Toyota is bringing mild-hybrid technology to its HiLux, and the Isuzu D-Max is set to follow.
Thai publication Headlight Magazine reports Isuzu will launch a new 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, featuring a 48V mild-hybrid system with an integrated belt-starter generator.
It’s reportedly due as early as 2025.
It’s unclear whether it would replace either the current 1.9-litre or 3.0-litre turbo-diesel fours, or if it will be offered alongside them.
It will be the most electrified D-Max available, at least until an all-electric version is introduced, reportedly in 2027.
Isuzu introduced an updated D-Max in Thailand late last year, though its Australian arm has yet to confirm the refreshed ute range for our market.
It brings tweaked front-end styling with bi-LED headlights, as well as new wheels and revised tail lights.
Inside, there are USB-C outlets and a new 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster screen, while the 8.0-inch and 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreens now support both wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and feature volume and tuning dials.
However, the physical shortcut buttons underneath, for actions like returning to the home screen, appear to have been replaced with touch-capacitive switches.
Other changes include revised upholstery, new trim appliques for the dashboard, and new patterned door inserts.
The latter is gaining a 48V mild-hybrid version of its 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, which is due here in the first half of 2024. Toyota is calling it the HiLux with 48-Volt Technology, avoiding hybrid branding altogether.
The powertrain will be standard on all dual-cab 4×4 SR5 and Rogue models, and optional on the dual-cab 4×4 SR.
Toyota promises an approximately 10 per cent fuel economy improvement for “certain HiLux models” compared with the existing 2.8-litre sans electrification, as well as improved driveability and reduced noise, vibration and harshness.
The ute segment is slowly gaining more electrified options, with Chinese brands leading the way.
LDV launched its all-electric eT60 in 2023 and will introduce a new electric ute this year. GWM will launch a hybrid ute this year, while BYD is introducing its first ute this year, which will debut with plug-in hybrid power.
Outside of Chinese brands, Ford is set to launch a plug-in hybrid Ranger early in 2025, while Toyota’s larger, hybrid Tundra is currently being tested by customers ahead of an expected official launch.