Isuzu D-Max LSU Crew-Cab 4WD Ute

There’s life in the old dog yet.

Are rumours that a new Isuzu D-Max ute will be launching here sometime in 2020 true? Brisbane-based Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) won’t say, but they are trying to keep buyer interest in the now long-in-the-tooth current model (released in 2012) bubbling along.

To that end, it’s had a few recent updates including, in 2018, engine enhancements delivering an extra 50Nm of torque and Euro 5 emissions compliance. A new six-speed Aisin auto, a GVM increase, and improved ride quality thanks to new three-leaf rear spring units replacing the previous five-leaf sets are also amongst changes.

The latest updates make ownership more appealing with the warranty increased from five years/130,000km to a confidence inspiring six years/150,000km. New also is six years roadside assistance, up from five years, and capped price servicing program expanded to seven years with a total of $3600 over that period. Individual service prices vary between a low of $340 and a high of $1100, with a service interval of 12months/15,000km.

Now fitted to LS-U models are new-look fibre-reinforced polymer side-steps, plus it gains matte-black treatment to the radiator air intake in the front bumper. IUA have made front park sensors optionally available ($545) on all LS variants including LS-U.

With 130kW of power and 430Nm of torque, plus the benefits of driving through the six-speed auto, the D-Max is now closer to its competitors in terms of engine performance, though not class leading. There’s a useful spread of torque that suits the vehicle’s intended functions of load carrying and making headway in off-road conditions. However, the 4JJ1-TC engine certainly leaves no doubt it’s a diesel, with plenty of clatter audible at low speed and under acceleration.

Unladen ride quality doesn’t feel as stiff and jiggly as many utes, whilst steering and roadholding are, by ute standards, competent enough but trail the best the class can offer.

All the expected essential safety features including six airbags are fitted, along with trailer-sway control, but more advanced driver assistance technology as is now provided on a few of the D-Max’s competitors such as the Mitsubishi Triton, isn’t available. Even rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlights are missing on the LS-U. Fit and finish is neat and utilitarian as befits a light commercial.

D-Max LSU is a solid enough offering, but we would expect a new model, when it does get here, to be more competitive with the class leaders.

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $50,900 (current special, $48,490 drive-away)
  • ENGINE: 3.0-litre, turbo-diesel 4-cyl
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: 5 stars
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 209

FOR:

Improved warranty and service program, ride quality, capable off-road.

AGAINST:

Engine rowdy, feeling a little dated next to best in class models.