Isuzu ute’s latest working-class ute may not be as slick as some of its fancier stablemates and rivals, but it’s fit for purpose and designed to get the job done.
Isuzu Ute Australia earlier this year expanded its powertrain offerings in the popular D-Max Ute range, specifically targeting the single-cab tray-backs that are a tool-of-trade staple on worksites and farms, as well as fleet and commercial operators.
The D-Max SX single cab-chassis 4x2 features a new RZ4E-TC 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine, with Isuzu stating the Euro 5 emissions-compliant engine is now its most fuel-efficient unit.
The engine has a proven track record overseas and robust engineering derived from its association with the well-proven 3.0-litre turbo-diesel used elsewhere in the D-Max range.
The new SX model gets off to a flying start with a price that undercuts its 3.0-litre-powered sibling by a handy $2,000.
There’s more savings with the smaller-capacity diesel at the bowser too, with an official combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 7.0L/100km, a full litre less than its larger sibling.
On the flip side, the engine’s 110kW/350Nm outputs are 30kW/100Nm lower than the larger capacity engine, with peak power and torque achieved at almost identical revs as the larger engine.
As with the 3.0-litre models, buyers can choose from a six-speed manual or the six-speed Aisin sequential shift auto-fitted to our test vehicle.
During our unladen testing, the new engine exceeded expectations, clearly punching above its weight.
Torque is well distributed across the rev band giving it a decently punchy feel, especially in the mid-range, which ensures good driveability.
A lower rear axle ratio and approximately 100kg lower kerb mass also aid in this regard.
Load carrying is very much the stock-in-trade for blue-collar vehicles like the SX single cab-chassis, which is rated to 3000kg GVM (gross vehicle mass) as per the 3.0-litre version.
However, a lower kerb mass allows for an additional 80-100kg of payload (1405kg manual/1380kg auto), which will likely be appreciated by its target market.
A lower GCM (gross combination mass) for the new variant sees maximum braked towing capacity fall from the 3.0-litre’s 3,500kg to 2,800 for the manual or 3,000kg for the auto.
A robust three-leaf heavy-duty rear suspension sits under the rear to cope with the rigours of load carrying, delivering an unladen ride that’s firm but more agreeable than some competitors we’ve driven.
The high-riding design allows additional clearance for negotiating building sites and paddocks but there’s no rear diff lock available for extra traction.
The ultra-high tensile steel chassis is designed to accommodate a 2,550mm (L) x 1,777mm (W) tray, with this model available at the time of writing with a fitted alloy tray and manual transmission for a drive-away price of $31,990.
If alloy isn’t your cup of tea, Isuzu also offers a range of genuine steel tray options, as well as toolboxes, drawers, ladder racks, headboards, fire-extinguisher-holders, and more.
Like the rest of the D-Max range, the SX comes with a full suite of driver assistance and safety features which gifts it a five-star ANCAP safety rating, placing it at the forefront of the ute class.
Other standard features inside the practical, hard-wearing and utilitarian interior include vinyl floor mats, DAB+ radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and tilt/reach adjustable steering.
Isuzu’s capped-price servicing applies to ABN and business fleet customers as well as private buyers, along with a full six-year/150,000km warranty applies.
The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.