Isuzu D-Max 3.0 X-terrain: Whip up the upscale factor


PICK-UP trucks have long shed their rough-and-tumble workshop mediocrity by pandering to the changing demands of customers over the past decade.

More pick-up truck owners are using their vehicles in commuting to work places, whether these be plantations, construction sites or utility service sites.

What they want to enjoy is a pick-up truck that can handle off-road conditions while giving them ride comfort, among other current-day driving pleasantries.

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Isuzu embarked early in this direction by providing a D-Max pick-up variant that meets such needs while living up to its rough-and-tumble function.

And the 2024 D-Max model appears to go even further by moving its flagship variant, X-Terrain, up the premium ladder.

Welcome lights to greet you as you unlock the doors with your key fob, seven ambient interior lights to choose from to suit your mood when driving, Miura styled door panels to add a touch of class, among other premium items.

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The previous X-Terrain had ambient interior lighting but there was no option for hue variations.

The welcome light thrown onto the road by a light under the door mirrors give it that upmarket standing.

And the Miura design on the door panels that is carried onto the dashboard is another classy act; this is said to represent a classic Japanese origami-inspired parallelogram design.

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For an upscale pick-up that fetches RM157,938 on the road without insurance (up some RM4,000 over the previous edition), the latest D-Max X-Terrain certainly lives up to its top billing.

It has to look the part too and the front and rear are duly refreshed with styling touches to impress on a striking visual impact.

The greater road presence shines through distinctly via the central power bulge on the bonnet and broad angled shoulders to reflect its 3.0-litre muscular diesel oomph.

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Adding to the fresh “face” are changes made to enhance aerodynamic efficiency especially when cruising on the highway to provide better fuel mileage.

With the front bumper integrating seamlessly with the body, gaps are kept to a minimum to achieve this aerodynamic effect.

The bumper accents are now broader and those in the X-Terrain come in black while the low bumper area that carries the registration plate is in silver to suggest a touch of sportiness.

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A major visual change lies in the lower radiator grille that now features a new honeycomb lattice design, which is said to allow more efficient cooling.

Another novel touch is the foglamp section where the housing is enlarged and the turn signals moved to the headlamp housing.

The new air curtain design here allows the air from the foglamp recess to be ducted out through the wheel arches.

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Adding yet another fresh outlook, especially at night, are the headlamp clusters with new bi-LED (light emitting diode) headlamps that integrate the LED DRLs (daytime running lights) and turn signals.

The rear sees contemporary changes in the rear taillamp clusters carrying redesigned LED lamps for greater visibility.

Complementing that is the new tailgate with a dimple and flared lip to break the design monotony.

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There is a new handle design too that features a keyhole to allow the tailgate to be locked should a canopy or lid be fitted.

Completing the fresh outlook is the new sparkling body paint – Namibu Orange Mica – that adds to the three existing colours; Islay Grey, Onyx Black and Dolomite White Pearl.

Needless to say, Isuzu Malaysia was so happy with the new colour option that all 10 D-Max X-Terrain units provided for the KL-Malacca media drive came in that hue.

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As we settled into the driver’s seat, we learnt about the new pattern seats that come with perforations along the back area for improved ventilation for one’s back and thighs.

We also appreciated the bigger 10-inch infotainment touchscreen panel (previously a nine-inch unit) on the central dash area that offers a variety of information and visuals.

Not losing out is the new e-Lumax meter panel featuring a 7-inch colour Multi Information Display (MID) with fresh graphics and analogue gauges for critical displays such as fuel level, coolant temperature and engine rev.

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These screen graphics and information displayed could also be selected according to one’s preference.

Living up to its maximum five-star Asean ANCAP rating for safety, the latest X-Terrain comes with a new and improved fourth generation stereo camera that provides increased front viewing of 120 degrees.

With this feature, it could detect and recognise a greater number of objects, especially from the flanks of the vehicle, and the forward detection distance is improved from 120m to 150m.

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The effectiveness of this latest item was shown to the media under controlled conditions using a child puppet made mobile via overhead cables.

Also displayed was the effectiveness of another update, the Rear Cross Traffic Brake (RCTB); when the vehicle detects an on-coming vehicle while reversing, the system provides audible and visual prompts.

Should these warnings be ignored or overlooked and an imminent collision is anticipated, the RCTB applies the brake.

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This added feature should be useful in the urban scenario where rear view might be obstructed while reversing.

During our highway drives in the new X-Terrain, we appreciated the quieter ride with the improved body aerodynamics reducing air turbulence around the windows and roof.

The 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine offering 190PS (139kW) and 450Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,600rpm provided a relaxed drive, especially with the low engine speeds.

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But be warned though; the engine speed might be between 1,800 to 2,000rpm as you cruise along but watch that speedometer needle and digital road speed reading.

You could easily cross the line on the highway speed limit without out knowing it as the X-Terrain could travel at robust speeds effortlessly.

The D-Max’s good fuel mileage is already well proven and this is due to the low engine speed being achieved via the six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift.

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We enjoyed the ride on the highways and although there were short moments of ripple effect when going over uneven road sections, we enjoyed our nap as a passenger on the whole.

The tyres fitted to the X-Terrain remain the same as the previous model, being the Dunlop AT25 Grandtrek 265/60R18.

Our short urban ride experience as a rear seat passenger also earned a thumbs-up in comfort – good leg and elbow room, accommodating seat cushions and a reasonably compliant ride.

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For a pick-up truck maker, Isuzu has come a long way with the X-Terrain in proving that you could cover construction sites and plantations comfortably in such a vehicle, with premium features to boot.

While Isuzu Malaysia also offers a 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine option, we believe it should measure well up to expectations in performance and fuel economy (based on past drive experiences) with less luxury frill.
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Autos Isuzu