D-Max 1.9 LS delivers what we expect from Isuzu


Port Elizabeth bakkie maker Isuzu considers its D-Max to be a giant step forward. Says that it brings state of the art tech to enhance every aspect. Intensively developed, engineered and durability tested in South Africa, for South Africans, they ensure us that this new D-Max is built just for you.

Everything, from the new bakkie’s suspension to its all-terrain tyres, is tough, From a made to measure load box and tailgate, to dust sealing, was exhaustively tested in local conditions. It is fettled to meet and exceed every South African customer expectation. In the most demanding of local conditions.

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Our burnt orange test 1.9 LS split opinion

So, how does it shape up? Well, for starters, our burnt orange tester split opinion in the office. Some say its ugly. Others quite like it. This middle of the range model has satin silver grille embellishments, side steps and a roll hoop. It has regular Halogen headlamps with daytime driving running lights, front fog lamps and a high level brake light at the rear.

D-Max 1.9 LS sports neat standard 17-inch six double-spoke alloys sporting more street-oriented 255/65 R17 bakkie tyres. Which is a good thing for this non-4×4 bakkie. 265/60 R18s are optional. You can pack a tonne in the bak and this rear-drive D-Max can pull a 3,100 kg braked trailer. Your tow hitch is also optional.

Step into an airconditioned cabin with power windows front and rear, and remote central locking. The grippy cross stitched power multifunction steering wheel falls nicely to hand. It is sensibly laid out. There’s also cruise control, and rear park distance control aided and abetted by a reversing camera.


Some questions in a solid LS cabin

It broadcasts onto the infotainment screen. Which for whatever reason, fails to fill the space left for it on the dash. Maybe to make it possible to charge more for the upper models. But really, can it be so much more expensive to just go with the bigger one? All that does is leave us feeling a little short-changed.

Anyway, it’s still a good, usable system with Auto, CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports front and rear, and an aux input too. A decent sound system is another plus versus its rivals. Dash and steering wheel buttons back the touchscreen up. They also toggle the trip computer nestling between fine and legible analogue dials.

One aspect we were most relieved about in this D-Max, is that you just get in and go. There are no stupid driver aids that are near impossible to switch off. As they do, and totally ruin the top spec mu-X. It is still well safety specced though. There’s traction and stability control and ABS brakes with EBD and assist. Add seven airbags, Isofix kid seat mounts, and the rest.


LS is economical, drives well

On the road this nineteen-hundred turbodiesel drives well. It has usable power, despite having ‘just’ 110kW at a relatively low 3,600 r/min peak. 350 Nm offsets that in a reasonable band between 1800 and 2600 revs. It’s strongest suit is probably fuel economy. And it will do more than 1,000 km on a tank.

The auto box gets on with it and seems well sorted. None of those unnecessary downshifts and sporadic up changes of yore. That, comfortable seats, and a pleasant, spacious driving environment conspire to deliver a very good all-round package. Its competitively priced too, sitting between the new Ranger, which still benefits sharp launch pricing, and its rival Hilux.

There are a few little cons here and there. Build quality, inside and out is a bit tinny. Some consider it ugly. And perhaps a little too similar looking to the older bakkie.


A great value, good basic bakkie

All in all, however, the Isuzu D-Max 1.9TD DC LS automatic is a great value for money, good basic bakkie. Exactly what we have always admired Isuzu for achieving. And judging by the latest January new bakkie sales figures, the Gqeberha bakkie maker is clearly doing something right. Enough said! – Michele Lupini

Test data & photography: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Isuzu D-Max 1.9TD DC LS automatic
Engine: 110 Kw 350 Nm 1.9 litre turbodiesel
Drive: 6 speed automatic RWD
Load Capacity:    1,000 kg
Braked Trailer:   3,100 kg
0-60 km/h:        4.82 sec
0-100 km/h:       11.41 sec
0-120 km/h:       16.10 sec
400m:             16.8 sec @ 124 km/h
80-120 km/h:      8.65 sec
VMax:             180 km/h
Fuel:             7.3 l/100 km
CO2:              192 g/km
Range:            1,041 km
Warranty/Service: 5y 120K/5y 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R586K
RATED:            8
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