The chances of Isuzu joining Mitsubishi in introducing a rival for the Ford Ranger Raptor has again flared-up following the unveiling of the all-new D-Max in Australia.
Despite the marque’s Director of Product Planning for Australia, Yugo Kiyofuji, telling drive.com.au two years ago that it has no plans to join the “battle of the figures” race in creating a V6 engine or a unit “with 300kW/600Nm” Director of Sales and Marketing, Koichiro Yoshida, said tabs are being kept on the D-Max’s off-road focused rivals, which Down Under includes not only the Raptor, but also the Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior and the Toyota Hilux Rugged X.
“We see competitors have Warrior and Raptor, and some customers really like those vehicles, and we will keep monitoring that demand. We are also studying if that kind of vehicle is really appreciated by the market or not, so yes, we are having that study internally, but at this moment, still no clear plan to introduce such model,” he told carsguide.com.au.
Arriving on local shores next year, the eagerly awaited, and locally built, D-Max will carry a sticker price of $32 200 (R402 238) for the single chassis cab workhouse SX in Australia and top out at $62 900 (R785 739) for the top-spec X-Terrain double 4×4 automatic. Power will solely come from the upgraded 140kW/450Nm 3.0 D-TEQ turbodiesel engine with Australia getting five bodystyles; single and double chassis cab, the Space Cab known locally as the Extended Cab and the Crew or double cab. Transmission will consist of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.
Elsewhere, the automaker has not ruled out the possibility of introducing a hybrid poweruit, which will be aimed at that of Toyota come 2025. As well as electrical assistance, caradvice.com.au alleges that the smaller 110kW/360Nm 1.9 BluePower engine could find its way to Australia as the spiritual successor for the stalwart 2.5 D-TEQ engine still offered in certain markets.
Until then, details of the South Africa bound D-Max are unknown and likely to be announced closer to the launch date next year.