The all-new Isuzu D-Max delivers the perfect blend of rugged ability with performance and comfort, making it the ideal work-mate for professional tradespeople.
On sale from June 2012, the tough new Isuzu D-Max is available as a double, single and, for the first time in the UK, extended cab body configuration featuring rear-opening side-access panels. The double cab variant is available in four specification levels, Isuzu D-Max, Eiger, Yukon and Utah
Powered by a highly fuel-efficient, 2.5-litre twin-turbo common-rail diesel engine, the Isuzu D-Max generates 163 ps and peak torque output of 400 Nm at 1400 rpm and is available with newly-developed six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions. Fuel economy has also improved over its predecessor, with the Isuzu D-Max recording class-leading figures of 38.2 mpg (combined), boasting a 10 per cent increase over the outgoing model.
The all-new Isuzu D-Max pick-up has undergone one of the most comprehensive development programmes in the company’s history. Succeeding the hugely popular Rodeo, the Isuzu D-Max is the most efficient and most refined Isuzu pick-up ever produced, while retaining the legendary toughness for which the brand has become renowned the world over. It is also a highly capable load-lugging workhorse with a three-tonne (braked) towing capacity.
In the UK, prices range from £14,499 to £21,499 (Commercial Vehicle On The Road / CVOTR), allowing a VAT-registered company to reclaim the VAT on the purchase of a all-new Isuzu D-Max.
To ensure the all-new Isuzu D-Max is built to last, it underwent 4,000,000 kilometres of endurance testing, the equivalent of 100 times around the world.
William Brown, General Manager of Isuzu UK, said: “The new Isuzu D-Max is a significant step forward from its very successful predecessor. It is a highly capable tool for those working in the outdoors, and yet is extremely refined. It features an efficient Euro5-compliant engine, while also exhibiting that rugged toughness for which the Isuzu brand has built such a solid reputation. Every model is well-equipped and offers unbeatable load-lugging and payload capacities. It delivers on every count without compromise.”
The wheelbase of the new Isuzu D-Max is 3,095mm (45mm more than Rodeo) while the overall length (bumper-to-bumper) has increased by 215mm to 5,295mm. The track of both the two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive variants has increased by 50mm (over Rodeo) to 1,510mm and 1,570mm respectively.
The increased dimensions contribute to a more spacious cabin and improved ride and handling. Despite its longer and wider body, the all-new Isuzu D-Max has a turning circle of 11.8 metres (4x2) / 12.2 metres (4x4).
In addition to the Isuzu D-Max’s competitive purchase price and fuel economy, running costs are kept down by 12,000 miles or 24-month service intervals. Isuzu’s legendary reliability is backed by a three-year / 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper mechanical warranty, three-years’ recovery and assistance cover, and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty.
2. Styling and design
Tough on the outside, flexibility and comfort on the inside
Famed for its understated yet purposeful appeal, the traditional super-tough appearance of Isuzu’s products is combined in the all-new Isuzu D-Max with fresh, car-like detailing and a strong road presence.
The exterior of the Isuzu D-Max has been designed to look tough, poised, ready to work. Isuzu D-Max features bold styling for the front fascia and grille, headlamps, pillars and loadbay, with strong lines running the full length of the vehicle’s side panels.
The front of the pick-up displays a wedge-shape, enhanced by muscular fenders which flare at the wheel arches, giving the all-new Isuzu D-Max a wider, more athletic frontal view compared to the Rodeo. The A-pillar has been moved forward 100mm and set at a more acute angle leading to the lowered roofline. Reinforcing the pick-up’s tough look, the bigger grille is placed higher within the fascia, butting up to the leading edge of the bonnet.
The Isuzu badge on the front grille is bigger than before, reiterating the Isuzu D-Max’s rugged new look.
In keeping with this ‘tough’ design philosophy, the headlamps have been designed to follow the natural flow lines of a pick-up, creating an assertive appearance. For the first time for an Isuzu model in the UK , Isuzu D-Max is equipped with daytime running lights mounted in the front bumper. The Isuzu D-Max also features largest-in-class tail lamps, which feature brighter LEDs on higher-specification models for greater visibility and a more premium appearance.
The entry-level Isuzu D-Max is equipped with either 15-inch steel wheels (4x2 single cab) or 16-inch steel wheels (4x4 single cab), while the Isuzu D-Max Eiger receives five-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels, and the Isuzu D-Max Yukon and Utah models are fitted with six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
In line with their upmarket specification, Isuzu D-Max Eiger, Yukon and Utah feature usefully large external rear-view mirrors, finished in chrome, and incorporating the turn indicator ‘repeaters’. They also feature power adjustment and auto-fold on Eiger models and above. Set lower than on its predecessor, the mirrors are positioned to minimise wind noise, improve airflow and improve the driver’s vision.
