It seems that like the Genie of the Lamp a customer’s wish is Isuzu Ute’s command, for a new model has elbowed its way into the top echelons of its rugged pick-up truck ranks.
The Japanese manufacturer has slotted the D-Max LS-U+ in between the well-presented LS-U double cab lifestyle ute and flagship of the updated third generation for those who want a touch of luxury without the ‘shouty’ styling of the X-Terrain.
The new D-Max LS-U+ Crew Cab 4×4 Ute features similar equipment to the MY22 LS-U variant, but with the addition of premium black leather-accented upholstery and
Convenience is also enhanced by the addition of a Smart Key, providing keyless entry, push button start, welcome light and walk-away door lock.
Similar to the system in the X-Terrain, the welcome light illuminates the cabin when it detects the key is within two metres of the vehicle and the latter automatically locks the vehicle when the smart key is detected more than three metres away.
Also available is a genuine canopy, which adds a combination of convenient lockable pop-out or sliding windows, making the LS-U+ a versatile load carrier.
What’s it cost?
The LS-U+ comes exclusively in double cab and style-side high tensile steel body on a ladder-frame chassis.
The front is lifted from X-Terrain extremes with a dark coloured grille broken up by dual chrome cross pieces, the latter considered a badge of premium quality, especially in
Flanking this are automatic bi-LED headlights, incorporating LED daytime running lights, with auto-levelling and automatic high beam control. Below are LED fog lights.
LEDs sign off the rear with combination tail lights.
On a sad note, large heated door mirrors are poorly positioned up front to produce a niggling blind spot.
Pricing reflects the added creature comforts and convenience, with the LS-U+ priced at $61,900 plus on-road costs, $2500 more than the regular LS-U, but $4000 cheaper than the range-topping X-Terrain.
A versatile factory-fitted tub liner is installed inside the 1570mm long, 1530mm wide and 490mm deep tray.
A selection of tonneaus and canopies is available from the Isuzu Ute Genuine Accessories catalogue.
The test vehicle was fitted with a manually operated lockable roller tonneau cover (see below).
D-Max LS-U+ rolls on 18 inch machined-face alloy wheels with 265/60R18 Bridgestone 684II HT tyres. There’s a full-size spare.
High on the central dash is a 9.0-inch high-definition infotainment system, featuring voice recognition, in-built satellite navigation, DAB+ radio, and the latest in smartphone mirroring, with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.
Occupants can take advantage of a premium eight-speaker surround sound system.
In line with all MY22 D-Max models, the LS-U+ takes up a five-star ANCAP safety rating and comes standard with Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System, a suite of
advanced driver safety and assistance technologies, including a state-of-the-art 3-D stereo camera that detects other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
Standard with IDAS are autonomous emergency braking with turn assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane
keep assist, plus eight airbags including a knee and centre-airbag.
Warranty is six years or 150,000km, with seven-year roadside assistance, provided servicing is with an Isuzu Ute dealer, and seven years capped price servicing.
What’s it go like?
The cabin is modern and comfortable, with black leather-accented upholstery, eight-way power assisted driver’s seat with power lumbar support and a premium-leather
bound steering wheel with reach and rake adjustment.
Dual zone air-conditioning allows driver and front passenger singly to control the temperature. Rear passengers also benefit from rear air vents.
The LS-U+ is powered by Isuzu’s 3.0-litre, turbo-diesel engine, developing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Sharing its engine and chassis with the Mazda BT-50, there is considerable clatter from under the D-Max LSU+ bonnet.
There’s little excuse these days for this amount of diesel rattle and here the motor shows its age.
The six-speed transmission handles most situations but can be a tad tardy in dropping down a cog under hard acceleration.
Isuzu claims a combined 8.0L/100km. The test LS-U+ used as much as 10.0 litres of diesel in city working and 6.6 litres on motorway cruising, so there’s little to complain about here.
I am not alone in having a love-hate relationship with vehicle lane intervention.
As part of the IDAS suite, the LS-U+ features the new Lane Support System switch, located on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to toggle all Lane Support Systems on or off, by a single push of the button for two seconds.
Going off road? Switch to Isuzu’s Terrain Command 4×4 with 2-High, 4-High and 4-Low drive modes, an electromagnetic rear differential lock and ground clearance of 240mm.
Measuring up among the best in the range, approach, departure and ramp-over angles weigh in at 30.5 deg, 19.0 deg and 23.8 deg, respectively.
A water wading depth of up to 800 mm is also up there with the best in class.