Isuzu has refreshed its bakkie range, giving it a new name along with higher levels of specification, quality and efficiency to make its popular light commercial vehicle more appealing than ever.
Over the past 40 years of local production spanning six generations, the Isuzu bakkie has been a key player in South Africa’s love affair with the versatile bakkie – both as a workhorse and an all-encompassing everyday leisure and lifestyle vehicle.
Now known as the Isuzu D-MAX, in line with international markets, the Isuzu bakkie range spans an extensive portfolio of 30 models for South Africa and 13 models for export markets, with the top-spec derivatives reflecting the more sophisticated requirements of top-end buyers in this segment.
The D-MAX name originated in Thailand, with the “D” originally referring to the 2000 model year Isuzu bakkie, which boasted the flush “Dragon Eyes” headlamp design.
It also represents Isuzu’s proud legacy in the production of diesel engines, the use of industry-defining direct injection, as well as ground-breaking design and durability.
“MAX” signifies the company’s maximum approach to design, size, comfort, technology, performance, safety and durability.
Visually, the biggest styling changes for the D-MAX make their debut on the range-topping 3.0-litre LX models, available in single, extended and double cab bodies.
Central to the new look is a muscular new chromed radiator grille, along with new tapered chromed accents extending across the full length of the sleeker L-shaped headlight clusters.
Climb into the cabin and the more upmarket look and feel become immediately apparent, courtesy of the new soft-touch panels for the instrument cluster binnacle.
The utility box lid is now embellished with the D-MAX, complemented by a new high-quality grain for the dashboard and door trims, along with a piano black finish on the air vent grilles and window switches.
In contrast, the door handles, locking knob, and air vent knobs are picked out in chrome.
The occupants also benefit from the fitment of the latest-generation infotainment system, incorporating an eight-inch full-colour touch screen that replaces the 6.5-inch version.
The fully featured system incorporates the display for the rear-view camera, and facilitates Bluetooth hands-free cellphone use and audio streaming.
One of the most significant new features of the 2018 D-MAX is the introduction of an all-new sixspeed gearbox on the high-spec 3.0-litre LX derivatives, replacing the five-speed versions.
The six-speed manual benefits from an improved shift action, and makes the most of the strong torque delivery and superb fuel economy of the four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel engine, which produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque.
On the safety front, the ABS brakes on D-MAX LX models are equipped with Brake Override System.
The system restricts accelerator input if the brake pedal is applied simultaneously, thereby reducing stopping distances in an emergency.
A total of 16 single cab derivatives are available, including the addition of the new Dropside Base models.
A new 2.5-litre HO Base model joins the double cab range as an entry-level proposition that is perfectly suited to hard-working commercial applications.
It is complemented by the existing Hi-Rider and striking X-Rider models in 4X2 or 4X4, as well as the LE version that offers exceptional value for money.
All models are sold as standard with a five-year/90 000km service plan, a comprehensive fiveyear/120 000km warranty and roadside assistance, as well as a five-year unlimited distance anti-corrosion warranty.
- 250 HO Base R332 500
- 250 HO Hi-Rider R387 800
- 250 HO LE R437 200
- 250 HO 4X4 Hi-Rider R435 500
- 300 LX 6-speed manual R522 100
- 300 LX 6-speed auto R537 100
- 300 4X4 LX 6-speed manual R591 800
- 300 4X4 LX 6-speed auto R606 400
- 250 HO X-Rider R424 400
- 250 HO 4X4 X-Rider R472 500