– By Marc Sibbald –
When you’re reviewing a new car it’s important not to let your own bias influence your opinions. And you need a few days to forget about how your daily drive feels and performs. Both of these issues were challenges for me when I picked up the new Isuzu D-MAX in Sydney.
I asked for the SX 4X4 based model with the heavy duty suspension first because I thought it would be the high volume fleet model. My expectations were high due to the hype surrounding the new model launch. But then my bias kicked in. I’m not a ute guy. It was bouncy and functional. I was resisting the urge to jump back into my comfortable SUV.
After a few days I asked myself a question, “Would I be happy driving his everyday as a Tradie?” The answer was definitely YES. Despite the bumpy ride it was comfortable and had everything I needed in a fleet truck; plus more.
I wasn’t prepared for the warning lights and beeps in the SX base model. Historically you pay for safety. You only got it when you moved up the model range and fleets aren’t always prepared to fork out the extra cash. Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) decided to make the decision easier – you get the same level of active and passive features across the range.
When I attended the virtual launch of the D-MAX the message was safety. And this ute is packed with features you normally find in luxury passenger vehicles.
My favourite, and unique, feature was the Intelligent Speed Limiter. This is synced to the Traffic Sign Recognition system so you can easily set the Limiter to match the local speed limit which is great during School Zone hours. The Intelligent Speed Limiter maintains the speed even when you’re a bit heavy on the pedal. It’s a fantastic feature that will keep money in our pocket if you’re prone to speeding.
Once I got used to driving the based model Isuzu D-MAX, it was time to hand it back and step into the flagship X-Terrain. It was lust at first site. If you watch the video you’ll find on our Facebook and YouTube pages, you’ll hear my excitement – it’s a great looking truck!
With normal suspension the ride was great. More like an SUV and stable at higher speeds. The leather seats were more to my liking though I did miss the carefree ‘wash out’ interior of the SX once we got into some off-road conditions.
The heavens opened one day during the week I had the X-Terrain and the auto wipers got to work as expected. Then I remembered it also rained while I was in the base model SX and I couldn’t remember turning the wipers on. I searched the specifications to confirm the base model has the AUTO wiper function as well; fantastic!
All motoring journalists have bias. There are things we like to see in every car and rank every new model release against this criteria. For one member of the FAN team it’s lumbar adjustments in the driver’s seat. For another it’s climate control and keyless entry. Me, I want a tissue box to fit in the centre console and I got it with the all new Isuzu D-MAX.