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        Isuzu D-Max Review

        Aditya Chatterjee

        Aditya Chatterjee


        Isuzu D-Max Review

        They have officially entered India now but their presence has been in the country for many years. Be it powering the iconic muscle car of India, Hindustan Motors Contessa or engines for SML LCV trucks, Isuzu has been a reputed name in diesel engines not just locally but globally as well.

        cCOVER PIC

        The company forecasts that by 2023, the pickup truck industry in India will be the largest in the world. With the D-Max, the company plans to bring in a fresh approach in a segment which has been dominated by Mahindra and Tata Motors. Banking on durability and reliability, Isuzu D-Max wants the industry to have more options.

        With the entry of Isuzu, competition will get a level higher since it is the only foreign manufacturer to venture in the pickup truck scene. We were in Chennai to drive one and here is our report.


        Appearance Exterior

        Isuzu offers D Max in three different options. Two of them are strictly for commercial purpose while the space cab arched deck is aimed at lifestyle consumers. This one does not look as sporty and racy as its counterpart sold in Australia. It has its macho elements but still looks functional unless you are willing to spend more.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 18

        It has a straight cut design. Gets chrome finish on the toothed radiator grille. It has body coloured bumpers and provisions for fog lamp housing. Short hood also features an air intake scoop. Side mirrors have chrome too. These mirrors cannot be adjusted from inside but externally. An internal adjustment setting is in the pipeline and will feature soon.

        Dimensionally, it is smaller than the Tata Xenon and the Mahindra Scorpio Getaway. It has a length of 5030mm out of which 1920mm is occupied by the loading area. Door handles in the premium version are treated with chrome. It has flared wheel arches to make it look strong and muscular. There is a decent size glass support immediately after the driver’s window merely for ventilation purpose. From side, the vehicle looks much in proportion. Even the 215/ 70R15 tyres look proportionate to the overall dimension. It also gets remote controlled fuel lid opener placed on the rear wheel arch.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 10

        The Japanese are known for their seriousness in design. Take the cargo loading area for instance. The build quality is top notch. All the welding spots are very well finished and nothing jets out as seen on a locally made pickup. Not just on the arched deck, the same can be seen on the flat deck models too.

        The last bit of chrome can be seen on the handle to open the rear cargo gate whereas on the other variants, the gate is locked with the help of latches. Proportional tail lamps paired with a simple design, the rear too looks very balanced. Spare tyre is fitted below the cargo section.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 14


        Appearance Interior

        Things look minimalistic and simple inside the cabin of D max. Every button and knob is built for a purpose. You won’t find flowing lines and pampering trims inside a vehicle like this. Instead, you will find only the bare necessities to make sure your work gets done.

        Isuzu D Max Images 28

        While other manufacturers strictly go by my above stand, Isuzu wanted to bring in a slight change. They wanted to make sure the quality of interiors doesn’t feel compromising. The plastics and the fit and finish of the basic trims are superb. Even though, it is priced lower than competition but then the D max offers value for money in the true sense.

        The steering wheel is the same for all three variants but the one on this fully loaded arch deck comes with a better support which feels nice to grip. On the dashboard, it gets four basic vents with a four speed manual Air-Conditioner. Considering the passenger area is too less, the unit does a decent job of cooling the cabin. On the other two variants, Isuzu just provides vents but not AC saving in costs again. One can however fit an AC because the mechanical arrangement to do it is present in them.

        Isuzu D Max Images 6

        There is a space of 1.5 Ft after the first row to keep bags and other personal items. If you happen to be a professional photographer, you can keep your camera bag and related accessories in the rear section and park tripods and other stands in the cargo deck.

        Instrumentation is simple as well with the speedometer and odometer which only features in this variant. In addition, you can only see the odo and trip readings. It gets fabric trims on door panel’s to make it feel premium compared to the other two variants.

        Isuzu D Max Images 2

        Seats are just two and so it is just you and your co-driver along the way. The space behind is not enough to do any sort of retro fitting for extra seats. The cabin feels roomy and the seats offer sufficient travel. The fabric seats are reasonably comfortable. There are multiple cup holders and bottle containers on the central area as well as on door trims. These pickups can legally carry 1.2 tonnes of load but then often it is seen how operators flout the official limit by hauling twice the legal limit.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 17


        Performance Drive

        Generally, pickup trucks are not known for exciting performance because their main purpose is to haul goods for commercial purpose. The D Max comes in three different variants with one being for the lifestyle and the other two purely for commercial but the engine train and suspensions are same for all versions.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 21

        It has a four cylinder 2.5L CRDi engine which produces 134Hp of power and 294Nm of torque. At idling speeds, the diesel engine is sufficiently noisy. But the same reduces as the engine picks up speed. It has a typical flat torque engine with variable geometry thus higher torque is available at lower engine speeds. First and second gears are too short but then at third, the engine starts revving freely.

