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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Isuzu removes wraps from improved, facelift D-Max

Despite talks of a new downsized turbodiesel engine, the current 1.9 and 3.0-litre units have been retained without any added grunt or torque.

Already four years old despite having made landfall in South Africa last year as a result of delays attributed to the pandemic, Isuzu has revealed the facelift D-Max bakkie in Thailand that, for now, remains an unconfirmed entity for the local market.

New outside

Retaining the same body-on-frame platform and dimensions as the present model, along with the choice of three bodystyles, the D-Max, which benefitted from a slight makeover exclusive to Australia last year, receives restyled headlights with wraparound-style daytime running diodes, a new front bumper and grille, broader selection of alloy wheel choices and new colour options.

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At the rear, the bumper has been updated, the “spoiler” on top of the tailgate extended and the light clusters altered to feature what Isuzu calls a three-level L-shaped design motif.

Isuzu debuts facelift D-Max in Thailand
Including the V-Cross, all models receive new taillight clusters. Image: Isuzu Thailand

Reserved for the top-spec V-Cross is the Magnetite Grey grille from the updated MU-X, new wheel arch cladding, colour coded top rear wings, a new colour called Namibu Orange Metallic and newly designed 18-inch alloy wheels.

Small but easy to spot changes inside

Inside, the overall design has remained unchanged, but with the inclusion of more premium and softer materials, a new seven-inch digital instrument cluster on higher-end models, and a Thai-market exclusive brown-and-black leather option.

The biggest change has, however, been to the seven and nine-inch touchscreen infotainment systems.

Isuzu debuts facelift D-Max in Thailand
Brown-and-black leather interior an option expected to remain in Thailand. Image: Isuzu Thailand

Besides offering wireless Apple CarPlay but still wired Android Auto, Isuzu has dropped the physical shortcut buttons at the screen’s base for touch-sensitive switches, while adding two knobs for the volume and radio tuner.

Both systems are also said to have been improved from a user-friendliness perspective, and are further compliment by type-C instead of type-A USB ports.

Depending on the trim level, standard specification items comprise remote engine start, electric front seats, rear air vents on double cab models, a six or eight-speaker sound system and rain sense wipers.

Workhorse updated Isuzu D-Max range revealed
Similar to the bigger nine-inch display, Isuzu has also made changes to the entry-level seven-inch setup. Image: Isuzu Thailand

On the safety side, an improved forward facing camera, working in conjunction with the Autonomous Emergency Braking system, has been fitted, along with Rear Cross Traffic Alert that now applies the brakes when a collision is detected.

Available on automatic models until now, D-Maxs fitted with the six-speed manual transmission now benefit from Adaptive Cruise Control Isuzu says been designed specifically for three-pedal application.

No heart transplant yet

Despite it being reported last month that a brand-new 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine is being worked on as a dual replacement for the current 1.9 and 3.0-litre units, the latter pair have been kept without any power or torque gains.

Facelift Isuzu D-Max revealed
Unlike the V-Cross, the conventional D-Max double cab can be fitted with either the 1.9 or 3.0-litre engine. Image: Isuzu Thailand

Wearing the BluePower designation, the RZ4E-TC 1.9-litre unit produces 110kW/350Nm while the 4JJ3-TCX 3.0-litre DDI continues to develop 140kW/450Nm.

As mentioned, both are matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox, or a six-speed automatic with a choice of rear-wheel-drive or selectable four-wheel-drive resplendent with a new locking rear differential and what Isuzu calls a rough terrain mode for latter models that adjusts the braking when going off-road.  

A body for everyone

In Thailand, where the D-Max has been the best-selling bakkie for years, 21 models are offered spread across the single cab known as the Spark, the Spacecab and the Spacecab Hi-Lander similar to the Extended Cab sold in South Africa, and the double cab.

Facelift Isuzu D-Max Spacecab unveiled
Spacecab enters the range in the middle in terms of bodystyle. Image: Isuzu Thailand

Spec levels for the Spark are unbadged chassis cab, B and S with the Spacecab being offered in S and L trim levels. Denominators for the Spacecab Hi-Lander are L, Z and ZP.

For the double cab, trim levels comprise DA, Z, ZP with the V-Cross having two versions of its own, Z and ZP.

For now, it is a no

On-sale in Thailand from 12 October priced from 545 000 baht (R284 991) for the Spark 1.9 chassis cab to 1 257 900 baht (R657 780) for the V-Cross 3.0 ZP 4×4 automatic, the updated D-Max has not been mentioned by Isuzu South Africa as a result of production being just over a year in.

Should the revisions receive approval though, expect a product roll-out to happen only in late-2024.

Additional information from drive.com.au and headlightmag.com.

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