats, and big alloys.
Isuzu must be following the adage that starts with "if it ain't broke...," and whose ending we already know. Another thing we also know is that with every model change, carmakers need to improve the model's performance, or fit any feature that consumers seek or would pique their interest.
So with that said, let's us look into the improvements of the third D-Max over its predecessor.
At 1,870mm wide, the new D-Max is 10mm wider than the truck it replaces. The wheelbase is stretched 30mm to 3,125mm, which could translate to more cabin legroom and better stability.
Another quality that may contribute to better stability is the changes in the suspension and steering, which Isuzu said it has done in the new D-Max.
With an angrier front end center-pieced by a gaping grille and reshaped tail lamps out back, the new D-Max obviously wears bolder styling. The headlights do their job with LED (depending on variant) and so do, too, the rear lights.
The new D-Max's styling can leave one to wonder how it would look wearing Boondock duds, just like what the old D-Max did. The old Boondock wore fatter tires, snazzier wheels, taller shock absorbers, and attractive graphics.
Spec and tech
Powering the new D-Max are two engines, the familiar 1.9 RZ4E diesel engine from the previous generation, and an uprated 3.0-liter 4JJ3-TCX mill with 187hp, or 20hp more than the old engine.
A new six-speed manual or automatic transmission manages the power of the RZ4E, along with the three-liter's 450Nm of torque. The lower varieties of the D-Max drive the rear wheels, while the upper ones drive all four.
In the tech front, welcome lights and walk-away door lock (available in all variants except the single cab option) are introduced in the new D-Max. The top-of the-line offering is equipped with rain-sensing wipers, eight-speaker audio system, and remote engine start.
All lifestyle offerings of the D-Max have a 4.2-inch high-definition TFT-LCD MID display screen in the instrument cluster, as well as a seven-inch touchscreen monitor with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and Aux-in, offline navigation, and inclinometer.
Here's where the new D-Max goes beyond the usual airbags, stability control, and ABS, with an Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS). The range-topping trims get ADAS.
Included in the ADAS is Isuzu's Smart Duo Cam. It constantly maps the surrounding area to measure distance of every obstacle on the road.
Adaptive Cruise Control maintains the pickup's distance with the vehicle ahead. When it thinks a collision is unavoidable, Autonomous Emergency Braking applies the anchors.
Lane Departure Warning, well, warns the driver via audio and visual cues, when the vehicle veers out of its lane. Turn Assist applies the brakes when it thinks the D-Max will collide with traffic from the opposite direction.
Automatic High Beam adjusts the brightness of the high beams when it senses oncoming traffic. Vehicles that the truck is following are considered by the system, as well.
With a five-star safety rating from the ASEAN New Car Assessment Program, the D-Max will prove to be safe regardless of variant.
Photos from Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC), Isuzu Thailand