In all honesty, I don’t think there’s a bad car sold in the Australian car market – there certainly were some, but the current crop in 2020 is arguably as good a bunch as I’ve ever seen. So I was pretty pleased to jump into the MY21 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain recently. Isuzu is letting me play with this for a couple of weeks so I was looking forward to putting it through its paces.
What does Isuzu say? Welcome to the new generation of tough. From cutting-edge technology to the power you need, the All-New D-MAX is more capable than ever before. Designed to handle the harshest of Australian conditions, it has everything you require to own your next adventure in style, comfort and safety with a 5-Star ANCAP rating. Whether on or off-road, at work or at play, the D-MAX defines durability – today, and every day after.
What is it? The Isuzu D-Max is a commercial vehicle manufactured for the world market in Thailand. Available here in Australia since 2008, it’s forebear was the Holden Rodeo and Colorado. This new model was released to the market as the MY21 Isuzu D-Max in September. Since Holden is no more down under, Isuzu arranged a model sharing agreement with Mazda which sells this under the BT-50 badge
Competitors? Way too many to mention here. The Pickup and Cab Chassis 4×4 market has 17 different brands and a lot more models. In 2020, the perennial market leader, Toyota Hilux, had a small lead over Ford Ranger followed by Mitsubishi Triton and then Isuzu D-Max. 4th place is a good achievement for the Isuzu brand given the short supply of the MY19 model on runout for most of this year,
How Much? MY21 Isuzu D-Max starts out at $29,990 drive away for a manual 4×2 cab chassis with an alloy tray. Top of the range is the MY21 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain, a 4WD Dual cab which is promoted at $58,990 drive away
Interior A few manufacturers include a ‘suprise & delight’ feature in their cars.
Not expecting any, but this D-Max has one that surprises me, and that’s a remote engine start. Remember that you can ‘talk’ to the system with the remote up to 20 metres away. By pressing the lock button and then the remote start button for 1 second, your D-max will start its engine and likely (if you had it on) the air conditioning will cool the interior cabin nicely. How clever is that for a crew cab ute?
The Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain is comfortable, roomy and I think best in class for a dual cab.
On The Road My first impression after collecting this MY21 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain was that it had lost little of the noise from the 3.0-litre turbo engine. The venerable motor, around since forever, is used in one form or another for the Isuzu truck range as well as the Isuzu MU-X. From a design viewpoint, the MY21 has a great look. Muscular, aggressive and a ‘big’ looking vehicle. Great job Isuzu designers.
In general terms and comparing it to the market leaders, there’s nothing to dislike about the D-Max. Comfortable seating, plenty of room, a nice amount of tech makes for a pretty wonderful experience.
Safety and Security – MY21 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain
|ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD & BA|
|ESC (Electronic Stability Control) & Traction Control|
|Hill Descent Control|
|Autonomous Emergency Braking|
|Front and rear parking sensors|
|Forward Collison Warning|
|Adaptive Cruise Control|
|Rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines|
|Traffic Sign Recognition|
|Lane Keep Assist|
|Lane Departure Warning|
|Blind Spot Monitoring|
|Turn Assist with EBD|
|Driver Attention Assist|
|Dusk Sensing Headlights|
|LED Daytime Running Lights|
|High Mount Brake Light|
|8 SRS Air Bags|
|Halogen daytime running light (DRL)|
|LED daytime running light (DRL)|
|Dusk-sensing automatic headlights|
|8 Way Adjustable Drivers Electric Seat|
|Bi-LED Headlights with auto-levelling function|
|LED front fog lights|
|2 Child Seat Tethers and ISO FIX Compatible anchor points|
At A Glance – Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain
Price: From $29,990 drive away for the base model but up to $58,990 for the X-Terrain
Engine/Transmission 3.0 Litre Turbo Diesel Engine with 6-Speed Auto Transmission Standard.
