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Test Drive Isuzu D-Max

Overall Rating 8.4
Range Specs
Price$32,200 - $62,900
Fuel Efficiency7.7 - 8.0L / 100KM
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About the Isuzu D-Max

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Although more buyers pick the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux, the Isuzu D-Max represents a great alternative with an undisputed reputation for reliability and durability.

If you have always driven a HiLux or a Ranger, you might be surprised by how the D-Max feels on the inside, and how it drives. That's because the D-Max is almost brand new with the latest tech.

It’s not often a brand new dual-cab ute hits the market. Utes tend to live on for years, and are evolved gradually over the course of countless facelifts. The all-new 2021 Isuzu D-Max is just that – all new.

Isuzu has put a lot of work into the 2021 D-Max, having invested in more than four million kilometres of testing and a brand new engine, building on the base of the 4JJ1 often lauded as the most reliable engine in this segment.

The 4JJ3 includes all the elements of a ‘built to last’ engine but most importantly offers more power and torque than its predecessor, addressing a grumble among buyers wanting more grunt for towing.

The Isuzu D-Max range kicks off in Australia from $32,200 before on-road costs for the single cab chassis 4×2 SX with a six-speed manual transmission, although an automatic can be added for $2000.

The range tops out with the 4×4 dual-cab X-Terrain we have here in the experience centre, which comes with an asking price of $62,900 before on-roads and is exclusively sold with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Outside you’ll find 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265mm wide tyres, a locking cargo roller blind, X-Terrain decals, side steps, styled tray flares, flared wheel arches, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, and proximity entry and start.

Inside the cabin there’s a huge improvement in standard equipment with dual-zone climate control, 9.0-inch infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto, a driver display, automatic windscreen wipers and headlights, entry grab handles, radar cruise control with semi-autonomous steering, voice recognition, built-in satellite navigation, auto-folding wing mirrors, and electric seat adjustment.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with vulnerable road user detection is now standard across the range, as is a semi-autonomous steering function and traffic sign recognition.

The AEB system also comes with a turn-assist feature preventing the vehicle from driving into oncoming traffic when turning. There’s also blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high-beam.

There’s also electronic stability control with trailer sway protection, anti rollover mitigation, and both front and rear parking sensors.

A 3.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine producing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque (10kW and 20Nm more than the 4JJ1) is available, mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The six-speed manual is an Isuzu gearbox, while the six-speed automatic is an Aisin unit with sequential gear shifting, and a tri-mode torque converter lock-up in third, fourth, fifth and sixth gears.

Fuel economy comes in at a combined 8.0 litres of fuel per 100km. During testing, we achieved an average of 9.2L/100km.

Some key highlights worth pointing out when it comes to the engine – it uses a steel timing chain, piston crowns and pins that are coated with a diamond-like carbon, and a double scissor idler gear design.

For more information check out the Isuzu D-Max showroom.

Isuzu D-Max video
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4WD modes explained: Differential lock, 2H, 4H, 4L and hill descent control
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Frequently Asked Questions
In which country is the Isuzu D-Max built?
The Isuzu D-Max is built in Thailand and is then shipped to Australia.
What is the Isuzu D-Max towing capacity?
The 2021 Isuzu D-Max has a braked towing capacity of 3500kg and an unbraked towing capacity of 700kg.
What are the service intervals of the Isuzu D-Max?
Isuzu says owners need to service their Isuzu D-Max every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.
What is the warranty for the Isuzu D-Max?
The 2021 Isuzu D-Max has a six-year, 150,000km warranty.
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