Isuzu Philippines Corporation is reaching new heights with the introduction of the all-new 2021 D-MAX. Its first full-on model change for the better part of eight years, the D-MAX is the crowning jewel of Isuzu’s century of experience in producing world-class commercial vehicles, and comes packing class-leading features to ensure its leadership in the pickup truck segment.
Underneath, the all-new D-MAX features a bigger, stronger platform that uses ultra-high tensile steel in its construction for the very first time. Coupled with a 16 percent increase in the use of high-strength steel (30 to 46 percent), it has 23 percent higher rigidity than the previous model. The lightweight frame also features expanded cross sections for improved impact absorption, and a shear mount (in place of the body mount) for improved driving stability and NVH.
The D-MAX may employ the traditional front independent double wishbone and rear semi-elliptic leaf spring set up, but the front uses high-mounted suspension arms with upper links, while the back has a wider tread, longer span, and reduced mounting angle for enhanced overall stability. The hydraulic power steering’s gear ratio has been revised to reduce steering effort, while also minimizing its turning radius to 6.25 meters.
Powering the all-new D-MAX is a brand-new 4JJ3-TCX engine. Using high-pressure direct injection and electronically-controlled variable geometry turbocharger, it yields 190 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. Meanwhile, the 1.9-liter RZ4E moves to its second-generation application. While outputs remain more or less the same: 150 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque at 1,800 to 2,600 rpm—it accelerates faster thanks to optimized control systems.
The transmission options remain a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. For the RZ4E-equipped models, the automatic gearbox has a downsized torque converter and lockup clutch with a wide-angle damper for improved response and fuel economy. For four-wheel drive models, the propeller shaft is now made of aluminum, with a new electromagnetic rear differential lock that enhances traction while reducing the time to switch between 2- and 4-wheel drive modes. The D-MAX now joins the 800-mm water wading club while gaining an impressive 240 mm of ground clearance.
Outside, the D-MAX’s angular and wedge-shaped body constitutes a more powerful presence. Bi-LED headlights with daytime running lights are available as are LED taillights. Furthermore, the step bumper is fully integrated into the rear bumper for a more sophisticated look. Setting the lifestyle-oriented LS-E and LS-A variants apart, they come with gun metallic accents on the grille and door handles, and 18-inch matte dark gray wheels on 265/60R18 all-terrain tires.
Inside, the D-MAX features an upscaled cabin with highly-textured surfaces for a sportier, more premium look. The driver is treated to an electroluminescent display with a 4.2-inch multi-information display, while passengers will revel in the 10.1-inch full touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top-of-the-line 4×4 LS-E AT even has a class-unique ceiling-mounted speaker system for a total of eight speakers—the most among pickup trucks. Other convenience features include a push-button engine start/stop with remote smart function, dual zone climate control with rear air vents, automatic headlamps, and rain-sensing wipers.
The 2021 D-MAX also features low-rebound MDI polyurethane material for the seats (covered in brown leather for the LS-E) to reduce fatigue during long drives while employing an 8-way power adjust and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel for the driver. The rear seats have also been improved for greater comfort along with easier ingress/egress thanks to B-pillar mounted assist grips and larger door openings.
In terms of safety, the D-MAX, particularly the top-of-the-line 4×4 LS-E AT is the first Isuzu model to debut an Advanced Driver Assist System or ADAS. Using the Smart Duo Cam system—a pair of stereoscopic cameras mounted on the inside of the windshield, it gains features such as Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Turn Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Automatic High Beam Assist.
The LS-E, along with the LS and LS-A also gain standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Apart from ADAS, the D-MAX also has up to 7 airbags as standard, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, hill start assist, hill descent control, and even parking sensors (front and rear for the LS-E) with a rearview camera.
The all-new Isuzu D-MAX is available in a wide array of colors (depending on variant): Splash White, Galena Gray, Sapphire Blue, Red Spinel, Mercury Silver, Onyx Black, and its trademark color, Valencia Orange. It comes in nine variants with the following suggested retail prices:
D-MAX RZ4E 4×2 Single Cab MT P 857,000
D-MAX RZ4E 4×2 LT MT P 987,000
D-MAX 3.0 4×4 LT MT P 1,288,000
D-MAX RZ4E 4×2 LS MT P 1,219,000
D-MAX RZ4E 4×2 LS AT P 1,309,000
D-MAX 3.0 4×2 LS MT P 1,320,000
D-MAX 3.0 4×2 LS-A AT P 1,390,000
D-MAX 3.0 4×4 LS MT P 1,630,000
D-MAX 3.0 4×4 LS-E AT P 1,825,000