There is something special when a manufacture brings out an all-new ute and even more so when that manufacture listens to customer feedback about what they want.
This is exactly what Isuzu UTE Australia did when they created the new D-Max, and what a ute they have produced.
The team at Isuzu UTE have been working on the all-new D-Max for six years and have produced the most advanced, refined and sophisticated ute the company has ever made. The range topping X-Terrain is exciting and fun and makes everyday road driving that little less boring.
While there is not a massive amount that can be done to the outside of a ute, the X-Terrian looks the goods from front to back. The new style is more aggressive and stands out from other utes. The sharp headlights, large open grille, sleek rolling roof and sweet looking taillights all make this all-new ute something special. But the goodness doesn’t stop on the outside.
The engine hasn’t changed, it has evolved, from its base platform of the 4JJ1 to the 4JJ3. Evolving from a strong and tough engine means more power and better fuel economy, not that anyone could compline about that before.
The all-new D-Max now produces 140kW at 3,600rpm and 450Nm at 1,600rpm through to 2,600rpm, with the new 4JJ3-TCX sporting a 10kW and 20Nm hike over the preceding engine. The strength of the engine comes courtesy of the wider and stronger torque band, with the 450Nm peak figure now available across a flat 1,000rpm stretch—a torque-band five times wider and more usable than its predecessor. Testament to how torque-efficient the 4JJ3-TCX is, midrange torque has also been further finessed, with a hearty 400Nm on tap from only 1,400rpm through to 3,250rpm.
One complaint with the old model was the cabin noise from the engine. While yes it is a diesel and will be louder than a petrol based ute, as the engines wore in the noise was greater. Now though the engineers have produced a quieter, more thermally efficient 4JJ3-TCX and it sports new engine internals, a more efficient electronically controlled Variable Geometry System (VGS) Turbocharger and a new high efficiency, high-pressure direct injection fuel system, that makes the most of each drop of diesel.
With less internal wear and tear through engineering, the new 4JJ3-TCX makes more power and torque, while emitting less noise and vibrations. Compared to the previous generation, this engine is as quiet as they come.
Engine power is now transferred to the road through a more efficient and faster-shifting 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The auto is actually rather good and makes driving in heavy traffic a breeze and when off-road it does everything you want.
With all good quality utes, comes the interior and for Isuzu UTE this was not a hard project to improve on the old model. However, they did not just improve it they exceeded expectations and made the interior a wonderful place to be.
The interior is equipped with new levels of technology, comfort, convenience and connectivity is is better than ever before. The cabin is functional and comfortable and that is a big thing when paying decent money for a work/family/weekend fun vehicle.
In the centre of the dash there is a high-definition 9″ infotainment display, equipped with Sat-Nav, DAB+ radio, voice recognition, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay as standard.
All of the bits and pieces needed in a daily driver are there and when you are off-road everything is easy to reach and nice on the touch. The X-Terrain also includes dual zone climate control for the front row and AC vents in the rear.
The new 4.2″ Multi-Information Display which is customisable, relaying data such as the digital speedometer, turn-by-turn navigation instructions, fuel usage and range data and menu sequences to the vehicle’s IDAS. The driver’s indicator and wiper stalks now feature Comfort Turn indicator operation for easy lane changing and automatic rain sensing and headlight control, with automatic high-beam control.
Across the all-new Isuzu D-Max range is Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS); a suite of comprehensive safety and convenience features that complement the driver and dramatically improves the level of safety for all occupants, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
Some of these active safety features include Adaptive Cruise Control with stop & go traffic functionality, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Prevention, alongside other potentially lifesaving technology such as 8-airbags, including a knee and centre airbag.
Engineered for Australian conditions, IDAS has seen some extensive localised testing, which has enabled Isuzu engineers to finely calibrate the Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) for Australian roads.
Standard across the range, a new array of sensors now controls headlight and windshield wiper operation, automatically turning them on and off when needed. Automatic High Beam control autonomously dims the high beams when traffic is detected to avoid dazzling other drivers.
Providing additional safety, all D-Max models come standard with a reverse camera including integrated parking lines and a rear-step bumper, which houses the rear IDAS radar sensors—that also take care of the Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring.
The standard warranty is a little different with Isuzu UTE however they do give a good backing. Service Plus 6-7-7; encompassing a 6 Year/150,000km Warranty, up to 7 Years Roadside Assistance when serviced through IUA Dealers and 7 Years Capped Price Servicing (CPS) program.
The price of services has been dramatically reduced as the previous model saw the 45K service over $1000, with it now down to just over $600. Service intervals are every 15,000km or 12 months.
Recommended Servicing Interval and Capped Price Service Cost
15,000km / 12 months
15K – $389
30K – $409
45K – $609
60K – $509
75K – $299
90K – $749
105K – $409
Car and Bike News Opinion
The D-Max has always been a favorite of ours. But this new model is something we did not expect when the manufacture was showing teasers. It has delivered well above our expectations.
It is fun to drive, it handles beautifully both on and off-road and is one of those utes that when you park it you just want to keep looking at it.
The steering is soft, smooth, and yet has some great feedback. The cabin is well appointed and feels extremely modern and a real nice place to be in. The seats are comfortable, meaning you can be in them for more then a couple of hours before your butt hurts.
This is one of the best utes on the market today and well wroth a drive before and after driving anything else. While it may not have a Toyota badge on the grille, the features and reliability are seriously gaining on them and in some cases exceed it.
D-MAX X-TERRAIN Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Automatic – $63,900 ($59,990 Drive away)