We have a new addition to the recent launch of new pick-up trucks this year – The Isuzu D-MAX. Isuzu in Malaysia has always been focused on heavy trucks and pickups mostly with diesel engine. Their presence is represented here with their Trooper and Citation trucks and Rodeo pickups. Their diesel expertise is acknowledge, with Honda asking them to give input into the award winning i-CTDi engine. Earlier diesel Hondas also used Isuzu oil burners.

The D-MAX comes with a 3.0-litre direct-injection intercooler turbodiesel engine which produces 294 Nm of torque at 2000 rpm for the automatic version and 280 Nm of torque for the manual version. The engine makes 130 ps of power at 3800 rpm. Slightly less powerful than the Nissan Frontier which currently is the most powerful pick-up in it’s class, even though the Frontier’s engine is a 2.5 litre.

The car comes in both automatic and manual 4×4 and automatic only 4×2 transmissions. The availability of an automatic 4×2 would come in handy for those who won’t take their D-MAX out of the urban jungle.

Switching from 2H to 4H to 4L in the D-MAX is done through buttons on the dashboard instead of a stick shift like pickups normally have. Changing from 2H to 4H can be operated at speeds less than 100km/h but to switch to 4L the car has to be stopped. This is similiar to luxury 4×4 vehicles like the Ssangyong Rexton 4X4.

The D-MAX has a nice cabin interior similiar to sedans. Looks pretty comfy although I have not sit in one myself.

Other features are ABS, EBD, an LSD differential, and dual airbags for the automatic 4×4 and 4×2 versions and optional for the manual 4X4. The D-MAX can be driven laterally on slopes upto 49 degrees. The car comes with 16 inch alloy rims with 245/70/R16 tyres.

Isuzu Malaysia plans on pricing the D-MAX from RM85,000.80. The D-MAX owns a big share of the market in Thailand, battling out the pickup wars there against the Toyota Hilux. There’s potential for it to be a big thing here in the Malaysian market too.

I wonder where’s Mitsubishi gone to. Their Storm/L200 is the same model from years ago.And Honda’s SUT is targetted at the US market. It would be sweet to have a i-CTDi Honda SUT here in Malaysia.