ziWPeaNp 2022 Isuzu D Max LS U Crew Cab 10
2022 Isuzu D Max LS U Crew Cab 10

Isuzu D-Max: Sales tell the story

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What is it?

The name Isuzu is just about the most visible of any vehicles on Australian roads.

No messing around with subtle badging, just the letters I-S-U-Z-U emblazoned across the front and back of all their vehicles whether they be trucks, utes or SUVs.

And there are plenty of them out there.

Isuzu has been Australia’s top-selling truck for a staggering 33 years while sales of this week’s review, the D-Max ute, and its SUV sibling MU-X are enjoying spectacular growth — with total 2021 sales up by just over 60 per cent from the previous year.

Since 2008 the D-Max has been imported and distributed by the Queensland-based company, Isuzu UTE Australia (IUA) with the MU-X being added in 2013.

However, they were no strangers to the Australian market with the D-Max ute being sold here for many years as the Holden Rodeo and the MU-X wagon as the Holden Jackaroo.

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What’s it cost?

The latest D-Max upgrade arrived in December 2021 with price increases offset by a range of additional equipment and technology, as well as six new variants — bringing the total to 23 models.

Body styles, as before, are cab chassis and utility with five specification levels: SX, LS-M, LS-U, LS-U+ and X-Terrain.

Depending on the variant, there are single, extended (Space Cab) and dual (Crew Cab) cabins.

Prices range from $31,200 for the entry-level SX Single Cab cab chassis to $65,900 for the range topping X-Terrain Crew Cab ute.

On-road costs need to be added.

There’s not a great deal of scope for automotive stylists with utes.

Most of their attention is directed to the front where they can make points of distinction with competitors.

The D-Max has a big, bold grille with two large horizontal bars, the top one, as discussed, with the Isuzu name front-and-centre.

The grille infill in the SX and LS-M is matte grey, chrome in the LS-U and LS-U+ and colour coded in the X-Terrain.

SX has halogen headlights, all others get LED as well as LED for both daytime running lights and fog lights.

Wheel sizes are 17-inch alloys on the SX and LS-M and 18-inch on the higher-spec models.

All models get a full-size steel spare.

The entry-level SX variants come with a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen display with voice recognition.

There’s DAB+ digital radio; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and four-speaker audio. LSM adds two extra speakers.

LSU gets a 9.0-inch monitor as well as satellite navigation and eight speakers in all — but the Space Cab has six.

Standard safety features across the range include eight airbags, enhanced ABS brakes, hill start assist and hill descent control.

Automatic variants add mis-acceleration mitigation and lane keep assist, while dual-cab models have Isofix child seat anchor points.

Models from the LS-M upwards get rear parking sensors while only the X-Terrain has front sensors.

All D-Max variants come with the Isuzu Intelligent Driver Assistance Package (IDAS) with a range of active safety systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Turn Assist.

There’s also Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK).

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What’s it go like?

Two engines are offered, a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel in the entry-level SX single-cab that generates 110kW of power and 350Nm of torque from 1800 rpm.

All other models use an upgraded 3.0-litre turbo-diesel with 140kW and 450Nm from 1600 revs.

Depending on the variant there’s the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, while all come with an Aisin six-speed ‘Rev-Tronic’ automatic with sequential sport mode.

We were able to test the mid-spec LS-U ute and LS-U cab chassis back-to-back over a two-week period.

At nearly 5.3 metres in length and with a 12.5-metre turning circle it needs plenty of care in tight situations.

However, steering is light at low speeds.

While we appreciate the excellent safety features in the IDAS package.

But as a driver who gets frustrated with too much interference, there’s a Lane Support System switch that turns off the various lane keeping features.

The upgraded 3.0-litre turbo diesel puts out 10kW and 20Nm more than before while the torque band is five times wider and more usable with 400Nm on tap from 1400 through to 3250 rpm.

It’s not the most refined diesel engine we’ve driven and is relatively noisy.

Ground clearance is 235mm in the SX and LS-M and 240mm in the other variants.

Together with a 3500k braked towing capacity, it makes the D-Max a serious and versatile working vehicle.

At the same time the ride is quite smooth and comfortable enough to suit family duties.

Handling is safe and secure, but with no pretence of being sporty.

It will look after you if you drive at stupid speeds into corners thanks to its electronic aids, but it’s much better to drive the D-Max like the ute that it is.

Fuel consumption is listed at 8.0L/100km.

We registered 9.2 L/100km in the LS-U ute around our normal drive route but got it down to 7.5 L/100km in the cab chassis, mainly through a trip to Canberra and back.

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What we like?

  • Steering is light at low speeds
  • Excellent safety features
  • You can turn off the various lane keeping features
  • Ride quite smooth and comfortable
  • Good fuel consumption

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What we don’t like?

  • Large 12.5-metre turning circle
  • Not the most refined diesel engine

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The bottom line?

The public is voting with their wallets on the merits of the Isuzu D-Max and the booming sales indicate what a solid, capable and well-equipped vehicle it is.

Its high payload and towing capacity will attract commercial buyers while it’s upmarket feel and excellent equipment list allow it to double as family transport.

All Isuzu vehicles come with a six-year warranty but with distance limited to 150,000km.

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CHECKOUT: Isuzu D-Max: The long and the short of it

CHECKOUT: MU-X a big moment for Isuzu

Isuzu D-Max LS-U Crew Cab 4WD auto, priced from $59,400
  • Looks - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Safety - 9/10
    9/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
    8/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 7/10
    7/10
  • Tech - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10
Overall
7.9/10
7.9/10