This is the D-Max, but not as we knew it. Once renowned for its resolute focus on more pragmatic virtues, Isuzu has now seen fit to move the D-Max with the times and embrace a greater degree of modernity in its trusted pick-up.
There remains a degree of conservative thinking in the tuning of its engines - the 3.0-litre is now the segment's biggest powerplant, yet its outputs are decidedly modest, being merely on par with the more aggressively-tuned 2.4- to 2.5-litre rivals. That's on paper.
On the road, however, the engine pulls with pleasing effortlessness with near-instant torque delivery. Here, Isuzu convincingly proves the old adage of there being no replacement for displacement. Compared to smaller capacity engines on high boost, the 3.0-litre D-Max goes about its business in a distinctly relaxed feel. More pleasant in day-to-day driving for one, and also requires less revs to climb slopes - handy on slippery ground.
Refinement is much improved too. The new D-Max is now a convincingly smooth operator on the road. The previous model, to be fair, already did a fair job on sound insulation, but the new one further improves its road manners with a more supple ride. Not as plush as the coil-sprung Nissan Navara, neither does it handle as outright sporty as the Mitsubishi Triton, but it strikes a happy medium.
From being the just a trusty workhorse, the D-Max has suddenly elevated itself to become a convincingly complete all-rounder. It is now a properly A-list pick-up truck that does not just haul ass in the plantations but also cocoons you in all the creature comforts one expects in a modern car. Watch out, Toyota Hilux!Perhaps no area demonstrates the sheer advancement of the D-Max's product concept than in the aspect safety. All variants are rated five stars by ASEAN NCAP, with the X-Terrain model additionally being packed with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).