        There is no lag felt even on first gear as the engine revs upto 4000 rpm before cutting off to second gear. The second gear does not deliver enough until it is on the third. Being a 2.5L, the throttle didn’t mind being pushed for long which was impressive. The arched deck that we were driving was not loaded. It is essentially a pickup truck but the bulk is not felt post at third gear and after that as the engine keeps climbing greater speeds with equal ease. It reaches 100kmph at third gear itself and keeps pulling on fourth as well before finally giving up on the momentum but then just maintains it. We reached a max speed of 178Kmph.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 3

        Dimensionally, it is smaller than the Mahindra Scorpio Getaway and Tata Xenon XT. The cabin feels placed at a lower height than the other two. This given an advantage as the resistance to oppose air flow is lesser. Even at speeds above 140kmph, it felt extremely stable and confident. It gets disc brakes on the front and drum on the rear. The company officially offers an option of Dunlop and Bridgestone tyres.

        We tried both and the Bridgestones performed marginally better since they held on to corners tightly without losing traction. The suspension setup is coil spring type for the front and heavy duty semi elliptical leaf spring for the rear. The rear cargo space is designed to take 1.2 tonnes payload. However, the leaf spring looks strong enough to take in more and it is bound to happen in India where many tend to overload it flouting official guidelines.

        Isuzu D Max Images 21

        It claims to deliver an ARAI approved 13.26kmpl which means on a tank full it can approximately travel from Bangalore to Mumbai in one full tank.


        Tech Specs

        Technical Specifications
         Make Isuzu
         Model D-Max
        Variant Space Cab Arched Deck
        Engine Capacity 4 cylinder, Common Rail, Turbo-charged Intercooled Diesel Engine
        Power in PS/RPM 136 / 3600
        Torque in Nm/RPM 294 / 3200
        Gears 5 /M
        Length mm 5030
        Width mm 1720 
        Height mm 1665
        Wheel base mm 3050
        Kerb Weight in Kg 1650
        Ground clearance mm 190
        Fuel tank capacity L 76
        Tyre Spec 215/ 70R15
        Fuel Effeciency 13.26 Kmpl
        Fuel Diesel


        Features Space Cab Arched Deck
        15 Inch Steel Wheel Yes
        Tiltable Power Steering Yes
        Power Window - One Touch - Down for Driverside Yes
        Separate Adjustable Headrest Yes
        Centralised Door Lock Yes
        Air Conditioning with Heater Yes
        Fabric Seats Yes
        Fabric Carpet Yes
        Central Cargo Box Handle Yes
        2 Speakers with Audio Pre-wiring Yes
        Front Door Pocket with Cup Holder Yes
        Day-night Rear View Mirror Yes
        Chrome Finish Outer Mirrors Yes
        Driver Foot Rest (Dead Pedal) Yes
        Special Engine Cover Yes
        Ash Tray with Cigar Lighter Yes
        12 Volt Mobile Phone Charging Point Yes
        Engine Tachometer Yes
        Green Tinted Glass Yes
        Front Seat Slide + Recline Yes
        Remote Fuel Lid Opener Yes
        Body Color Front Bumper Yes
        Special Multireflector Rear Lamp Yes
        Driver + Passenger Sunvisors Yes
        Chrome Finish Radiator Grille Yes
        Sporty Power Bulge on Bonnet Yes
        Dual-tone Horn Yes
        2 Cup-Holders (FR+RR Console) Yes

        Competition All Specs

        Scorpio Getaway
        Variant Space Cab Arched Deck EX 4x2 2WD
        Engine Capacity 4 cylinder, Common Rail, Turbo-charged Intercooled Diesel Engine 2.2 L 16 DOHC VTT DICOR CRDe
        Power in PS/RPM 136 / 3600 140 / 4000 115 / 3800
        Torque in Nm/RPM 294 / 3200 320 / 1750 277 / 1700
        Gears 5 /M 5 /M 5 /M
        Length mm 5030 5152 5118
        Width mm 1720  1860 1874
        Height mm 1665 1833 1850
        Wheel base mm 3050 3150 3040
        Kerb Weight in Kg 1650 1900 2550
        Ground clearance mm 190 200 180
        Fuel tank capacity L 76 65 80
        Tyre Spec 215/ 70R15 215 / 75 R16 245 / 75 R16
        Fuel Effeciency 13.26 Kmpl 13.49 Kmpl NA
        ABS No Yes No
        Traction Control System No No No
        Brake Assist No No No
        Cruise Control No No No
        Air Conditioner Manual Manual Manual
        Power Steering Yes Yes Yes
        Power Windows Front Front Front & Rear
        Steering Adjustment Tilt Tilt Tilt
        Leather Seats No No No


        There was a reason why we flew down to Chennai to drive the D-Max and it is the need of a CV driving licence. This can come across a hurdle even though it saves on costs for all lifestyle buyers venturing out to buy one. The company justifies the lower pricing of the D-Max compared to others by stating it is a Built-for-a-purpose pickup.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 13

        But the twist in the tale is that the company is not only targeting its own segment of pickup trucks like the Mahindra Bolero and Tata Xenon but also small commercial vehicles like the Tata ACE and Mahindra Dost. They want the users of such vehicles to upgrade to D Max and eye bigger commercial opportunities. They have already started working on its own production facility in Andhra Pradesh, which will be fully functional by 2016. At present, they have 10 dealers spread across the country but in two years this number is set to reach 60 dealers covering metros as well as Tier 2 Tier 3 cities.

        Thus, if you have a farmhouse at the outskirts of the city and are looking for a rugged workhorse to transport your ATV or dirtbike, we recommend you getting the Isuzu D-Max for its amazing build quality with an equally impressive performance.

        Isuzu D Max Photos 7