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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Smash-hit Isuzu D-Max X-Rider returns, but…

Given the moniker massive popularity since debuting seven-years ago, expect it to return to South Africa at some stage this year.

Isuzu has started 2023 off by reintroducing one of its best-known D-Max monikers, the X-Rider, to the Australian market after a four-year hiatus.

Icon returns

A moniker that became a massive success in South Africa after being introduced as a so-called value limited edition of the KB250 in 2016, it officially became part of the renamed and updated D-Max line-up two years later after the planned 700 units sold-out within months.

The eventual base for three sub versions of the previous generation D-Max, the X-Rider Black, X-Rider 3.0 TD and the X-Rider Limited Edition, the designation remains true to its value focused roots as it uses the second-tier Aussie market LS-M spec level as a base, but with spec that mirrors the South African LS derivative.

This means the inclusion of the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights, cruise control, a six-speaker sound system, cloth seats, a reverse camera with rear parking sensors, electronic stability control and Hill Start Assist.

ALSO READ: X (Rider) factor and three-litre power hits Isuzu D-Max’s high

As part of the X-Rider touches though, the D-Max gains models specific black 17-inch alloy wheels, standard black exterior details, a two-tone black grille, X-Rider badges on the front wings and tailgate, a black sports bar, tonneau cover and grey side steps.

Somewhat surprisingly, despite the confirmation of the X-Rider’s specification sheet, no images or differences applied to the interior versus that of the LS-M was disclosed.

Same power, more rugged foundation

What Isuzu did announce though is that the X-Rider will only be available as a double cab and as with latter versions of the KB250, with four-wheel-drive as well as the six-speed automatic gearbox with no manual option.

Up front, the DDI-badged 4JJ3-TCX 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine produces an unchanged 140kW/450Nm, but while Isuzu has made no alternations to the drive wheels or transmission, it has fitted the heavy-duty rear suspension option as standard, along with a steel underbody protection plate plus the carryover locking rear differential.

Isuzu D-Max X-Rider turns
Besides the X badge on the tailgate, the rear facia continues otherwise unchanged

Will it come to South Africa?

Priced from $58 000 (R669 731) and only decked-out in three colours; Mineral White, Granite Grey Mica and Basalt Black Mica, allocation will be restricted to 1 020 units with order books now open.

While still to be unconfirmed for South Africa, whose models are sourced from the Struandale Plant in Port Elizabeth, now Gqeberha, instead of the Samut Prakan facility in Thailand, chances are that the X-Rider will return at some stage given its massive popularity in the used bakkie market.

Therefore, expect an announcement to be made at some stage, but for now, it remains an Australian-only model.

Additional information from carexpert.com.au.

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