Isuzu Malaysia has recently renewed its 4X4 pick-up truck line-up with the third generation D-Max that comes with improved comfort, better drivability and more features to swing opinion.
The all-new model, which has a 5-star Asean NCAP rating, is offered in seven variants, and comes in single or double cab bodystyles, six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and 1.9-litre or 3.0-litre turbodiesel Blue Power engines.
On-the-road prices without insurance for private registration are: 1.9L single cab manual (RM88,599), 3.0L single cab manual (RM95,538), 1.9L double cab manual Standard (RM99,599), 1.9L double cab automatic Standard (RM106,999), 1.9L double cab automatic Premium (RM121,549), 3.0L double cab automatic Premium (128,038) and 3.0L double cab automatic X-Terrain (RM141,938).
The new 3.0-litre 4JJ3-TCX engine is now much improved over the 4JJ1-TCX engine used in the previous generation line-up, and delivers 190PS (+13PS) and 450Nm (+70Nm) of torque.
Its flat torque curve also arrives earlier at 1,600rpm compared with 1,800rpm previously.
Among the upgrades were high pressure common rail fuel injection system, electronically controlled high efficiency variable geometry turbo, and new piston and combustion chamber design.
Its fuel injection timing is also revised to reduce diesel clatter.
Meanwhile, the 1.9-litre RZ4E-TC engine, while still producing the same 150PS and 350Nm of torque, gets a new turbocharger for better responsiveness and improved top-end performance.
Bigger than the previous generation, the wheelbase of the new D-Max is 30mm longer along with more shoulder space for a roomier interior.
Its appearance is sportier and bolder with a 15mm higher bonnet and 10mm lower roofline.
Getting in and out through the rear doors is easier as the opening has been increased by 25mm.
In addition, the latest D-Max features the new Isuzu Dynamic Drive platform which provided for a stiffer frame.
The D-Max also has high mounted upper-link front double wishbone suspension, aluminum propeller drive shaft, and longer and stronger rear leaf springs.
Wading depth has been increased to 800mm while the rear differential lock improves off-road capability.
All variants get a 5-year/150,000km warranty except the X-Terrain which comes with the best-in-class 7-year/unlimited mileage warranty.
We recently got to drive the flagship X-Terrain that features a sporty dark grey grille with bi-LED headlight and LED daytime running lights, rear LED combination lamps, front and rear LED foglamps along with high levels of smart safety and premium convenience features.
Inside, the X-Terrain is certainly a class above the previous generation with its passenger car-like environment.
Leather steering wheel and seats along with dashboard and armrests in soft touch materials and metallic trimmings contribute to the upmarket feel.
The driver’s seat has an eight-way power-adjust capability while rear passengers get air-conditioner vents and an USB charging port.
The 9-inch centre infotainment touchscreen unit supports Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice recognition and eight speakers while the instrument panel is the e-Lumax type with colour centre multi-information display.
The 3.0-litre engine fires up quickly with the press of the push button ignition and delivers plenty of grunt.
The X-Terrain picks up speed quickly with the six-speed automatic transmission delivering smooth and hardly felt gear shifting.
The ride is more comfortable this time and not as bouncy like in the previous generation.
Going over bumps or potholes will not cause any juddering.
We even drove the X-Terrain at high speeds on the Elite Expressway and were impressed by the improved level of handling and poise.
The cabin was also quiet with wind and road noises well-kept from intruding inside.
At a sandy off-road location, the Dunlop Grandtrek AT25 all-terrain tyres with the transmission set to all-wheel drive provided us with confidence when travelling on the loose and soft ground.
The Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS), only available in the X-Terrain, uses a combination of radar, stereo camera and sonar systems to enhance safety.
ADAS features include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, pedal misapplication mitigation, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, lane departure warning, blindspot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and multi collision brake among others.
The forward collision warning sounded an alert and flashed a row of LED lights on the dashboard when we inadvertently drove too close to a vehicle in front.
It will automatically brake the X-Terrain had we not slowed down by ourselves.
Other features include seven airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic stability system, traction control system, hill start and descent control, emergency stop signal, reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, remote engine start, automatic dimming rear view mirror, walkaway door locking, infrared absorbent windscreen, wet wiper system, ISOFIX tethering and 18-inch dark grey alloy wheels with 265/60 tyres.
The cargo area comes standard with tailgate assist and a sliding tray to make loading and off-loading of items easier.
At the end of our one-day drive, we covered some 320km and still had some 60% of fuel left X-Terrain’s 76-litre tank.
A better mileage could be achieved had we been more gentle on the throttle but it had been unexpectedly fun and satisfying to drive the X-Terrain with gusto.
For just around RM142,000, the X-Terrain is a tempting choice for a lifestyle pick-up truck as it even has features that many similarly priced SUVs don’t get.