After four long years of waiting, the Isuzu D-Max finally receives the latest-generation 1.9 litre Ddi BluePower turbodiesel engine in Malaysia. The introduction of the new oil burner coincides with a second facelift for the long-serving second-generation pick-up truck, which was first seen in Thailand in 2017.

The revised lineup consists of two single cab variants and a whopping nine double cab models, including a new high-spec double cab 4×2 automatic for urbanites who don’t need all four driven wheels. The 4×4 single cab models consists of the RM85,799 1.9 litre manual and the RM92,838 3.0 litre manual, while the 1.9 litre double cab range starts at RM80,149 for the new 4×2 Low-Ride manual, aimed at commercial buyers.

Meanwhile, the 4×2 Hi-Ride manual is priced at RM86,699, while the aforementioned high-spec 4×2 auto model, the 4×2 Hi-Ride auto, costs RM100,049. As for the 4×4 models, the 4×4 Type B retails at RM96,699 for the manual version and RM104,599 for the auto, and the 1.9 litre range tops out with the 4×4 Premium, priced at RM105,999 for the manual and RM115,799 for the auto.

The other two variants are 3.0 litre double cab models, with the 4×4 Type B manual priced at RM106,738 and the range-topping 4×4 Premium auto at RM120,838. All prices are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year/150,000 km warranty. Orders made before October 31 will add a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and an eight-year/80,000 km (six-year/60,000 km for single cab) free maintenance package.

The star of the show is the new RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre common-rail four-cylinder diesel engine with variable geometry turbocharging, replacing the old 4JK1-TCX 2.5 litre unit. Isuzu promises lower fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, along with improved performance and refinement and even greater durability.

Outputs are rated at 150 PS at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 2,600 rpm, increases of 10% and 9% respectively over the 136 PS and 320 Nm of the old engine. Despite this, Isuzu claims a 19% improvement in fuel efficiency, with a combined consumption figure of eight litres per 100 km.

The company says it has spent a total of 3,500 hours bench-testing the oil burner to cope with both our lower-quality Euro 2M diesel as well as B20 biodiesel, the latter as part of an incoming government mandate. The addition of a pre-fuel filter – included as part of the maintenance schedule – will allow the use of Euro 2M fuel, while a simple hardware fix is promised when B20 biodiesel rolls around, currently set for 2020.

Local high-altitude testing was also conducted in Genting and Cameron Highlands, Kundasang and Tambunan, in order to ensure the engine can cope with our hillier terrain, as opposed to the relatively flatter Thailand where it was developed.

To go with the new engine, there are new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, with a wider ratio spread and a tweaked final ratio for improved drivability, particularly when towing. The returning 4JJ1-TCX 3.0 litre turbodiesel makes the same 177 PS at 3,600 rpm and 380 Nm at 1,800 to 2,800 rpm, still paired to five-speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

The exterior tweaks are minor here compared to the first facelift in 2016, all of them clustered at the front of the car. There’s a new design for the grille that now stretches into the headlights, which are available with bi-LED technology for the first time. On these units, the LED daytime running lights are also now L-shaped, while the fog light surrounds feature thicker chrome trim.

You’ll also find a new 12-spoke design for the largest 18-inch alloy wheels and huge “1.9 BluePower” and “3.0 BluePower” decals along the sides and rear. New exterior colour options include Red Spinel Mica and Sapphire Blue Mica. Inside, higher-end models get soft-touch materials on the instrument cluster hood, upper glovebox cover and door armrests, along with semi-gloss black trim and a rear USB port.

Standard equipment on the single cab models include an unpainted black front bumpers, halogen headlights, black power-adjustable door mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels, power windows, central locking and a single-DIN radio/CD player with USB connectivity and two speakers. The double cab 4×2 Low-Ride adds a body-coloured front bumper and door mirrors and 15-inch alloys.

Moving onwards, the 4×2 Hi-Ride manual and the 4×4 Type B models (1.9 litre MT/AT and 3.0 litre AT) gain a black rear bumper, 16-inch alloys, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an alarm and immobiliser and a double-din head unit with Bluetooth and four speakers.

Stepping up to the 4×2 Hi-Ride auto nets you the bi-LED headlights, fog lights, LED tail lights, 18-inch alloys, chrome door mirrors and rear bumper, keyless entry, push-button start, a multifunction steering wheel, a multi-info display, soft-touch interior panels and single-zone auto climate control.

Also fitted are front and rear USB charging ports and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with eight speakers and a reverse camera. Not much separates this variant from the Premium models, with the latter only adding an Android-based navigation system with smartphone screen mirroring and new part-leather upholstery.

Safety-wise, the D-Max now gets hill descent control, joining the standard kit list that includes dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist and ISOFIX rear child seat anchors. The 3.0 litre 4×4 Premium auto adds six airbags, meaning that for the first time, all of the mainstream one-tonne pick-ups in Malaysia can now be had with six airbags or more.

Isuzu is also offering a range of optional accessories, including a RM700 cargo tray, a RM1,320 sports bar, RM1,000 side steps (already found on the Premium models), a RM5,500 “D-Box”, a RM1,390 front bumper guard, RM1,090 matte black wheel arch extensions and RM2,280 premium security tint. The company has also developed a tailgate damper to make it easier to open and close the tailgate, priced at RM650.

Read our review of the 2019 Isuzu D-Max with the 1.9 Ddi engine here, and you can also browse full specifications and equipment on CarBase.my.


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