Warranty/Service 6-years / 150,000 km Warranty, 7 Years Roadside Assistance (provided you service with an Isuzu Ute Dealer) and 7-years capped price service. Over a six-year period, servicing comes in at $2964, or an average of $494 per service. As a comparison to the best-seller in the segment, the D-Max requires servicing half as often if you drive an average distance each year and will also be cheaper to run, with a longer warranty.
Safety ANCAP 5-Stars, only the second utility to achieve that rating for the Australian market and arguably the best as it meets 2020 rules and regulations.
Economy Green Vehicle Guide doesn’t have numbers for the MY21 D-Max but expect 7.9 Litres per 100km combined
Load Area 1570 (Length) X 490 (Depth) x 1530 (Width) = 1.177 cubic metres. Pity the width between the wheel arches is only 1125 mm. A standard Australian pallet is 1165mm x 1165mm so it would need to sit on the wheel arches, not inside them
So part of the experience in an Isuzu D-Max is either towing something (large) or getting to places that most others can’t.
As far as towing is concerned D-Max is rated to 3.5 tonnes with electric brakes fitted. And funnily enough, there aren’t many brands with that capability in this price range. When discussing dual cabs with this tow rating, apart from the Isuzu D-Max, I’m thinking Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok (V6 only) and Toyota Hilux (manual only), but even these need to be considered carefully.
And as far as off-road is concerned and I’m talking real bush off-road there’s arguably a few things that you’d want to add to the D-Max
Bullbar – A factory recommended bullbar ranges from $2,995 (Black Satin Steel) to $3,400 (Polished Alloy). IUA doesn’t show a winch compatible bar and in that case, I’d strongly recommend an East Coast Bullbars (ECB) unit
Winch – I’d be buying a name brand winch for my D-Max for around $1350. 12,000lb with plasma rope rather than steel. You may have to go to an aftermarket winch compatible bull bar. Expect to pay around $3000 for a polished alloy bar to suit
Snorkel – An IUA Snorkel is priced at $1,190
2” Lift Kit – If you’re seriously off-road and/or you want a big looking truck, a lift kit is almost a must-have. A conversion costs about $2,500 but be careful, as with any aftermarket accessories of your factory warranty. That 6-year, 150,000km warranty may disappear if you’re doing something to your D-Max that Isuzu Ute Australia and more importantly their warranty dept doesn’t like. If something you fit causes an issue with the vehicle, then the factory warranty may not apply.
Mats – Isuzu rubber mats run to $260 for front and rear. No Bull Sandgrabba Mats (specialist off-road) are a bit more at $325 but well worth the extra investment if you’re taking your D-Max on the sand or over dusty and dirty bush tracks.
Dual Batteries – Not available as a genuine accessory, you’ll be looking at $1750 for a good dual battery set-up
Dash Mat – Not available as a genuine accessory but for those wanting a dash mat, expect to pay around $90
Tow Bar – Best to get the factory recommended unit for about $1199 with wiring kit. A Hayman Reece setup is a bit cheaper but not approved by IUA
Electric Brake Controller – IUA Approved runs to $820. I prefer the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite for around $650
Anderson Plugs – Generally available from your favourite off-road shop, I suggest that you ask your local car electrics store for a quote. My guy is quoting me about $325 (Grey) for the first and $225 (Red) for a second
Important Advice for Tradies – MY21 Isuzu D-Max
If you intend to use the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain for work, then arguably you’ll swap the standard factory steel tub for an alloy tray. IMPORTANT. Store the factory tub somewhere when you remove it and refit to your vehicle when it comes time to resell. You will ALWAYS get more money for your old car with a tub (and the bits that go with it) than an alloy tray. And if you don’t fit the alloy tray to a new vehicle, you’ll get somewhere around $1000 for it online
That’s particularly true for the X-Terrain. Isuzu Ute Australia seems to be pointing sales of this model to non-trades buyers, so private users. IMHO, tradies are well cashed up and still want a ‘look at me’ model but one that can do the job midweek and play hard on the weekend.
