BANGKOK, THAILAND - Isuzu’s D-Max has been given its first redesign in eight years, and the bakkie gets a bold new look for 2020 as well as revised engines and improved overall refinement.

Making greater use of high-tensile steel, the new Isuzu’s body is 20 percent more rigid than before, says Isuzu, while various improvements have been made to the suspension, steering and braking systems.

Under the bonnet, the range-topping versions get a revised version of the 4JJ1 3-litre turbodiesel, which now produces 140kW and 450Nm, up from the current model’s 130kW and 380Nm. As with the current version, the 3-litre engine is offered with a choice between six-speed manual and six-speed automatic gearboxes. 

 At the lower end of the line-up, Isuzu is offering a revised version of its 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine, which is currently not offered in South Africa.

Naturally, the vehicles are available in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations, the latter receiving an enhanced 4WD system, with improved power transfer and quicker shift times between the RWD and 4WD modes as well as between high and low. An electromagnetic rear differential lock is also fitted.

Inside the cabin of the new D-Max, we see a cleaner design with upgraded materials that give it a more upscale appearance. Also featured is a new 23cm touchscreen infotainment system. More information on the bakkie’s feature list will be made available closer to launch.

So when is it coming to South Africa?

According to the local division, a final decision on whether the new D-Max will be built in South Africa has yet to be made, but we should have an answer soon.

"We are currently engaging with Isuzu to build the next generation bakkie and trucks in South Africa and anticipate that we will get the final approvals for this investment later this year," Isuzu South Africa said.

"Isuzu is committed to this market as demonstrated by its decision to take over the light commercial vehicle operations as well as the balance of shareholding in the trucks business in South Africa, making this its first fully owned subsidiary outside of Japan". 

IOL Motoring