2018 Isuzu D-Max 1.9L RZ4E BluePower

Rainy season doesn’t mean it’s already late to do a quick road trip. Right? Timely enough—for us and a bunch of other motoring journalists—Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) arranged a media drive to test it’s updated pickup truck in a 254-kilometer trip. There we got the chance to experience the thrill of driving the 2018 D-Max and 2018 mu-X, both equipped with the latest RZ4E Blue Power engine, on the way to Thunderbird Resort in La Union for the brand’s ‘Driveway Getaway 2018’ launch.

The fun started at Petron Marilao, where all teams flagged off for the eco run all the way up to Petron Tarlac. This was to test how efficient the 1.9L RZ4E engine is on the D-Max and unsurprisingly, it didn’t disappoint. The 112-kilometer eco drive seemed to be a piece of cake for the 2018 D-Max, as the odometer was able to punch in 23 km/L with an average speed of 70 to 80 km/h – making it a candidate for the most fuel-efficient pickup in the market today. Not bad, Isuzu Philippines; not bad at all.

It may have been too early to answer the question whether bringing the truck to La Union’s a great idea or not. However, as far as the results are concern and to our opinion, we’d obviously say ‘yes.’ It doesn’t chug much diesel and even had an efficiency reading like that of a subcompact sedan. However, this does not sum up the good things about the car.

So, apart from the eco run result, we’d like to share to you our experience of the 2018 D-Max which, by the way, hit us better than we’ve expected. Like most updated versions, there were no big changes on the exterior but the updates were pretty recognizable. It has a redesigned grille upfront, accompanied by the chrome accents atop the headlight that now comes in Bi-LED. Also, the fog lamp housing received minor changes, wrapping up the front end of the truck. That’s just the icing on the cake though.

Another thing about the 2018 D-Max, coming from a company that specializes in trucks, is that it’s built by truck engineers. We mean, just expect the quality of a product made by an experienced maker. And, as claimed by IPC, it’s the only pickup truck in the country that’s designed according to its purpose, name it; rigid chassis, high-tensile steel cabin, and steel timing chain.

Despite it purposely being put together by truck engineers as a light-duty truck, it surprisingly didn’t give away cabin comfort. The 2018 D-Max RZ4E is equipped with the latest safety and convenience technologies. That said, it claims a passenger car-like cabin plus a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, and glorious amount of USB ports – which are pretty nifty for the millennial market.

For even better driving and riding experience, there are also exclusive accented fabric seats for the RZ4E models for that superb riding comfort we all want. You won’t also run out of places to put things as the cabin is blessed with multiple storage compartments and cupholders.

When it comes to safety, the 2018 D-Max doesn’t compromise. It is proudly equipped with dual front airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), traction control system (TCS), and hill-start and hill-descent control (HAS and HDC). One interesting feature is the brake override system (BOS), which countermand the accelerator input if ever you step on both accelerator and brake pedals at the same time. This, in our opinion, may help on lowering the risk of parking lot-related accidents.

Power? Isn’t that what the D-Max is all about? Even if we feel like there isn’t a need to talk about it, the 1.9L RZ4E Blue Power diesel engine can put out up to 148 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Now, connect this power to the 23 km/L fuel consumption; sounds like a little out of the blue, right? Well, that’s the 2018 Isuzu D-Max right there and we were there when it did it. Mind you, IPC president Hajime Koso even says the eco run reading was despite the “200 new components.”

So, basically, we have our hands down on the 2018 Isuzu D-Max – kudos to IPC for doing a job well done. All we could say is this pickup truck wouldn’t be a ‘killjoy’ on your long drives. It has a fuel economy of a subcompact car, a passenger car-like cabin, and the power a pickup truck should have. So, yes, taking the D-Max RZ4E to La Union was indeed a perfect idea.

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