Australia is the first market outside of Thailand to get the all-new Isuzu D-MAX and it comes with some features only found on the Australian models. With six years of development and over four million kilometres driven in testing, Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) is aiming for an increase on its 2019 market share of 7% with advanced safety features being made standard across the range.
The launch was held online which has happened several times during COVID for different vehicles and provides a really easy way to get 40 journalists together. The presentation was slick and it’s a great way to get in lots of questions.
Vehicle design is described as ‘bold but emotional’ with aerodynamics being a big consideration. When IUA say ‘all-new’, they mean from scratch. The frame, chassis and suspension were designed from a blank piece of paper and tuned for Australian conditions.
It features a new three litre diesel engine which delivers 14okw and 450Nm of torque. This is matched with either a six speed manual or automatic transmission. Sources say this is a big win for local buyers because other countries are receiving the 1.9 litre diesel. One of the benefits of the new engine which was mentioned is lower noise. I think engine noise was something everyone noticed on the old model. Though considering IUA leverages their toughness from the truck heritage, FAN thought engine noise was a brand USP.
There are price increases because of the standard safety inclusions. It varies by model and specification with IUA pursuing a ‘value up’ brand strategy with their new model pricing. It’s a good thing for fleet and novated buyers because residual values will remain strong with safety being a desirable feature in the used market.
An interior overhaul is part of the upgrade with wireless Apple CarPlay and large touch screens found in all models. Improvements to seating and soft touch surfaces should give the D-MAX an edge over the budget brand utes entering the market. Though they haven’t forgotten about their core market with ‘tradie size’ cup holders and a pollen cabin filter.
Listening to the list of features in the Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS), it felt like vehicle safety bingo. The team at Isuzu made a point of saying their system uses two front facing camera and radar sensors in the rear.
Just to give you a taste, here’s what we wrote down: AEB, FCW, Turn Assist, ELK, LDP, LDW, LKA, Adaptive Cruise (Auto), Traffic Sign Recognition, Speed Limiter, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Auto High Beam, Air Bags (F,R,C,S) and Walk Away Door Lock. We may not have got them all right, so check our the Isuzu Ute website to be sure.
With such a long list the 4X4 experts at the launch asked how they would work off-road. It turns out IUA have thought of everything. The IDAS can be turned off when you need to go bush. And they’ve also added an electronic diff lock that can be activated on the run.
To top it off you get a six year/150,000 warranty as standard with a Capped Price Service Program and Roadside Assistance when you get the servicing done at participating Isuzu Ute dealer.
We can’t wait to give our thoughts once we get behind the wheel.