Do not ignore the new Isuzu D-MAX. The 2021 update left us floored when the covers were removed and the midsize pickup was revealed to the world. Isuzu has pulled out all the stops to make its truck as competitive as it can be—so much so that it drew the attention of Mazda for its BT-50. Until a new BT-50 comes, it would seem that the D-MAX is the pickup truck to beat in the Philippines.
Just how does it stack up though? No doubt that the model lineup got a bump in price, and with the top-of-the-line LS-E trim hitting the P1,800,000 price point, it’s no surprise that some people are on the fence about buying it. We’re here to tell you, however, that it’s definitely worth it if you’re able to afford it.
One interior to rule them all
The inside of the D-MAX is no longer that drab and boring black plastic. Again, Isuzu pulled out all the stops, redesigning the inside of the D-MAX to make it something truly special. With the LS-E variant as our reference, instead of black and grey, you get an interior design that is primarily dark brown and built with gorgeous lines and proportions. What particularly catches our eye are the seats. They’re comfortable, the leather is good, and on top of that, select variants get electric seat adjustment.
It’s really not like a pickup. When compared to other pickup trucks, the D-MAX stands out as something that is more premium than mainstream. Perhaps Isuzu took a page out of Mazda’s design book or perhaps got inspired after multiple reviewers stated that the prior generation simply was as utilitarian as a commercial vehicle.
The engine that now compares
Isuzu wasn’t quite known for its engines in the past. Back then, the brand’s pickups were just alright in terms of raw specs. The intangible benefit of an Isuzu would only reveal itself years down the line because of the marque’s renowned reputation for durability. While durable, the old specification of the previous generation wasn’t that exciting.
However, all of that is different now. With 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque, the 3.0-liter Blu-Power now holds a candle and trumps other models in its class. Take the Mitsubishi Strada as an example. Mitsubishi’s midsize pickup once towered over the D-MAX with its 179 hp and 430 Nm, but it’s clear in the spec sheet and the driving experience that the D-MAX would likely outpace the Strada.
It’s rare for a vehicle to get a 5-star rating, that’s why we write articles about N-CAP ratings. You never know when you will get into an accident, so it pays dividends to buy a car that will protect you and your loved ones if you happen to get into an accident on your drive.
However, it’s not just the ASEAN NCAP that gave it a 5-star rating, the Australasian NCAP and the Euro NCAP also gave it a 5-out-of-5 rating. If you don’t believe it, here are our articles.
Form and function
Don’t you hate it when manufacturers put on a part that you cannot use? Roof rails are among the most common additions that are more for aesthetics rather than actual function. Quite a handful of cars—not just pickups, come with a warning that tells owners not to use the rails.
Not quite the case with the D-MAX because Isuzu knew that some hardcore pickup aficionados would want to get their money’s worth. The roof rails on the LS-E variant are actually rated for 100 kg, which means that you can definitely load luggage or even produce on top of the truck. Don’t worry, it can handle it.
Worthy of a big screen
At 10.1 inches, the D-MAX's infotainment system is loaded with all the trimmings you can expect from top-tier systems. In the past, the D-MAX only had a basic infotainment system, whose most advanced feature was its Bluetooth connectivity. Now, you get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rear view camera, a clinometer, and many more.
The extra size helps, but the quality of the screen really is what gets us. It's not just big for big's sake, but it's clear as day as well. Not like some of those cheaper screens, you may find in the market.
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