Most of us know the strong reliability quotient of Isuzu vehicles, but if you were living under a rock, Isuzu is a pioneer in diesel engine vehicles. You did not get to see them often on the road because they mostly had presence in the commercial vehicle segment. But the introduction of D-Max V-Cross brought them visible to a commoner’s eye. A big powerful diesel powered SUV that can carry people in comfort, haul a lot of stuff around in the back, take a lot of punishment from the elements and still stay as reliable as it can. But for those who thought it lacked flair of modern SUVs, Isuzu has showcased it MY2017 D-Max which just as capable, but comes with a lot more style and features.
All-new 1.9 litre turbo-diesel
Yes the biggest change in at the heart of this new D-Max. It has a smaller 1.9litre turbo diesel engine that makes more power and torque than the currently available 2.5litre unit. Power has gone up from 134bhp to 162bhp with a 40Nm jump in peak torque output. The transmission is now a more updated 6-speed manual than the earlier 5-speed setup. Although unlikely for the Indian market, a 6-speed automatic too is new for 2017 which will definitely improve city use.
Isuzu claims the new 1.9 litre engine is apt balance between efficiency and torque generation. It makes the D-Max be what it is known for best, 3.5 tonne towing capacity and a 1 tonne payload. And yes, the new unit is Euro 6 compliant meaning lesser exhaust emission. Fuel efficiency figure too gets an improvement from nearly 16.3kmpl to an impressive 17.2kmpl claimed figure, that too with more power and torque. For enhancing towing capability of the new engine transmission setup, Isuzu engineers have used a closer ratio gearbox thus also improving drivability throughout. In terms of safety, the front bumper and bonnet have been redesigned for more absorption increasing pedestrian safety. Also the distance between the engine and bonnet has been lengthened to create a crumple zone for the bonnet to fold into.
D-Max has never been a barren car when it comes to decent levels of equipment, but for the new one Isuzu has brimmed it to the top knowing its customer base is increasing. For nuances it gets a Hill Start Assist, which holds the car for 1-2seconds when you transition from moving your foot from the brake pedal to accelerator pedal, and Variable Hill Descent Control, that maintains a consistent low descent speed on, steep or slippery slopes, allowing you to concentrate on steering the car.
But obvious like every other manufacturer is doing these days, the audio system is upgraded as well. Bluetooth and touch-screen telephony have become a sought after fitment on all top variants. These will also boast Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation. We don’t know the kit available in the Indian spec versions, but the international market models are very well loaded now indeed with keyless entry, puddle lamps and remote locking lower tailgate. Just hope these make it to the Indian spec models.
All of these features get overshadowed by the 1.9 litre turbocharged diesel engine that is definitely needed for the Indian market. It is more efficient and emits lesser harmful emission. Also an expectation of all safety and features comes in order as Indian market is a major landmark for all manufacturers. The growing need for pick-up trucks is a positive hope that Isuzu can bank upon with newer but similarly utilitarian models for our roads.