Isuzu D-Max: Work and play for the long haul


The new 2011 Isuzu D-Max is a snapshot of the ever-changing landscape of the dual cabin pickup world.

Designed by long time com­mercial vehicle manufacturer Isuzu, it is locally assembled by Isuzu Malaysia.

The new D-Max received a mostly-cosmetic face-lift with a new bumper design, chromed fog lamp bezels and sports rims with a polished finish.

The side steps and roller bar have also been spruced up while providing a practical anchor point to secure large items in the truck bed.

In the interior, a black finish has been added to the dash­board, door panels, pillars and headlining.

The air-conditioning vents, speaker bezels and gearshift surround are given a chrome finish for an interesting con­trast.

There are seven variants altogether with engine options being 2.5L direct injection, 2.5L Super Commonrail and 3.0L Super Commonrail.

A five-speed manual trans­mission is available with all three engine variants while a four-speed automatic transmis­sion is available only in the 3.0 litre engine configuration.

The test model was the 2.5Ddi iTEQ manual variant featuring a 2.5 litre Super Commonrail en­gine, which on first sight, looked more approachable and less imposing than other pickups in its class and price range.

I stepped into it without hav­ing to climb up into it.

This felt more like a sedan than a pickup. This has been a trend of late where pickups and SUVs are designed to be more like cars.

The interior had generous space, allowing me to get com­fortable in no time at all.

Leg room was not an issue at all; this was a must when it came to a safe and comfortable long drive.

After starting the engine, I did not perceive any distinctly loud noises from the vehicle.

The cabin was relatively iso­lated in an acoustic sense, and this made listening to music easy on the ears.

The driver’s seat provided comfort and a clear field of vi­sion which made the driving experience all the more safe and enjoyable.

The air-conditioning was not harsh in that it cooled the cabin fairly quickly without any no­ticeably cold jets of cooled air.

It was nice and comfortable without being overbearing.

The drive itself was a three-day adventure, starting from Kuala Lumpur, a quick stop in Putrajaya and then off to Port Dickson.

From there, I drove down to Melaka via narrow and winding roads filled with interesting sights including cows to keep me on constant alert.

The comfort and handling of the ride were very satisfactory for a dual cabin pickup.

The effects of the ever-present bumps and crevices on the roads were eloquently handled by the suspension system.

This was especially noticea­ble on the drive down to Melaka where the rural roads were not exactly the best.

It was a tad bumpy in the rear seats when going at a faster pace.

Another thing I took note here was that the clutch system was fairly forgiving and ‘soft’ in the sense that gear changes were quite smooth without being acutely reactive.

Performance wise, the D-Max offered good performance.

While it did not offer highly responsive acceleration from a stationary position, it did quite well in handling and overtaking as I took to the major highways from urban areas.

The pickup moved with grace and comfort.

This is where the vehicle truly shines: a smooth comfortable ride for the long haul without breaking the wallet.

The entire drive from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya, then to Port Dickson and Melaka and finally to Kuala Lumpur Inter­national Airport took less than half a tank where a full tank is 76 litres.

The 2.5L model was described as having a fuel economy of 7.6 litres every 100 kilometres.

This is especially attractive for vehicle owners who seek a reliable pickup with fuel economy.

Isuzu incorporated a high level of technology into the design of the vehicle, with a remarkable balance of smooth performance, excellent durabil­ity and fuel efficiency.

All variants of the D-Max are available in Galaxy Grey Metallic, Mercury Silver Metal­lic, Inferno Red Mica, Frosty White Solid and Space Black Metallic.

With excellent fuel economy, great engine performance, and top notch reliability, this car provides an excellent value in the dual cabin pickup market.