Port Elizabeth - With bakkie buyers increasingly gravitating towards automatic gearboxes, Isuzu is upping its game with five new self-shifting D-Max derivatives.

Most of these new additions are powered by the familiar 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine, which produces 100kW and 320Nm, and the gearbox in question is Isuzu’s five-speed automatic unit. 

The gearbox is available with a wide range of trim grades, starting with the D-Max 250 Hi-Ride auto models, which are available in extended cab and double cab guises. The mid-range 250 LE is now also available as an auto, as is the sporty-looking 250 X-Rider. As per the manual models the 250 auto versions have a braked towing capacity of 2100kg.

Isuzu has also added a 3-litre Hi Ride double cab model, with the 130kW/280Nm engine in this case paired with a six-speed autobox.

Spec-wise, the new auto models mirror their manual siblings, with the Hi-Ride versions packing all the basic comfort and safety features, including a manual aircon, a basic audio system with Bluetooth, electric windows, remote central locking, dual front airbags, ABS brakes and stability control. It keeps things rather basic on the outside with 16-inch steel wheels.

The X-Rider has a similar spec sheet, but it’s set apart by a flashier styling package that includes diamond-cut 18-inch alloys, black bumper cladding, black leather seats with contrast red stitching and piano black trim inlays among other additions.

The LE has a more restrained design package, reverting to 16-inch alloy wheels, but it does gain more luxury in the form of a 20cm touchscreen infotainment system and cruise control.

“Buying trends in the bakkie segment are changing rapidly, and we have seen a major upswing in the demand for automatic gearboxes in recent years,” said Isuzu SA technical VP Dominic Rimmer.

“The introduction of the six-speed automatic transmissions in the D-MAX 3.0-Litre models in 2018 was extremely well received, and we are delighted to now offer automatic gearbox options on our popular D-MAX 250 models, from our trendy X-Rider model to the mid-level LE and the Hi-Ride which is ideally suited to our commercial vehicle customers”.

New D-Max auto models:

D-Max 250 Extended Cab Hi-Ride auto R403 200
D-Max 250 Double Cab Hi-Ride auto R435 300
D-Max 250 Double Cab LE auto R459 000
D-Max 300 Double Cab Hi-Ride auto R464 100
D-Max 250 Double Cab X-Rider auto R474 700

All D-Max models are sold with a five-year/120 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan.

IOL Motoring