On the recent Cape Town launch of the new Isuzu D-MAX automatic extended and double cab range, we spent two days getting to know what has become a durable and capable stalwart in the bakkie and double cab segment of the market. Now with the introduction of four new 250 automatics in their mid-range D-MAX 250 LE and their D-MAX 250 Hi-Rider models, Isuzu has certainly bolstered their range and added a much-needed element to their lineup, giving the public that much more buying scope.
The capability of the Isuzu range has always been a drawcard for the brand, ask any farmer, contractor or brand loyal private buyer, but now with the new automatic D-MAX range, so many more opportunities exist for Isuzu to further increase their market share. It struck me while driving the dust roads in the Villiersdorp area, that Isuzu’s new automatic D-MAX range is the perfect ﬁt in a spectrum that ranges right from farmers, who require tough as nails technology coupled with a bit of auto gearbox luxury, right down to the man in the street or small business owners looking for a solid workhorse.
Simply, it is good reliable technology, tried-and-tested stuff that brings repeat business purchasers ﬂocking back to this brand time and time again. Okay, so you won’t get the fancy electromagnetic dilatometer, a rocket-assisted ejection seat, and controls so complex that you’re not sure whether to ﬁ le a ﬂight plan or punch in co-ordinates to a distant galaxy, but, whether you’re meandering along with your caravan in tow, putting the D-MAX through its paces on dust roads as a workhorse, or throwing a couple of ﬁshing rods in the back and heading out, you’ll be assured a safe and reliable ride. Yes, you’ll hear the diesel engine ticking over, but what’s not to like about the gravelly guts of the machine making its voice heard. The interior of the D-MAX range is functional and the seating is ﬁrm and comfortable.
The 5-speed automatic gearbox does exactly what it should and the gear ratios are well spaced for easy, yet seamless transitions between gears. The suspension feels bulletproof on rougher terrains and you will be bounced around, as the D-MAX sits up well on undulating surfaces. The coil-over-shock front suspension, coupled with the leaf spring rear suspension, ensure that the D-MAX range certainly has a lot of spring in its step. The D-MAX automatic comes in ﬁ ve variants namely the 250 HO Hi Ride 4×2 extended cab, the 250 HO Hi Ride 4×2 double cab, 250 HO LE 4×2 double cab, the 300 Hi Ride double cab auto, and the 250 HO X-Rider 4×2 double cab and each of these models has its place in the market, from the base 250 extended cab for light commercial applications right up to the range-topping 250 HO X-Rider double cab. Dominic Rimmer, Senior Vice President, Technical Operations at Isuzu Motors South Africa is positive about the future for Isuzu saying, “Buying trends in the bakkie segment are changing rapidly, and we have seen a major upswing in the demand for automatic gearboxes in recent years.”
The D-MAX models come standard with Isuzu Complete Care, comprising a ﬁve-year/120 000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assistance, a ﬁ ve-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty and a ﬁveyear/90 000 km Service Plan. Service intervals are every 15 000 km or 12 months whichever comes ﬁrst. After a few hundred kilometers of dust road and tar road driving over two days, I can safely say that Isuzu has grown its brand around the three pillars that form their core foundation, and these are durability, reliability, and capability. I’d add a few more to that such as low maintenance costs, low running costs and the sheer driving pleasure with the new auto box. The bold look of the D-MAX exterior is much like the provenance of a painting, which tells the story of an Isuzu history steeped in rugged reliability and the desire to get the job done at all costs.
ISUZU D-MAX 250 AUTO MODEL RANGE AND PRICING
D-MAX 250 HO EXTENDED CAB HI-RIDE AUTO R 403,200.00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB HI-RIDE AUTO R 435,300.00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB LE AUTO R 459,000.00
D-MAX 300 DOUBLE CAB HI-RIDE AUTO R 464,100.00
D-MAX 250 HO DOUBLE CAB X-RIDER AUTO R 474,700.00