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.
2017's most popular 4x4: Isuzu D-MAX
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.
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.
Comparison review: D-MAX LS-T v Navara ST
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.
Follow our long-termer's journeys in 4x4 Shed
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.