The Isuzu D-Max is a pickup truck, often categorised in the compact pickup class, manufactured by Isuzu Motors since 2002. In 2004, a midsize SUV called the MU-7 was built based on the Isuzu D-Max but featured a covered rear instead of a truck bed. This, however, was not marketed in Australia.
Officially, the Isuzu D-Max was introduced in Australia in 2008, the same year that its Holden sibling—Holden Colorado—set foot on the Australian soil. The truth, however, is that the Isuzu D-Max was no stranger to Australia and had been there since 2003, albeit wearing a different badge.
Back in 2003, the Isuzu D-Max arrived in Australia and New Zealand under the badge of Holden Rodeo (third generation, RA series). Both the first-generation Isuzu D-Max and the third-generation Holden Rodeo shared the same DNA—through the GMT 355 platform. This was the same platform later used for the first-generation Holden Colorado, first-generation Chevrolet Colorado, and first-generation GMC Canyon. (You may read about the Holden Rodeo and Holden Colorado and their different generations in a separate article, also in this site.)
In 2008, the Isuzu D-Max was launched in Australia. This time, it was marketed in its own brand alongside its rebadged sibling, the Holden Colorado (RC series).
1st Generation: 2002–2012
The RA series (D-Max) was jointly manufactured by General Motors and Isuzu Motors from the years 2002 until 2012 using the GMT 355 platform. Both versions were re-badged under several marques for the different markets around the world. The following were some of the nameplates used for the Isuzu D-Max RA series:
· Chevrolet LUV D-Max
· Chevrolet D-Max
· Holden Rodeo – 2003-2008
The first-generation Isuzu D-Max continued to be produced until 2012, but for the Australian market, an RC series was developed in 2008. The facelifted version of the Isuzu D-Max RC series was marketed as Holden Colorado, and it enjoyed immense success.
In October of the same year, Isuzu Motors decided to re-introduce the Isuzu D-Max but under its own name. Marketed by Isuzu Ute Australia, the D-Max was offered in a range of body styles and accessory levels and packed with this powertrain:
· 3.0L diesel engine, rated at 120 kW and 360 N⋅m; paired with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed auto transmission
This was the same powertrain offered by Holden Colorado at the time, except that the Holden brand also offered two additional petrol engine options. The Isuzu D-Max also became a huge favourite in the Land Down Under just like its Holden version.
2nd Generation: 2012–present
The Holden and Isuzu pickup trucks continued to be sold alongside each other in Australia, New Zealand, and neighbouring markets since 2012. Both models still share a common but all-new platform—the GMT 31XX—which is the same platform used by the current generations of Chevrolet S10, Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Holden Trailblazer, and GMC Canyon.
Aside from the rebranded Holden, the second-generation Isuzu D-Max was also marketed under the following badges:
· Chevrolet Colorado
· HSV SportsCat
The new Isuzu D-Max was presented in Thailand with the following engine options:
· 2.5L turbodiesel engine, 87 kW power and 280 N⋅m torque
· 2.5L VGS turbodiesel engine, 101 kW power and 320 N⋅m torque
· 3.0L 4-cyl 4JJ1-iTEQ common-rail VGS turbodiesel engine, 132 kW power and 380 N⋅m torque
The gearbox came in the standard 5-speed, but a new 5-speed automatic version (Rev-Tronic with sport mode) was introduced. In Australia, only the 3.0L T/C engine was offered, but trim and spec levels were available for the 5-speed manual and 5-speed auto transmissions.
Globally, the body-on-frame Isuzu pickup was sold in a range of offerings combining RWD and 4WD with single-cab, space-cab, and crew-cab body styles. In Australia, the following trim levels were offered: SX, SX Hi-ride, EX, X-Runner, LS Hi-ride, LS-M Hi-ride, LS-Terrain Hi-ride, and LS-U Hi-ride. All were available in RWD/4WD and manual/auto choices, except for SX Hi-ride RWD which came in auto only and EX which came in 4WD auto only.
The following trims and accessories came as base offerings: 2-speaker radio/CD, dual front airbags including side and head airbags, anti-lock braking system, air conditioning, cloth trim, cruise control, electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability program, emergency brake assist, engine immobiliser, power steering, power windows, phone connectivity, remote control central locking, seatbelts (with pre-tensioner mechanism for front seats), and traction control system.
For the 2014 model year, D-Max received some updates, including modified rear lamps and DRL.
In 2015, Isuzu introduced the D-Max RT85 model, which featured a larger grille and an 8-inch infotainment system. It also ushered in a new engine (described below) to take the place of the old-model 2.5L engine:
· 1.9L RZ4E-TC I4 diesel engine
For the 2018 model year, the D-Max received several updates again including restyled grille and bumper, bi-LED projector headlamp, LED DTR lamps, and new alloy wheels.
In Australia, the current version of Isuzu D-Max is powered by the previous 3.0L engine offering. The base trim was now upgraded to include a 12V power outlet, 2-speaker radio/CD, adjustable-tilt steering wheel, auxiliary/USB socket, bottle and cup holders for front seats, bucket front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, day/night rear-view mirror, multipurpose centre console, dust and pollen filter, door pockets for front seat, front intermittent wipers, glove box, grab handles for front seats, halogen headlights, headlights on warning, heavy-duty suspension, high-mounted rear stoplight, hill descent control, hill holder, MP3-compatible audio/CD player, power steering, side-door impact beams, spare wheel (full-size/steel), and vinyl floor covering.