SHIFTING to a new residence seems like a never-ending process.
Even months after the last empty box has been flattened, there are still holes in walls to be plastered, light fittings to replace and outdoor settings to purchase … a predicament I was recently in during a two-week hiatus from 4X4 HQ.
So with a list of jobs in hand, a last-minute phone call was made to Isuzu, where a 2017 D-MAX LS-T Crew Cab 4x4 was locked in for transporter duties. The range-topping, special edition fourbie also gave me the perfect excuse to get off the beaten track for a day or two … or three.
The LS-T utilises Isuzu’s updated 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that’s good for 130kW and 430Nm – more than enough grunt to shift an outdoor table and six chairs – and it meets strict Euro 5 emissions standards thanks to the addition of a diesel particulate filter. The LS-T can only be had with an automatic transmission; in this case, a slick-shifting six-speeder.
Unladen, the LS-T rides smoothly, with the front coils and rear leafs providing well-sorted and comfortable travel. With a load on board, the 4x4 remains glued to the tarmac and the steering precise and positive.
Comparison review: D-MAX LS-T v Navara ST
The tray measures 1485mm long by 1530mm wide, with an 1105mm distance between the wheelhouses, and there are four tie-down hooks, which meant loading and unloading equipment was a cinch. A payload capacity of 924kg and a class-leading towing capacity of 3500kg didn’t hinder performance, either.
The LS-T didn’t only serve delivery duties, as we diverted from oft-used tracks and pointed it toward harder-to-reach destinations. Only a few months prior I’d ventured to Fraser Island for the Isuzu I-Venture trip, so the capabilities of the D-MAX were already well-learned – it handled everything the world’s largest sand island could throw at it, so what hope did a few off-road trails near Melbourne have of unsettling it?
It didn’t take long to familiarise myself with Isuzu’s user-friendly Terrain Command 4WD select dial, which allows the driver to flick between 2WD-high, 4WD-high and 4WD-low. Flicking it to four-low is as simple as stopping, shifting to neutral, rotating the select dial and waiting for engagement.
READ NEXT: Isuzu D-Max Range Review
The lack of a rear diff-lock would undoubtedly become obvious on the toughest trails this side of the Vic High Country, but on the tracks in and around Cobaw, 80-odd kays north-west of Melbourne, the LS-T battled on without incident. Its off-road nous is aided by decent angles: Approach (30.0), Departure (22.7) and Rampover (22.4). The LS-T also has 235mm of ground clearance and a wading depth of 600mm.
The LS-T interior is spacious and a pleasant place to be, highlighted by well-appointed leather – a benefit of opting for the range-topper. However, the centre stack layout and touchscreen controls are still in urgent need of a makeover. The LS-T also features a proximity key for entry and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The LS-Terrain, available with a six-speed automatic gearbox only, carries a RRP of $54,200. The LS-U Crew (manual) retails from $44,990; the LS-M Crew (manual) from $40,990; and the SX Crew (manual) from $38,990.