Isuzu D-Max LS 4x2 MT
The previous Isuzu D-Max had been around for what seemed like a dog's age. And now that the new one is here, things feel completely, er, the same. Yes, the truck looks all-new, but not really. Commercial variants get a new 2.5-liter diesel engine that won't set anyone's world afire, while consumer-market models still soldier on with the same 3.0-liter oil-burner found inside the old D-Max. While Isuzu's loyal customers have never complained about it, is there enough life left in that diesel heart to woo new ones?
The D-Max goes to some length to draw a family connection to the previous car, keeping a toothy grille similar to last year's model. This is mated to a slimmer, sleeker light cluster with integrated running lights. The 16-inch alloy wheels look like a direct carryover from previous Isuzu designs. While the D-Max shares bodies with the Chevrolet Colorado, the hood is more traditional than the clamshell-type on the Chevy, and some effort has been put into carving character into the rear tailgate. While the Colorado may be more conservatively handsome, the Isuzu's looks are definitely more striking.
The sporty interior is a big step up over the old car. Our LS variant has a number of blank switches, but they're thankfully tucked away behind the steering wheel. I wish they had tucked away the panel seams around the door switches, too. Center console storage is a bit disappointing, but a dash-top bin and twin glove boxes (one having a hidden power-point) give you alternate places to stow away odds and ends. A spacious cabin and soft seats let you really spread out and lounge. We were able to squeeze several hardcases behind the front seat for an airport run.
While the D-Max isn't exactly slow, it would lose a straight-up drag race to most of its competitors. Otherwise, that direct-injection 3.0-liter is a good motor. It feels under-stressed, with little undue vibration. The light clutch and gearshift remain a joy to use compared to the clunky industrial-grade gearboxes in the competition. Fuel economy (as tested) hovered at 8-10km/L in traffic, and back-to-back-to-back highway runs at 80kph in light traffic returned 18-19km/L. Long runs at 70kph or under could put you above the magic 20km/L mark, but that's no fun when buses are passing you while doing 120!Read more...