Extensive aerodynamic testing ensures optimal airflow over the tailgate – resulting in a class-best drag coefficient of 0.47 Cd, a five per cent reduction in drag over the previous model. Testing of the all-new Isuzu D-Max’s aerodynamic efficiency took place in several wind tunnels around the world, including the Japan Railway Research Institute, where the famous Bullet Train is evaluated.
In keeping with the Isuzu D-Max’s tough, workhorse image, the Isuzu D-Max Yukon and Utah models feature a stylish non-slip side step to aid entry and exit, while also protecting the lower-body paintwork from stone chips.
A choice of 7 exterior colours is offered: Splash White is standard; two metallic colours (Titanium Silver and Mineral Grey) and four mica colours (Garnet Red, Cosmic Black, Nautilus Blue and Tundra Green) are available at a cost of £400 (plus VAT).
Three cabin bodystyles
For the first time in the UK, the Isuzu D-Max offers three cabin styles: single, extended and double cab derivatives.
The new extended cab variant was designed from the ground up as an ‘open-cab’ pick-up. To create this space-making design, Isuzu’s engineers developed a second-row, rear-hinged door, also known as the side access panel (SAP) on each side of the vehicle. To ensure maximum strength, and safety in the event of a collision, the engineers incorporated a one-piece B-pillar into the leading edge of the side access panel.
As a result, users have uninterrupted access to the side of the cabin, ideal when loading large items behind the front seats. The side access panels can be opened from both inside and outside the vehicle.
The single and double cab derivatives maintain the traditional forward-hinged doors.
3. Comfort and convenience
Pick-up capabilities, luxury car-like refinement
The all-new Isuzu D-Max offers occupants a greater number of interior creature comforts than any previous model from the Japanese pick-up marque.
First and foremost, occupants benefit from a bigger, more spacious cabin compared to the Isuzu D-Max’s predecessor. In the double cab variant, with the windscreen moved forward, the front-row seats have been repositioned, offering greater comfort for driver and front passengers.
A flat floor and more space under the front dash further enhances the spacious feel of the cabin. The front-row seats’ runners have been positioned further apart, creating more foot room for second row passengers, who also benefit from 25 mm of extra leg room, and a more comfortable seat back that is reclined to a 24 degree angle, compared to Rodeo’s 21 degrees.
Further space can be created in the incredibly versatile double cab thanks to 60/40 split folding rear seats. A new feature of the Isuzu D-Max is the ability to fold one section (seat base) up and one section (seat back) down independently, providing a greater number of load-configuration choices. Additional storage compartments in the floor under the rear-seat base add to Isuzu D-Max’s load-lugging versatility.
In the extended cab derivative, seat cushions fold down from the back panel, creating additional seating, with fold-out thigh supports offering occupants even greater levels of comfort.
As well as impressive cabin space and exceptional comfort for drivers and passengers, Isuzu engineers have spent thousands of hours optimising Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). Engine bay sound proofing, as well as improved cabin and body mountings, makes the Isuzu D-Max one of the quietest vehicles in its class, a level comparable with modern passenger cars.
The new, sleeker exterior design also dramatically reduces drag resistance and wind noise. The Isuzu D-Max’s door window frame design is now flatter, which means that the door sits closer to the door seals, providing better insulation from exterior noise and a quieter ride when travelling on motorways.
Because of the shallower windscreen angle, the first-row doors are longer, with wide opening angles enabling easier entry and exit for passengers.
The generous standard specification sets the all-new Isuzu D-Max out as a class leader, whether as a pure workhorse or a versatile work and leisure vehicle.
The Isuzu D-Max, in double cab guise, is available in four specification models in the UK: ‘Isuzu D-Max’; ‘Eiger’; ‘Yukon’; and ‘Utah’.
The entry-level Isuzu D-Max features a generous specification that includes as standard: air-conditioning, all-round electric windows, 15-inch steel wheels (4x2 single cab) and 16-inch steel wheels (4x4 single cab), electronic two-wheel-drive / four-wheel-drive selection-on-the-fly, easy-clean vinyl floor covering, daytime running lights, front/side/curtain airbags and radio/CD player with two speakers. This model is priced from £14,499 (CVOTR) for the single cab 4x2; £16,249 (CVOTR) for the single cab 4x4; £16,749 (CVOTR) for the extended cab 4x4; and £17,749 (CVOTR) for the double cab 4x4.
