Isuzu South Africa has emerged from the pandemic with a bold new range of vehicles to service the needs of South Africans. With bakkies and SUVs being top of the list, the mu-X and new D Max are hot property at the moment. We review the mid-tier 1.9 manual double cab machine from the SA vehicle maker.
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Much of the world and its operations were severely disrupted by the global pandemic, one of these was the local Isuzu manufacturing plant. This meant that although the vehicle was released earlier this year we have had to wait quite a while for these to finally make their way to dealerships and the local press rotation.
We did get a sampling of what to expect before the official launch when the Mazda BT-50 was released. The BT-50 shares much of its underpinnings engines and interior trim with the Isuzu and sadly the BT-50 did not rate highly so we had high hopes that Isuzu would have taken note and fixed many of the issues that had been highlighted. Our press unit finally arrived and we were quite surprised but not for the reasons you may think.
The D-Max is an attractive vehicle. It doesn’t look soft and still has an edge about it. Unfortunately, the overall condition of our test unit left us wondering what on earth these poor vehicles had been put through. The vehicle was showing all 18 850km evident on the odometer but despite being a tad scrappy it still managed to look quite svelte. Angular headlights and a prominent grille with a set of aggressive fog lights give the front end a commanding appearance. A set of 18-inch alloy wheels set off the side profile and a tonneau cover neatens up the load bay.
The whole package comes together with the bright red paintwork, that although scratched up, looked good in direct sunlight. It’s a good-looking vehicle that fits perfectly into a South African lifestyle.
New vs Used Isuzu D-Max: What are the top 3 differences?
Space & Interior
The interior of the D-Max is smartly appointed with contoured cloth seats that are manually adjustable. The dash, doorcard touch surfaces, and steering wheel are all covered in soft plush leather with all the switch gear feeling very high quality. Some of the plastics feel a bit scratchy but as a whole, the package is nice enough and well-paired to the rest of the interior.
Everything you need to know about the Isuzu D-Max
Comfort & Convenience
The dash has been given a straight horizontal design dominated by the infotainment system. The 7″ touchscreen is Apple Car Play and Android Audio capable and audio streaming ready, there are a number of USB ports and 12V outlets close to the manual air-con controls.
The integrated steering wheel controls keep the driver’s hands busy and piano black trim ties everything together.
This model is powered by a 1.9 4-cylinder turbo diesel that punches out 110kW and 350Nm and despite it sounding a little agricultural works a treat. A 6 speed manual transmission sends drive to the rear wheels making this a 4×2. The drive is quite peppy once the turbo lag dissipates and the engine comes onto song.
Our combined cycle test returned a very acceptable 8.8l /100km
The D-Max is also rather safe. The standard alphabet soup of ABS, EBA, and TSC keeps the vehicle planted while hill descent control keeps control of the drive on steep declines. The D-Max gets two airbags at the front and ISOfix in eth rear for the young ones.
The D-Max is rather well priced and stacks up well against its competitors
Isuzu D-Max 1.9TD double cab LS manual R 498 900
What is covered under Isuzu KB manufacturer car warranty?
The usual suspects make an appearance here, Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50, and GWM P-Series all fall into the category
Setting aside the condition of the press unit, we can say that the Isuzu is built Africa tough and will continue to be one of the best workhorse type bakkies in SA that could easily reach very high mileage. The ride is comfortable enough, the interior trimmings are sufficient and the engine is rock solid. It is well priced for what you are getting and these will service any fleet well for years to come.
Lawrence MinnieLawrence has been involved with motorsports for almost 30 years. Whether it's two wheels or four, if it has an engine, he will try to race it. This love of motor vehicles has led him to ride, drive, film, photograph, and write about his passion. Freelance for a while but now a permanent fixture on the AutoTrader team for over 7 years, Lawrence contributes written, photographic, and video content for AutoTrader and AutoTrader Bikes.View News & Reviews