That tradie will want a set of racks -a modified sports bar and rear bar so it’s particularly important for them to store the existing X-Terrain tub. That with the Sailplane Sports Bar, roller tonneau cover and so on, that will cost a lot and be worth more as a trade
Your dealer or auto electrician will need to modify the rear camera and proximity sensors, but Isuzu can sell you the kit to do this properly.
Not so happy Something I found disconcerting was the roller tonneau cover on the X-Terrain
For the life of me, I found it impossible to relock after opening and it stayed open and unlocked for the two weeks. I feel that Isuzu Ute would have been better matching the high series with some of the better roll tops – perhaps an electric unit as found in Ford Ranger Wildtrak
The second feature that puzzled me was the mute button for the entertainment system. Try as hard as I could, I was always changing the mode, rather than muting the radio. Room for improvement here.
Well done The coupling between the entertainment system and my Apple iPhone was perfect. Unlike a recent Hyundai/Kia experience, once I’d synced the phone to the car, it didn’t fall out of the connection. And there’s no better map than a Google map after all.
On the wait? My regular readers will know that I have three parts of my business. The Car Guy reviews new cars and comments on the car business as well as Formula 1 through the eyes of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. Genuine Spares is a small division but supplies genuine, hard to get parts for Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen and Isuzu Ute. And the third but arguably the largest part of the company is Car Business. That division buys new cars at the best price for customers who are over having to negotiate with new car dealers.
So it’s understandable that a lot of customers and prospective customers are a bit upset waiting for their new Isuzu D-Max. Some have been advised that they’ll get their new vehicle in June 2021 – and that’s a long time to wait (7 months, you’re kidding?) for a Thai built ute, but that’s the result of the worldwide pandemic. You may have read about the shortage of computer chips for manufacturers – that’s the brains of all modern cars and if you can’t get the electronics in the numbers you need, that’s going to hurt production.
Isuzu Ute Australia issued this statement to angry customers and frustrated dealers recently.
“We can confirm that All-New D-MAX production for the Australian market is operational. However, there continue to be ongoing supply delays of the All-New D-MAX specifically for Australian Market due to COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we will unfortunately be unable to fully meet the unprecedented levels of vehicle demand presently.
IUA and all related parties continue to follow up this mater daily to ensure a quick recovery to meet the Australian market demand as soon as possible. We also remain committed to keeping Dealers informed on their vehicle orders, so they can pass this information onto their customers as quickly as possible. We’d like to apologise for the situation and thank everyone for their support and understanding during this challenging time”.
Whenever I’m looking for a new car dealer, I always search on Google.
In this case, I’d search for “Isuzu Ute Dealers” and then the city (Brisbane) or even the suburb I live in. For Isuzu Ute, here are the 6 dealers I’d consider visiting. Google provides a star rating and I suggest that you look for dealers who score more than 4 stars in the Google rankings with at least 10 reviews and stay clear of dealers who don’t measure up to the Google standard
|Brisbane Northside||Nundah Isuzu Ute||4.6 Stars|
|Brisbane Southside||Mt Gravatt Isuzu Ute||4.4 Stars|
|Brisbane Eastside||Keema Isuzu Ute Cleveland||4.6 Stars|
|Brisbane Westside||Westpoint Isuzu Ute||4.7 Stars|
|Gold Coast||Gold Coast Isuzu Ute||4.3 Stars|
|Sunshine Coast||Pacific Isuzu Ute||4.4 Stars|
Hello. I’m Bob Aldons, the owner and editor of The Car Guy.
The Car Guy is an independently owned car review website. I’m currently testing cars for Mazda, Nissan, Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Renault, Subaru, and Hyundai. Through Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport I’m also writing about the 2020 Formula 1 season
I’m not paid by any car company for my opinion and my companies don’t receive advertising revenue to say nice things about them. I call it as I see it.
However, I also own a new car brokerage company – Car Business. Being able to review new cars gives me an opportunity to provide accurate information on these brands. If you’re in the market for Any New Car Cheaper, contact me at Car Business and see how I go about saving you some serious money.
Perhaps you think that you can do the job of buying a new car yourself? If you’re after any advice at all, give me a call and ask me any question that you need to be answered.