2020 Isuzu D-Max pickup debuts in Thailand

2020 Isuzu D-Max pickup debuts in Thailand

One of the country’s most popular workhorses gets redesigned with a bigger body.

It isn’t co-developed with GM anymore, right?

After being on the market for some seven years in second-generation form, the Isuzu D-Max has been redesigned with a new body, overhauled interior and improved engine.

One of the country’s most popular workhorses now gets a bigger and stronger body to compete with the likes of the Toyota Hilux Revo, the archrival of the D-Max in terms of sales.

The new D-Max has grown slightly in size with the most notable increase being the 3,125mm wheelbase length, which is 30mm longer than before. Isuzu says the body is 23% more rigid, too. Like before, body styles include standard, extra and double cab. The latter two also have high-riding bodies to choose from.

The interior design has been overhauled more than the exterior and includes a new central touchscreen, more luxurious trim and an array of convenience items depending on model.

Isuzu’s latest mid-size pickup isn’t co-developed with General Motors anymore for the Chevrolet Colorado sibling. Instead, the new D-Max will share its underpinnings with the next-generation Mazda BT-50.

Which engine has been improved?

The 3.0-litre diesel-turbo of the outgoing generation sees its power rising from 177hp to 190hp achieved at the same 3,600rpm. Torque also rises from 380Nm to 450N but is now attained at a more usable 1,600-2,600rpm (the previous range was 1,800-2,800rpm). 

This 4JJ3-TCX unit is an evolution of the preceding 4JJ1-TCX and is the second most powerful motor in the Thai pickup market after the Ford Ranger’s 213hp 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel.

A smaller diesel-turbo remains in the lineup for buyers needing a lower price point and better fuel economy. The RZ4E-TC 2.0-litre produces the same 150hp at 3,600rpm and 350Nm between 1,800-2,600rpm. 

Transmission choices include six-speed manual and automatic with the usual 4x4 system available in high-end models. While most rivals also use six-speeders, the Ranger stands out with a 10-speed auto.

Depending on body style and drive system in the D-Max, the 2.0 has a fuel economy rating of over 15kpl; the 3.0 has a circa-13kpl figure.

Top models feature six airbags and driving aids like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Dual airbags are standard across the range costing anywhere between 510,000 baht to 1.157 million baht (the old range was 518,000 baht to 1.02 million baht).

And how different will the BT-50 be?

People at Mazda have been very open about this by suggesting that the new BT-50 will be distinguished from the D-Max in the same vein as how it was differentiated from the Ford Ranger, the partner model of the current generation.

This means that the next BT-50, due 2020, will share the same platform, body structure, engines, transmissions and electrical architecture with the D-Max. Differentiation comes from the exterior and interior design, specs and prices.

With the exception of the MG Extender, most models in the Thai pickup market have passed mid-life in their current generations. They include the Colorado, Ranger, Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara NP300.

The next step for Isuzu will be to develop a successor for the MU-X pickup-based SUV rivalling the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Nissan Terra and Toyota Fortuner. 

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