Isuzu has uncovered its second electrified D-Max of the day, this time previewing a mild-hybrid version of the popular dual-cab ute in Thailand.

    Following the reveal of the D-Max EV concept earlier today, the Isuzu D-Max Hi-Lander MHEV (mild-hybrid electric vehicle) is a bridge between the brand’s current turbo-diesel lineup and an electric future.

    However, unlike the electric D-Max – which will enter production from 2025, and eventually come to Australia – the mild-hybrid dual-cab hasn’t been locked in for mass production, remaining as a case study for now.

    “This Isuzu D-Max Hi-Lander MHEV is a test vehicle assembled to be one of the options for customers to reduce CO2,” the brand said in its media release.

    “This type of vehicle may be suitable for the needs of some customers. We are in the process of surveying the market before determining further sales plans.”

    Powering the mild-hybrid D-Max is Isuzu’s 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine – not a 2.2-litre, as previously reported – which now gains an electric motor fed by a 48-volt battery to provide assistance when starting and at low speeds.

    Output details have not been shared, though it’s likely that the mild-hybrid system won’t change the 1.9-litre D-Max’s 110kW and 350Nm figures too drastically.

    For context, the new mild-hybrid Toyota HiLux ‘V-Active Technology’ – which also incorporates a 48V system in addition to its 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine – isn’t expected to gain any more power or torque over its existing 150kW and 500Nm outputs.

    Isuzu hasn’t announced plans to trial a similar mild-hybrid system on its better-selling 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine which packs 140kW and 450Nm, and is found in more D-Max variants in Australia.

    The current 1.9-litre engine is limited to powering just five of the 25 D-Max variants on sale in Australia. The addition of a mild-hybrid option could help Isuzu to reduce its overall fleet emissions.

    The brand recently pushed back against the Federal Government’s proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES).

    Isuzu – which only sells turbo-diesel versions of the D-Max ute and MU-X SUV – is one of a handful of brands likely to be punished the most under the Government’s preferred emissions-reduction scheme.

    It warned brands with brands with a largely SUV and ute-based product range that “cannot increase vehicle pricing to cover the penalties may be left with no option but to exit the Australian market.”

    If Isuzu does put its mild-hybrid D-Max into production and bring it to Australia, it will join the growing list of electrified utes soon to be offered to local buyers, including the Toyota HiLux V-Active, Ford Ranger plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the as-yet unnamed BYD PHEV, GWM Cannon Alpha hybrid and JAC T9.

    MORE: Everything Isuzu D-Max

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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