Isuzu updated their D-Max Ute range earlier this year with improvements to the engine and other features.
The D-Max Utes have been a sales success over the years and continues to challenge the top Utes with value for money and robustness.
Amongst the top 5 or six Utes on the Australian market, Isuzu holds a special place. It heralds a cost effective, hardworking, robust Ute that is as equally at home on the road, working for tradies or on the farm and on Australia’s outback roads towing something adventurous behind. From the first time I drove an Isuzu Ute I was impressed with their honest approach. Here was one tough Ute.
However while it was at the forefront of design when it was launched some 5 or 6 years ago, it has started to lag a little behind the aggressive competition. So this upgrade was long awaited and well received but noticeable for a few things that weren’t included.
Let’s have a quick look at what is included.
- There is a new Euro5 compliant 3.0 litre turbo-diesel engine (world first for Isuzu) pumping out an improved 430Nm of torque.
- New 6-speed auto or manual transmission.
- Improved cabin comfort (NVH) and safety features.
- Upgraded internal features
What is noticeable by its absence is the reversing camera across the range, rear diff lock, some safety features and reach adjustable steering wheel.
Thankfully now Isuzu have bumped that headline maximum torque figure to 430Nm. However, being Isuzu and having all that truck experience they understand that a shallow peak torque figure, while sounding good, often translates poorly to the real world use.
So compared to the previous engine, 380Nm of torque (previous maximum) is now on tap from 1,700 – 3,500 rpm – which is 100 rpm lower and continues 700 rpm higher – meaning the same engine rpm provides more power and the same torque can be generated at lower engine rpm.
Certainly on the sand of Stockton beach the Isuzu performed without fuss and made easy work of the soft sand. A sequential shift mode allows the driver to select gears on demand, giving the driver the same level of control as in a manual transmission, which is extremely beneficial in off-road environments.
The LS-T variant 17MY D-MAX also receives new design alloy wheels. These are 18 inch wheels, that while they look great they aren’t the best for finding true off road tyres to fit.
As mentioned before the once humble Ute now occupies multiple uses for the family. One pleasing aspect of that change is a renewed focus on safety upgrades.
All LS variants of both the D-MAX and MU-X now receive a reverse camera, and SX and EX D-MAX variants now have an optional accessory reverse camera available.
The LS-T offers an extensive and impressive level of occupant protection, including, six airbags (dual front, side and full-length curtain), 4-channel 4-sensor Anti-skid Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS) and Brake Assist (BA), as well as Hill Start Assist (HAS) and Hill Decent Control (HDC) for both 4X4 and 4X2 vehicles, plus dual pre-tensioners with load limiters for the front seatbelts.
However some of the competition has taken safety features even further with features like Forward Collision Alert, Blind Spot Indicators, Trailer Sway Control, and Lane Departure Warning. So while the upgraded Isuzu is certainly better than previous model it still is lagging a little.
Every Isuzu vehicle is backed by the Isuzu UTE Australia 555 Service Plus Program which includes a 5 year warranty, 5 year Roadside Assistance and 5 year/50,000 kilometre Capped Price Servicing program. The capped price service kilometre is a little low I believe but better than before.
It has always been my belief that Isuzu’s are one of the toughest Utes on the market and they don’t make enough noise about the small truck connection with their engines. These engines are plain bullet proof.
If you want an honest, robust, tough, economical, value for money and comfortable (I have run out of superlatives) Ute or Ute based 4WD wagon do not overlook either of the upgraded Isuzu’s.
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