Priced from £18,499 (CVOTR), the Isuzu D-Max Eiger double cab 4x4 adds 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured bumpers, an additional two speakers plus iPod/USB/Bluetooth connectivity, remote central locking and central locking, carpet floor trim, heated and folding door mirrors (including repeaters), chrome door handles and projector headlamps. The Isuzu D-Max Eiger double cab 4x4 automatic is priced from £19,499.
Expected to be the biggest selling variant in the UK, the Isuzu D-Max Yukon double cab 4x4 (from £18,999 CVOTR) and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a six speaker audio package with an ‘Exciter’ speaker in the roof lining, leather steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, chrome grille and rear bumper, side steps, LED rear lights, rear load liner and management information display on the dash. The automatic model costs £19,999 CVOTR.
On range-topping Utah models, a large, circular Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) selector, located on the cabin’s centre console, allows occupants to control temperature and fan settings with a single control. The system automatically maintains the set temperature for optimal passenger comfort.
Front seats on Utah models feature six-direction electric adjustment setting, including height, fore and aft, and recline. The ‘wrap-around’ seat design secures occupants position when travelling over rough terrain.
The Isuzu D-Max Utah double cab 4x4 benefits from automatic climate control air-conditioning, full leather upholstery with heated front seats and powered driver’s seat, roof bars and rear parking sensors. Pricing is from £20,499, rising to £21,499 for the automatic model.
4. Engines and performance
Re-engineered, super-efficient 2.5-litre twin-turbo diesel
In pursuit of improved efficiency and lower CO2 emissions, Isuzu rationalised the two-strong engine line-up from the Rodeo, to a single powertrain for the all-new Isuzu D-Max.
The improvements in the performance of the engine have been achieved following a comprehensive re-design by the Isuzu powertrain development team, based in Thailand.
The new engine meets stringent Euro5 emissions standards.
This is a significantly re-engineered 2.5-litre twin-turbo common-rail diesel engine, produces 163 ps (120 kW) at 3,600 rpm and 400 Nm of torque between 1,400 and 2,400 rpm. This new engine delivers a 20 per cent increase in power and 43 per cent rise in torque, compared with the previous 2.5-litre engine. In fact, it betters the power and torque output of the higher-powered 3.0-litre engine previously offered.
The new engine, despite its high power output, is one of the cleanest powertrains available in the pick-up segment, and is more efficient than many lower-powered engines. CO2 emissions of 194 g/km and class-leading fuel economy across the range (38.2 mpg: Isuzu D-Max 4x4 single cab), a 10 per cent increase over the outgoing model, reduce the overall running costs of the Isuzu D-Max.
The common-rail fuel-injection system is now pressurised to 200 Mpa (previously 180 Mpa), and employs smaller injectors which combine to improve combustion efficiency, simultaneously increasing engine performance and fuel economy.
The two-stage turbocharging design comprises a low-pressure turbocharger linked to a high-pressure turbocharger. The low-pressure turbo works at lower engine speeds, contributing to a flat torque curve across the rev range. The engine’s intercooler has been moved to the front of the engine bay, allowing engineers to increase its size.
To significantly decrease the Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions of the Isuzu D-Max, the engine has been equipped with a dual Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system. With the ability to circulate both hot and cooled gases, the engine can accurately regulate combustion temperature, ensuring it remains at optimum operating temperature at all times, reducing harmful gases emitted during combustion.
The new 2.5-litre engine is complemented by two new transmissions, a six-speed manual and five-speed automatic. The six-speed manual transmission has been engineered with a close-ratio gear set, providing more progressive gearing for an easier, more linear driving experience. The first gear (5.232:1) provides an ideal ‘crawling’ gear for low speed operation across a variety of terrains. The manual transmission is available on all four specification levels of the Isuzu D-Max. This ‘crawler’ gear is ideal for very rough terrain and steep inclines or declines.
Conversely, the sixth gear ratio (0.728:1) provides an overdrive function that reduces engine revs and lowers fuel consumption at high driving speeds.
Isuzu offers the largest range of automatic pick-up models on the market. The new five-speed automatic comes with sequential manual shift control so that drivers can take direct control of gear selection for a more engaging experience – or allow the transmission to operate fully automatically to suit their mood and the terrain.
Drivers can switch between two-wheel and four-wheel-drive easily with the stylish dial control located on the centre console. The Isuzu D-Max’s shift-on-the-fly dial means drivers can switch to the preferred drive with greater ease, switching between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive (high speed) can be performed at speeds up to 60 mph (100 km/h). To operate four-wheel-drive (low speed), the vehicle must be stationary with the transmission in neutral, before it can be engaged.
5. Chassis and running gear
New chassis, new suspension, same world-class performance
To improve the ride and handling characteristics and to increase stability of the all-new Isuzu D-Max – both on- and off-road – Isuzu’s engineers have endowed the new model with a longer, wider and stronger chassis.
