Having already been spotted on a trailer last week, the latest third-generation Isuzu D-Max will be launched in Malaysia at the end of the month, it’s been confirmed. The third-generation pick-up is now open for booking, with Isuzu Malaysia releasing a teaser image of a new X-Terrain trim level.

The company has also announced estimated pricing, which ranges from RM89,000 to RM145,000, subject to government approval. That’s quite a hike from the outgoing model – which was one of the cheaper trucks in the segment – and means it will now go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger at the sharp end of the class.

But at least it will come to battle fully equipped. Built on the new Isuzu Dynamic Drive Platform, the new D-Max is said to be stiffer and lighter in its construction, while the suspension, steering and brakes have been upgraded to make it more comfortable and better to drive. The engine has also been positioned further behind the front axle to improve the weight distribution.

Speaking of which, power comes from the same 1.9 litre and 3.0 litre turbodiesels. The former, which was only introduced in Malaysia in 2019, makes the same 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque, while the larger mill has been thoroughly improved and now churns out 190 PS and 450 Nm – increases of 13 PS and 70 Nm over the old unit. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes are offered.

Complementing the significant mechanical overhaul is the redesigned exterior, now much more aggressive with a massive front grille, slimmer trapezoidal headlights with optional bi-LED technology, a wind tunnel-tested aerodynamic body, twin-barrel taillights and an integrated rear bumper on certain models.

Inside, there’s a more fashionable angular dashboard with a hexagonal centre stack, available soft-touch materials with real stitching and a large nine-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The seats have also been redesigned to be more comfortable and are optionally offered with power adjustment for the driver. A longer wheelbase also allows for a roomier cabin and a longer bed.

Isuzu Malaysia says that the D-Max will be available with a suite of driver assistance features on selected variants, which would put Malaysia in a distinct advantage compared to Thailand. Currently, models sold in Australia and the United Kingdom come with autonomous emergency braking with oncoming vehicle detection at intersections, adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and automatic high beam. As yet, it is unclear if we’ll get all these systems.

GALLERY: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross 3.0 Ddi at 2019 Thai Motor Expo