The Isuzu D-Max is one of the quiet achievers in the Australian Ute market. It sells pretty well – it was top five of the best-selling utes in Australia last year – with 16,892 sold – and it has a stack of fans.
This is a proper purpose-built ute – and that's refreshing in this day and age.
But how does the D-Max fare in such a choice-rich market and should you wait until the next generation of the popular ute arrives here later this year before buying one?
Our test vehicle – the SX crew cab 4×4 – is the entry-level pick-up-style D-Max. As such, it is a basic vehicle but it has everything you need, minus the frippery. Again, that’s refreshing. The list price on this variant is $46,700 MSRP; price as tested was $44,110 MSRP.
It has a 7.0-inch touch-screen with basic functionality, cloth seats, rubber mats on the floor and vinyl flooring under those.
If you want Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, AEB (autonomous emergency braking) in your D-Max, as well as other driver-assist tech, you’ll have to wait until the next-generation range arrives here later in 2020.
It has 16-inch steel wheels on Bridgestone Dueler A/Ts.
It looks like a ute should, with few city-focussed concessions to modern styling, and that’s fine by me.
In terms of dimensions, this D-Max is 5295 millimetres long with a 3095mm wheelbase. It is 1960mm wide, 1785mm high and it has a listed kerb weight of 2016 kilograms.
The tray is 1552mm long at floor height, 1530mm wide (1105mm between the wheel arches, so not big enough for an Australian-sized pallet), and it's 465mm deep. And back here here you get four tie-down points and a rubber mat.
The D-Max is a pretty decent all-round ute, but it’s starting to look and feel a bit overwhelmed in a ute market brimming with more better-equipped, feature-packed and refined vehicles. The upcoming arrival of the all-new next-generation D-Max line-up this year is definitely good timing.
If you’re planning to use this current D-Max as an off-road tourer, upgrade the suspension, get more aggressive all-terrain tyres and an aftermarket diff-lock. (Note: the next-gen D-Max will have a rear diff lock, as well as an engine output increase to 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm at 1600rpm, and redesigned interior, among other things.)
But the current pricing is too high, though some ute lovers keep buying the D-Max so they obviously don’t see it as I do. I reckon if Isuzu knocked at least $5k off the price, then the D-Max would be even more appealing.