2016 Paris Motor Show: Isuzu D-Max facelift due in Oz early 2017

Sharper looks, better fuel economy for Isuzu’s workhorse ute, but where’s our six-speed manual?

Isuzu D-Max

An updated Isuzu D-Max will arrive in Australia in early 2017 sporting a fresh exterior look, an updated interior and a revised turbo diesel engine.

The local facelift will mirror the European-spec D-Max revealed at the Paris Motor Show overnight, though Australian-delivered models will not get the all-new, 120kW/360Nm 1.9-litre Euro 6 compliant diesel engine.

Speaking to Wheels at the D-Max’s Parisian debut, Keiichi Yagai, Isuzu sales manager for regions including Australia, said Aussie models will instead make do with a more efficient, Euro 5 certified version of the existing 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine.

D-Max in Aussie trim currently produces 130kW and 380Nm with the 3.0-litre oiler. Yagai could not say whether these outputs would change after efficiency improvements were made.

Isuzu D-Max front

However, he did confirm the D-Max’s early 2017 Australian launch and the absence of the 1.9-litre engine.

The downsized diesel uses a variable geometry turbocharger and less componentry than the 3.0-litre, making it more reliable and requiring less maintenance. It is also lighter, quieter, more economical and kinder to the environment.

Introduced with the 1.9-litre diesel in Europe are a new, Isuzu-developed six-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed automatic. It is unclear whether the new transmissions can be adapted to the 3.0-litre for Australia.

Exterior styling changes for the refreshed D-Max include a bigger, bolder front grille, redesigned headlights with LED daytime running lights, new bumper bars and restyled alloy wheels.

Isuzu D-Max front side

Changes to the interior include a new instrument display, better fabric on the seats and door panels and a less upright seat back in dual cab models with a second row. Hill start and hill descent assist functions are now standard, along with keyless entry and start in high-spec models.

Sporty variants of D-Max known as the X-Series have been developed by Isuzu in Thailand, featuring body kits and unique styling add-ons. X-Series models were initially only for sale in Thailand, where D-Max is made, though the special editions are now being sold in Central America and the Middle East, and should perform well in showrooms around Australia if made available here.

Isuzu may bring the new diesel engine to Oz when a next-generation ute is introduced, though that is still some time away. The next-gen D-Max will be sold by Isuzu and rebranded for sale in Australia by Mazda, badged as the Mazda BT-50.

Australia is the third largest market for the D-Max worldwide, after Thailand and Saudi Arabia.


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