What’s new with the Isuzu D-MAX? After 9 years with the old model, it is about time that Isuzu came up with a new one. After 9 long years, what’s changed? Is it drastic? Is it worth the wait? To answer all your questions and then some, here’s a list of all of the major changes made to the 2021 Isuzu D-MAX. The variant that we’re covering is the 2021 Isuzu D-MAX LS-E 3.0L 4x4, which means that it is the top-of-the-line model in the range.
Beauty isn’t just skin-deep with the D-MAX. There are a ton of new cuts and curves all over Isuzu’s pickup truck. It doesn’t look too glamorous, but it does have a tough and mean design to it. Stare its face down and you get a menacing look with its angular headlights and its very toothy-looking grille clad in gunmetal grey. Isuzu has also updated the taillamps to be a little less boring. Now with LED technology, you get the same output at lower wattages plus a design that is sure to catch the attention of everyone behind you.
It’s not just chalked full of new design elements that look great, it’s got some functional kit as well. While other pickups pride themselves on rugged looks, the D-MAX adornments serve a purpose. The roof rails can take up to 100 kgs of weight, so you don’t have to worry about buying another pair in the aftermarket. Out of the factory, it can hold its own. You also get a full bed-liner, as well as a bed garnish in glossy black. It’s the small touches like these that allow the D-MAX to stand out and even outperform its rivals in several aspects.
The old D-MAX drew a lot of ire from reviewers and owners alike, simply because its interior was more workhorse than luxurious. In the 2021 model, Isuzu has decided to forego the workhorse looks and equipped the D-MAX with brown leather for the top-spec variant. The interior style is also quite astounding, and it was enough to grab the attention of Mazda, and it does emulate the feel of a Mazda as well.
There are also metallic touches that make the D-MAX feel very upscale. The brown leather brings a certain warmth to the cabin that invites you to get up and drive. The dashboard also has heaps of class with brown leather, while the seats are unexpected in a pickup. The level of comfort is a cut above the previous generation. There are also more accessories for all passengers. You get a USB charging port in the front and in the rear, and everyone gets climate control vents. The passenger can also use the dual-zone auto-climate control to give them a more personalized experience sitting up front in the D-MAX.
Technology and safety
The old D-MAX had a small-ish screen with Bluetooth connectivity being its most advanced feature. For the new model, the 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system isn’t just nice to look at, it’s amazing to use. It serves as the monitor for your reverse camera, and it also has a vibrant high-resolution display. Isuzu has also given the top-spec LS-E variant an 8-speaker audio system. This allows for greater sound fidelity for all types of media. FM radio is one particular medium that the Isuzu product planners wanted to prioritize for the D-MAX. The quality of FM radio in the Philippines is fair, to say the least, but the product team was able to make the most out of the broadcast quality of Philippine radio waves. In other words, they tuned the vehicle’s sound system to give the best possible sound quality for FM radio, on top of it being a great performer as a standard MP3 player.
While there are many toys to play with, Isuzu has also bundled-in active safety features that keep you safe and out of trouble. The LS-E variant of the D-MAX gets the brand’s Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS), which include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency brake, turn assist, mis-application mitigation, adaptive cruise control, manual speed limiter, automatic high beam, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors in the front, parking sensors in the rear, and a multi-collision brake system. All of these features are some of the most advanced in the industry, and the D-MAX gets first dibs on the latest and greatest tech that Isuzu can provide.
Prior to the new model, Isuzu pickups couldn’t boast about their specifications. The competition was just too powerful at the time. With just 174 hp and 380 Nm of torque from the outgoing 3.0-liter turbodiesel, it was out-torqued by a lot of the competition. Since it is a pickup truck, torque is a necessity if you’re hauling heavy loads. To put things into perspective, the top-of-the-line D-MAX used to have the torque output of the entry-level engines of its rivals, but that will not be the case anymore with this new setup.
With 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque, Isuzu’s done playing second fiddle in terms of power and torque. This refresh brings a 13 horsepower and 70 Nm gain over its predecessor. While driving the D-MAX, you will feel the difference, and the engine doesn’t feel as taxed anymore. For lower models, you still get the 1.9-liter RZ4E, and that engine has an output that betrays its displacement, because it makes 148 hp and 350 Nm of torque, which is still substantial for such a small-displacement engine.
While it may not be a heavily advertised trait, the D-MAX does have a softer suspension compared to its old model. Isuzu said that they removed one leaf from the rear, and changed up the metallurgy of the springs to give the D-MAX a soft yet strong ride. The model doesn’t sacrifice its payload capacity and has a better ride than before. You don’t expect it to be as plush, but it is. Pickups are notorious for being uncomfortable and bouncy, but the D-MAX is an exception to that stereotype.
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