Almost two years after the new Isuzu D-Max made its global debut in Thailand in October 2011---and 10 years after the first-generation D-Max was launched in the Philippines in 2003--the second-generation model of the Japanese truckmaker's popular pickup has finally (and officially) reached our shores.
Longer, taller and wider than its predecessor, the new D-Max's exterior design gives it a more fluid appearance "to ensure visual harmony" while retaining the sporty and powerful stance the nameplate is known for. The pickup also boasts one of the lowest drag coefficients in its segment, which contributes to its fuel efficiency, having undergone testing in the wind tunnels of the Japan Railway Research Institute--the same facility used to test the country's famous bullet trains.
Powering the new D-Max are Isuzu's tried and tested 4JJ1-TC 3.0-liter common-rail direct-injection, turbocharged engine that produces 144hp and 294Nm of torque, and a new 4JK1-TC 2.5-liter CRDi, turbocharged mill that puts out 108hp and 280Nm of torque. Unfortunately--or fortunately, depending on how you look at it--these engines are still of Euro 2 specification and not Euro 5 like the ones sold in Thailand.
Transmission choices for the D-Max are a standard five-speed manual and a new five-speed automatic that has a sequential shift feature, making manual gear-shifting possible.
True to its workhorse heritage, Isuzu's newest pickup truck has a heavy-duty chassis and a large cargo bed to "accommodate the bulkiest of loads." Its body structure, made from high-tensile-strength steel, is also more rigid than its predecessor's. And with the new independent double-wishbone front and semi-elliptical leaf-spring rear suspensions, the new D-Max is capable of transporting heavy payload while simultaneously enhancing its driving performance and stability.
The new D-Max, according to Isuzu Philippines, has one of the highest ground clearances among its competitors with a 235mm height for the LS 4x4 and 225mm for the LT 4x4 and the LS 4x2. Boosting the off-road capabilities of the pickup even further is Isuzu's new 4WD Terrain Command Select dial, which allows the driver to switch from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive even while traveling at speeds of up to 100kph with only a twist of a knob. This D-Max also has a 30-degree approach and 22.7-degree departure angles, and it can also be supposedly tilted sideways on a 49-degree slope. All 4WD variants are equipped with a limited slip differential.
New features include the brake assist system to complement the antilock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution; integrated LED turn signals in the side mirrors; jewel-like LED combination taillamps; six-way power-adjustable driver's seat; 15 storage compartments; 10 cupholders; and a six-way speaker system that includes a first-in-class ceiling-mounted "exciter speakers."
The new D-Max is available in five colors: Cosmic Black, Garnet Red, Ash Beige, Titanium Silver and Splash White, with prices starting at P697,000 for the single-cab 4x2 variant; P857,000 for the LT 4x2 (MT); P1.144 million for the LS 4x2 (MT); P1.153 million for the LT 4x4 (MT); P1.196 million for the LS 4x2 (AT); P1.398 million for the LS 4x4 (MT); and P1.457 million for the LS 4x4 (AT).
"Isuzu Philippines is optimistic over the prospects of the new D-Max pickup," said IPC president Nobuo Izumina. "Its arrival not only means that the Filipino market will get a product that adheres to global standards of excellence, but also that the vehicle will contribute to the growth of the Philippine automotive manufacturing sector."
The new Isuzu D-Max is now officially on sale at all authorized Isuzu dealerships across the country. IPC will also hold mall tours, starting with Glorietta in Makati on September 19, Market! Market! in Taguig on September 20, Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa on September 21, and Trinoma in Quezon City on September 22.