Since its launch in 2021, we had multiple opportunities to sample the Isuzu D-Max, particularly in its flagship X-Terrain guise. Even on first impressions, it was clear that this was leaps and bounds beyond what we had experienced in the previous-generation version.
This was much more refined, both in terms of ride, comfort, and styling. It also delivered something unheard of among other pickup trucks in its space: Active Safety, or sometimes called ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist System).
Each time we drove one, we came away impressed at its breadth of ability. It’s no wonder, then, the D-Max was the recipient of Carlist’s Pick-up Truck of the Year award twice in a row.
Here’s why it continues to impress us:
Tough-looking truck but drives and feels like a luxury SUV.
The D-Max’s intimidating exterior is countered by its stylish design touches and graceful lines, but it’s when you step inside that the contrast becomes really evident. Despite its size, the cabin feels cozy and reassuring, the controls fall readily at hand. Also, the light steering and responsive handling makes it surprisingly easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
Blue Power engine is a gem.
Isuzu has managed to squeeze robust performance and frugality from its new Blue Power line of turbodiesel engines. Powerful and responsive when you need it to be, but able to wind down to a smooth highway cruise just as quickly, letting you enjoy long distance journeys that might only need you to refill the tank every 1,000km.
All the creature comforts and convenience of a car.
Luxurious leather trim? Check; Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Check. Electrically-adjustable seats? Check. Wireless Charger? Check. Follow me home lights? Check. Everything you care to put on a must-have list is all there in the D-Max including surround sound. Pretty amazing!
Comprehensive safety features
We touched on this a little in the preamble but it’s hard to overstate how much of a shift this was to the pickup truck market, which were saddled with the stigma of being workhorses. In recent years, its customer demographic grew as more people realised its potential as a lifestyle vehicle.
Leading that charge was the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain, introducing Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) features more commonly seen in premium passenger cars such as sedans and SUVs such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). It definitely set a new standard that its competitors have since been trying to catch up to.
Lifestyle or daily use? You blaze your own trails.
The thing about Isuzu is that they make trucks – tough ones – so if the D-Max will have your back even in the challenging of situations anywhere off the beaten track. After all, the truck comes with a cargo bed that boasts of larger loading space than the previous model with an increase of 5mm in length, 20mm in depth and 20mm in width. Despite its larger dimensions, the ability to traverse water crossings has improved with a wading capability of 800mm which is the best in its class.
The Isuzu D-Max continues to be a class leader when it comes to driving pleasure, safety and comfort. Needless to say, it remains our pick as the pick-up truck of choice whether it is for work or play.