The name Isuzu is just about the most visible of any vehicles on Australian roads. No
messing around with subtle badging, just the letters I-S-U-Z-U emblazoned across the
front of all their vehicles whether they be trucks, utes or SUVs.
And there are plenty of them out there. Isuzu has been Australia’s top-selling truck for a
staggering 33 years while sales of this week’s review, the D-MAX ute, and its SUV MU-X
sibling are enjoying spectacular growth with total 2021 sales up by just over 60 per cent
from the previous year.
Since 2008 the D-MAX has been imported and distributed by the Queensland-based
company, Isuzu UTE Australia (IUA) with the MU-X being added in 2013. However, they
were no strangers to the Australian market with the D-MAX ute being sold here for many
years as the Holden Rodeo and the MU-X wagon as the Holden Jackaroo.
The latest D-MAX upgrade arrived in December 2021 with price increases offset by a
range of additional equipment and technology as well as six new variants bringing the total
number up to 23 models.
Body styles, as before, are cab chassis and utility with five specification levels: SX, LS-M,
LS-U, LS-U+ and X-Terrain. Depending on the variant, there are single, extended (Space
Cab) and dual (Club Cab) cabins.
Prices range from $31,200 for the entry-level SX Single Cab cab chassis to $65,900 for
the range topping X-Terrain Club Cab ute. On-road costs need to be added.
There’s not a great deal of scope for automotive stylists with utes. Most of their attention is
directed at the front where they can make points of distinction with their competitors.
The D-MAX has a big, bold grille with two large horizontal bars, the top one, as discussed,
with the Isuzu name front-and -centre. The grille infill in the SX and LS-M is matte grey,
chrome in the LS-U and LS-U+, and colour coded in the X-Terrain.
SX has halogen headlights, all others get LED as well as LED for both daytime running
lights and fog lights.
Wheel sizes are 17-inch alloys on the SX and LS-M and 18-inch on the higher-spec
models. All models get a full-size steel spare.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Two engines are offered, a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel in the entry-level SX single-cab that
generates 110 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque from 1800 rpm. All other models use an
upgraded 3.0-litre turbo-diesel with 140 kW and 450 Nm from 1600 rev.
Depending on the variant there’s the option of a six-speed manual gearbox while all come
with an Aisin six-speed ‘Rev-Tronic’ automatic with sequential sport mode.
Standard safety features across the range include eight airbags; enhanced ABS brakes;
hill start assist and descent control. Automatic variants add mis-acceleration mitigation and
lane keep assist while dual-cab models have ISOFIX child seat anchor points.
Models from the LS-M upwards get rear parking sensors while only the X-Terrain has front
All D-MAX variants come with the Isuzu Intelligent Driver Assistance Package (IDAS)
which includes a range of the latest advanced active safety systems such as Autonomous
Emergency Braking (AEB) with Turn Assist, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Adaptive
Cruise Control (ACC), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear
Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and
Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK).
We were able to test the mid-spec LS-U ute and LS-U cab chassis back-to-back over a
At nearly 5.3 metres in length and with a 12.5-metre turning circle it needs plenty of care in
tight situations. However, steering is light at low speeds.
While we appreciate the excellent safety features in the IDAS package, as drivers who get
frustrated with too much interference, there’s a Lane Support System switch that turns off
the various lane keeping features.
The upgraded 3.0-litre turbo diesel puts out 10kW and 20Nm more than before while the
torque band is five times wider and more usable with 400Nm on tap from 1400 through to
It’s not the most refined diesel engine we’ve driven and is relatively noisy.
Ground clearance is 235mm in the SX and LS-M and 240mm in the other variants.
Together with a 3500k braked towing capacity make the D-MAX a serious and versatile
At the same time the ride is quite smooth and comfortable enough to suit family duties.
Handling is safe and secure, but with no pretence of being sporty. It will look after you if
you drive at stupid speeds into corners thanks to its electronic aids. But it’s much better to
drive the D-MAX like the ute that it is.
Fuel consumption is listed at 8.0 litres per 100 km. We registered 9.2 L/100km in the LS-U
ute around our normal drive route but got it down to 7.5 L/100km in the cab chassis,
mainly through a trip to Canberra and back.
The public is voting with their wallets on the merits of the Isuzu UTE D-Max and the
booming sales indicate what a solid, capable and well-equipped vehicle it is. Its high
payload and towing capacity will attract commercial buyers while it’s upmarket feel and
excellent equipment list allow to double up as family transport.
All Isuzu UTE vehicles come with a six-year warranty but with distance limited to 150,000
AT A GLANCE
D-Max Cab Chassis 2WD 1.9 SX Single Cab: $31,200 (manual), $33,200 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 2WD 3.0 SX Single Cab: $33,200 (manual), $35,200 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 2WD 3.0 SX Space Cab: $38,700 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 2WD 3.0 SX Crew Cab: $41,700 (automatic)
D-Max Crew Cab Ute 2WD 3.0 SX: $42,900 (automatic)
D-Max Crew Cab Ute 2WD 3.0 LS-U: $51,400 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 4WD 3.0 SX Single Cab: $41,200 (manual), $43,200 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 4WD 3.0 SX Space Cab $44,700 (manual), $46,700(automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 4WD 3.0 SX Crew Cab $47,700 (manual), $49,700 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 4WD 3.0 LS-M Crew Cab: $52,800 (automatic)
D-Max Cab Chassis 4WD 3.0 LS-U Crew Cab: $58,200 (automatic)
Isuzu D-Max Ute 4WD 3.0 SX Crew Cab: $50,900 (automatic)
Isuzu D-Max Ute 4WD 3.0 LS-M Crew Cab: $52,000 (manual), $54,000 (automatic)
Isuzu D-Max Ute 4WD 3.0 LS-U Space Cab: $56,400 (automatic)
Isuzu D-Max Ute 4WD 3.0 LS-U Crew Cab: $57,400 (manual), $59,400 (automatic)
Isuzu D-Max Ute 4WD 3.0 LS-U+ Crew Cab: $61,900 (automatic)
Isuzu D-Max Ute 4WD 3.0 X-Terrain Crew Cab: $65,900 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Isuzu UTE dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Isuzu UTE D-Max LS-U 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-door utility)
Capacity: 3.0 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 3500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1600 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 200 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5285 mm
Wheelbase: 3125 mm
Width: 1870 mm
Height: 1790 mm
Turning Circle: 12.5 metres
Kerb Mass: 2105 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 76 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Six years / 150,000 kilometres