As promised, the Australian-spec 2021 Isuzu D-Max has been revealed today, ahead of its on-sale date on September 1. The new model showcases a fresh design, improved in-car comfort and technology, and a more powerful engine.
Isuzu unveiled the new ute in Thailand in October last year, debuting a brand new 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. And it is almost all new, with a new iron upper block and cast alloy lower block, and an aluminium alloy cylinder head. Outputs are now 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm between 1600-2600rpm – up from 130kW and 430Nm in the outgoing model.
The engine uses chain-driven twin camshafts, roller rockers and four valves per cylinder, retaining the same 16.3:1 compression ratio as before. It also uses a variable geometry turbocharger and high pressure common rail injection system with Variable Swirl System (VSS). There’s also a diesel particulate filter.
Not only is it more powerful, Isuzu promises the engine is also much quieter and more refined than the outgoing motor. It comes matched to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto. The Aisin-based auto, which has been recalibrated from the old unit, features Rev-Tronic technology with a sports mode that automatically selects the most appropriate gear and lock-up points according to the driving style.
New for the D-Max is an electronic differential lock for the rear axle. It comes standard on all 4×4 models and can be engaged on the go when in low range at speeds up to 8km/h. The lock automatically disengages when the driver exceeds 30km/h. All traction control systems are deactivated when the diff is locked, however, the autonomous emergency braking system remains on – but it can be turned off separately.
Helping with off-road performance, the 2021 D-Max offers 240mm of ground clearance in upper-spec 4×4 forms, or 235mm in the case of the 4×2 high-ride models. There’s also an approach angle of up to 30.5 degrees, a departure angle of 24.2 degrees (27 for cab chassis), and a ramp-over angle of 23.8 degrees for all upper-spec 4×4 space and dual cab models. The water wading depth is now up to 800mm.
Four main trim levels are being presented for the Australian market, including SX, LS-U, LS-M, and a new range-topping X-Terrain (essentially replaces the old LS-T). All are powered by the updated 3.0L diesel, with combined fuel consumption averages spanning from 7.7L/100km up to 8.0L/100km for the top models.
As we saw with Thai version last year, the interior has been vastly updated over the previous model. All models come with a comprehensive touch-screen media interface, with a 7.0-inch screen for the SX, and a new 9.0-inch screen for the others. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard across the board, along with a rear-view camera.
In terms of safety, Isuzu has installed its latest IDAS (Intelligent Driver Assistance System) safety suite to all models as standard. It includes autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane management systems and blind-spot warning, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control for auto models. All of this is standard across the board – very impressive stuff for this class.
Isuzu continues to offer a six-year warranty, as well as seven years capped-priced servicing and seven years roadside assistance. Prices start from $32,200 and top out at $62,900 (excluding on-roads).