The Isuzu D-Max has been here since 2012 and is synonymous with rugged workhorses. Historically, though, the forebears of the D-Max ute arrived in Australia so much earlier under various nameplates, including Chevrolet D-Max and Holden Colorado.
The 2020 Isuzu D-Max range is divided into two, consisting of the utility options of spartan models and the premium range. The former includes two and four-wheel drive single and extended cab variants while the latter has trims that are only available as double cab provisions.
The D-Max ute already comes available with a loyal customer base and an upgrading in 2019 to improve the ownership experience. It is a bid to pull customers away from the rival utes while giving current owners more options in the range.
The exterior of the Isuzu D-Max has been improved with 18-inch machine-face matte black wheels and 18-inch Toyo Open Country Highway tyres. Other cosmetic additions to the D-Max include a revised front grille and roofing rails. It also includes newly designed steps available as options and ambient interior lighting, which lends a calming effect while the driver enjoys the off-roading lifestyle. What is clear is that the 2019 update on aesthetics did provide for a sharper than usual look for the ute.
The cabin of the 2020 D-Max seems to prioritise utilitarian convenience and functionality. Some functional attributes entail slide-out cup-holders below the vents and square units within the centre console. Some might term the design as a bit dated, considering it is not on the same level as other rival utes.
What it does not accomplish in comfort, it makes up for in the level of function. The seats are wide though may not have the best under-support. The dashboard is also dominated by hard plastics that may seem out of place, but the controls are easily accessible, and the layout is simple. The infotainment system also has an aftermarket appearance to it.
Is the 2020 Isuzu D-Max comfortable?
The second row for the double cabins has ample leg and headroom. Both the second-row seat back and its bottom fold out of the way. There is also excellent storage spacing starting with the large centre console and glove boxes. There is a storage area in the centre console as well.
What is the boot space?
The 2020 Isuzu D-Max has double cab models with a load bed of 1485 mm long, 1530 mm wide, and 465 mm deep. The extended cab is better at 1795 mm by 1530 mm by 465 mm. That would mean that both models are better alternatives in the market.
The D-Max ute has an 8.0-inch infotainment system that is quite basic. It may feel clunky to operate, and other features seem lacking compared to modern designs. It does not have very high resolution, although there are navigation options that provide a useful perspective for the driver, such as the reversing camera.
There is no DAB; so, the driver would be stuck with AM, FM, and HDMI and Bluetooth audio streaming alternatives. Sky Sound is available, with a set of roof-mounted speakers meant to provide immersive sound in the cabin. It may be hard to tell if they improve the situation considering there are not many audio options available.
The 2020 D-Max has a 3.0-litre turbocharged engine mated to a 6-speed transmission, capable of 140 kW and 450 Nm of power and torque, respectively. Its fuel economy is at 9.0L/100km during highway driving and 7.9L/100km for city driving.
The powertrain is a four-wheel drive, but the two-wheel drivetrain can be engaged when needed. The D-Max mounted the DPF or diesel particulate filter near the turbocharger to burn off more effectively. It is an issue that has often plagued diesel engines in other utes and SUVs.
When driving, the engine may be a bit loud, but there is a noticeable reduction inside the cabin. The turbocharged diesel engine capitalises on torque for hauling loads, but like most twin cabin utes, the D-Max prefers to be in the sweet spot, meaning between 200 and 2200 RPM to make the most of the power. The gearbox is adequately matched and does an excellent job of handling the throttle inputs.
What is the towing capacity of the 2020 Isuzu D-Max?
The towing capacity is 3.5 tons for a trailer with brakes. Some models also offer heavy-duty or towing option packs that may increase the towing capacity.
The 2020 D-Max got an updated ANCAP test score of five stars in 2016. It does have the usual complement of airbags, traction control, and antilock brakes. However, the ute is lacking in some safety features, like blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, traffic detection systems, autonomous emergency braking, and lane-departure assistant.
The 2020 D-Max is priced at $28,600 before the on-road costs for the single cab option. At the premium level, though, it costs $54,800 before on-road for the four-wheel-drive LS-T. Isuzu is offering the D-Max with a six-year warranty for 150,000 km, which is better compared to other rivals in the same segment. The servicing is there in the form of a seven-year capped pricing program with intervals of 15,000 km. The servicing over six years is at $3,843, meaning that it could be at $640 per year.
The refresh of the model in 2019 assisted the aesthetics and other aspects of the 2020 Isuzu D-Max. Still, the D-Max comes across as quite utilitarian in its functions. The interior and cabin elements are very basic compared to its rivals. The safety packages also need a revamp, but the maintenance and warranties are better than most. The engine and towing abilities are some of the best available in the market. The D-Max ute has a high value-for-money proposition for those particularly concerned with functionality over comfort.