Isuzu Malaysia has finally launched the D-Max in Malaysia, nearly two weeks after releasing the full details of the third-generation pick-up truck. There will be seven variants on offer, priced between RM89k to RM142k. All of them are fully imported from Thailand, but there are plans for local assembly down the line.

The range starts with the 1.9L 4×4 Single Cab model at RM88,599, above which is the 3.0L 4×4 Single Cab that’s priced at RM95,538. Twin cab models start from the 1.9L 4×4 MT Standard (RM99,599), and further up are the 1.9L 4×4 AT Standard (RM106,999), 1.9L 4×4 AT Premium (RM121,549) and 3.0L 4×4 AT Premium (RM128,038). All six variants listed here get a five-year or 150,000 km warranty coverage as standard.

Sitting at the top of the range is the 3.0L 4×4 AT X-Terrain. At RM141,938, it’s exclusively available with the larger 3.0 litre mill, and takes on the new Nissan Navara Pro-4X, Toyota Hilux 2.8 Rogue AT, Mitsubishi Triton Athlete, and the one that started this feud – the Ford Ranger Wildtrak. It’s the only D-Max variant to get a seven-year unlimited mileage warranty coverage, and it can only be had in Valencia Orange or Sapphire Blue.

In terms of powertrain, the existing RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre common-rail four-cylinder diesel engine (with variable geometry turbo) has been refined further and offers better throttle response. Outputs are unchanged, at 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque.

The 3.0 litre engine received even bigger upgrades, courtesy of a new engine head and turbocharger, just to name a few. The 4JJ3 mill produces 190 PS and 450 Nm of torque, representing a 13 PS and 70 Nm increase over the older 4JJ1 3.0L unit.

On paper, the 3.0L mill’s output may appear to be lagging behind the competition, but Isuzu typically “downtunes” the engine in favour of reliability. After all, durability is key to its customer base, plus both the 1.9L and 3.0L engines can take up to B20 biodiesel. Also new are the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions (both tweaked to provide smoother gearshifts), as well as a shift-by-wire 4×4 selector dial.

Just to recap, the new D-Max rides on Isuzu’s new Dynamic Drive Platform (still a body-on-frame construction), offering better structural rigidity, crash protection, driving stability and the reduction of NVH levels. The intake system has been raised, thus increasing wading depth from 600 mm to 800 mm.

Other areas of improvement include a 30 mm increase in wheelbase, revised rear door apertures that open wider for better ingress and egress, a 20 mm increase in rear shoulder space, and a seatback angle of 24 degrees. The brakes are larger (320 mm x 30 mm rotors), and the suspension geometry has been tweaked as well.

It also features a more wedge-shaped profile for improved aerodynamics, a larger underbody cover that reduces turbulence, cleaner body lines for smoother air flow, and taller cargo side walls with a slightly redesigned cargo bay.

Those who plan to take it off road will be glad to know that the front underbody section is protected with a 1.5 mm-thick steel skid plate, plus an additional 6 mm steel sump guard for the engine and gearbox. There’s also a 5 mm resin wind deflector on top of that, and the ground clearance is 240 mm (models equipped with 18-inch wheels only).

You may check out our previous report which detailed all seven variants and their respective equipment levels. Alternatively, you can also browse CarBase.my for a more comprehensive look at the specifications, or compare the D-Max against other pick-up trucks.

GALLERY: 2021 Isuzu D-Max 3.0L 4×4 AT X-Terrain