FIRST DRIVE | 2018 Isuzu D-Max

An electronically operated two-speed transmission with low range gearing combines with newer assistance systems such as hill descent control.

Driving the updated bakkies in 3.0TD double-cab form on an assortment of roads at this week’s media launch in Mpumalanga, the vehicles showed significant improvement in the driving department. The feel of the ride remains stiff — as expected of a workhorse — but Isuzu has improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels. The mechanical and agricultural noises of the engine are further kept away from the cabin, adding a touch of refinement to the experience.

The entire D-Max range gets ABS brakes and a brake override system as standard fitment. The latter system restricts accelerator input if the brake pedal is applied simultaneously, thereby reducing stopping distances in an emergency.

Further standard equipment is hill-start assist, hill-descent control, electronic stability control with traction control and trailer-sway control.

Hi-Rider and LE models can be specified with an optional tow-bar package for a braked trailer up to a maximum load of 2.1 tonnes, while 3.0l 4×4 LX derivatives are rated to haul 3.5 tonnes. Isuzu has also partnered with 4×4 Mega World to offer overland accessories.

The Dropside Base models are available in 2.5l LEED Base or Fleetside specification, and powered by the unchanged 2.5l turbodiesel engine with 58kW and 176Nm. There is also the option of the higher-spec 2.5l HO Fleetside Safety model utilising a higher-output 100kW and 320Nm turbodiesel.

Extended cab models remain and come in 2.5l Hi-Rider; two 3.0 LX models with a choice of either of the new transmissions, as well as a 3.0l 4×4 LX spec manual. A new 2.5l HO Base model aimed more for commercial purposes joins the double-cab range.

Isuzu’s standard Complete Care after-sales service is a five-year/120,000km warranty and roadside assistance. In addition, a five-year/90,000km service plan is included in the price, with service intervals scheduled every 15,000km or annually, whichever comes first.

Through Isuzu Mobility, customers have the option of extending the standard service plan up to six years or 200,000km, or the service plan can be upgraded to a full maintenance plan that covers planned and unplanned maintenance up to six years/ 200,000km.

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