The new chassis’ side rails have an increased cross-sectional dimensions (90 x 173.6mm, up from 80 x 138.9mm) resulting in a stronger, more stable structure. The Isuzu D-Max’s chassis incorporates cross braces (added to the second and fourth cross members) for increased rigidity and enhanced occupant safety.
The upgraded on-road sophistication of the Isuzu D-Max does not detract from its remarkable off-road talents. The 4x4 double cab’s ground clearance is a generous 235mm (+ 30mm over Rodeo), while approach, departure and ramp angles of 30.0, 22.0 and 22.0 degrees confirm the Isuzu D-Max as incredibly accomplished all-terrain vehicle. It also boasts a maximum transversing angle of 49.0 degrees.
As appropriate for a tough, world-class off-road pick-up, the all-new Isuzu D-Max is endowed with fully independent, double wishbone front suspension with gas-filled shock absorbers. This delivers exceptional ride and handling on the road, as well as soaking up the most severe bumps across off-road terrain.
At the rear, the pick-up is fitted with new, longer leaf springs, specifically tailored for two- and four-wheel drive models. On two-wheel-drive models, the leaf spring design is longer and flatter than the previous model, mounted under the axle, ‘under slung’, to keep the load bay floor height from the ground to the minimum. Conversely, the four-wheel-drive variants have their springs mounted above the axle, ‘over-slung’, for improved handling during off-road operation.
The Isuzu D-Max’s double cab cargo dimensions, payload capacity and towing weights are among the very best available in the UK’s pick-up marketplace. Isuzu engineers also created a wider tailgate opening to maximise ease of loading.
The double cab’s cargo bay measures 1,552mm long x 1,530mm wide, (an increase of 138mm and 70mm respectively over its predecessor). Braked towing capacity remains as impressive as its predecessor at 3,000kg (750kg unbraked).
Leading ‘active’ and ‘passive’ safety features across the range
The all-new Isuzu D-Max’s standard ‘active’ and ‘passive’ safety features are truly outstanding for a pick-up – the result of extensive testing by Isuzu engineers. The development team recognised that for many professionals, a pick-up is chosen as a family car, as well as an everyday working tool.
The new, longer chassis is made using high-tensile strength steel, and features additional cross-member braces, meaning the torsional rigidity has increased over its predecessor. The rear cross-members not only greatly increase torsional rigidity, but also spread the weight of the payload more evenly, enhancing the vehicle’s laden handling balance, both on- and off-road.
Weight distribution has also been improved with the engine moved rearward, closer to the centre of the vehicle, and mounted closer to the ground lower the centre of gravity.
To help Isuzu D-Max drivers cope with everyday motoring hazards, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), is fitted as standard for the first time on an Isuzu. In combination with the four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), a Traction Control System (TCS) and engine management system, the ESC intervenes in an emergency to help avoid collisions. ESC applies the brakes to one or more wheels and/or reduces engine power to ensure that the Isuzu D-Max stays on the driver’s chosen course.
The EBD feature is especially important on a pick-up which has to cope with a wide range of laden and unladen payloads. The Isuzu D-Max’s EBD compensates for the front and rear load differences during braking – before the ABS intervenes – preventing rear wheel lock-up which can affect some pick-ups.
The TCS system applies smooth braking force to the rear wheels if they’re rotating faster than the front wheels. This limits wheel spin and ensures power is distributed to the wheels with the most traction, helping to maintain progress and preventing loss of vehicle control. In combination, the electronic engine management system will reduce power output if wheel spin is detected on any road surface.
The all-new Isuzu D-Max is also equipped with a wide range of ‘passive’ safety features that protect occupants in the event of a collision. The Isuzu D-Max is fitted with six airbags as standard – front, side and curtain – providing excellent protection in more severe accidents. Front-row passengers benefit further from seatbelt pre-tensioners and belt-force limiters, while second-row passengers in double and extended cab models benefit from height-adjustable headrests, to reduce the effects of whiplash following a rear impact.
Pedestrian safety has been significantly enhanced over previous Isuzu models. The construction and design of the front fascia is engineered to minimise pedestrian injuries during an impact. The front bumper is made from polypropylene, which absorbs impact energies and is designed to ‘lift’ pedestrians onto the bonnet, rather than knocking them down.
With the turbocharger’s intercooler relocated to the front, and the whole engine moved rearward in the chassis, there is now more space between the bonnet and engine, creating a ‘cushion’ space by allowing the bonnet to deform under impact. Further design enhancements that make the all-new Isuzu D-Max more pedestrian-friendly are the recessed lights and windscreen wiper arms, both of which minimise injury-causing protrusions.