Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Isuzu - D-Max - X-Terrain

Our Opinion

We like
Smooth, trusty 3.0-litre engine, interior and infotainment refinement, silky six-speed auto, rear diff lock return, uncluttered dash
Room for improvement
RFI: Engine noise, dull steering, no heated seats, roller tray cover neuters tub space

Isuzu makes important changes for its more refined, modern D-Max pick-up

7 Sep 2020



Since launching in Australia in 2008 with its Holden Colorado-based D-Max pick-up, Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) has struck a chord with local buyers who want a reliable, no-nonsense ute that can keep up with the best the segment has to offer.


The second-generation version continued the rugged and reliable theme, with the brand achieving double-digit sales growth for every one of its first 10 years on sale.


With the arrival of a new decade comes the all-new, third-generation version, which the brand says has resulted in vast improvements to safety and refinement.


So how does the new-generation D-Max stack up against the competition.


First drive impressions


The new-generation D-Max range arrives locally with four grades, topped by the Ranger Wildtrak-rivalling X-Terrain that replaces the outgoing LS-T flagship.


Our drive comprised solely of the X-Terrain dual-cab, however buyers can also choose from the SX, LS-M and LS-U variants.


Isuzu owners often use their cars for long-distance towing and recreation, meaning large amounts of time are spent in the cabin. One area of improvement identified by owners was the need for a more premium interior feel, an area IUA has focused on in the all-new model.


Stepping into the flagship X-Terrain for the first time, it is clear the brand has made big strides to shed the more basic look of previous generations and bring the new D-Max in line with its competitors.


The updated interior is headlined by a new-generation 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system (7.0-inch on SX and LS-U), which comes with all the modern trimmings including sat-nav, DAB+ digital radio and even wireless Apple CarPlay.


Operation of the system is intuitive and easy, with a set of shortcut buttons across the bottom of the screen and an easy-to-read interface. We only wish the system came with a rotary volume dial, as pressing the volume keys five to 10 times to adjust the volume can get tiresome quickly.


Being the top-spec variant, the X-Terrain is expected to have the most premium interior, and we were pleased with the way the new model blends top-spec touches with hard-wearing materials and practical ergonomics expected of a pick-up.


Soft and supple leather is used on the seats and steering wheel, while a 4.2-inch instrument cluster display offers solid levels of configurable information.


One notably missing feature for the otherwise comfortable seats is seat heating – on the top spec grade this should be included.


Front and rear seating is comfortable for up to four adults, while a range of storage compartments increase interior usability.


At the rear, the D-Max’s tub is mostly standard for a dual-cab pick-up, however the retractable rolling tonneau cover does take up a lot of space at the rear of the tub, reducing the amount of usable space.


Under the bonnet of all new-gen D-Max grades lies a heavily revised version of the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that powered the previous generation, which has seen outputs boosted by 10kW/20Nm to now produce 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm from 1600-2600rpm.


While the 3.0-litre mill isn’t the last word in cutting-edge tech or green credentials, we were pleased to see the trusty mill return, due to its excellent reputation as a reliable and hard-wearing engine and a fitting motor for towing.


Due to the stage four restrictions currently gripping Melbourne, our scope for testing the new D-Max is limited with no towing or off-roading to speak of, however our local drive did leave us with a positive impression of the new engine.


The most striking aspect of the diesel mill is its smooth driving character, with a pleasantly linear throttle response and even delivery of its 450Nm at any speed.


Its six-speed auto does a fine job of shifting cogs, and does well to mitigate clunky gear changes and engine braking when coasting.


The D-Max engine does fall a little behind its rivals for engine noise particularly before warming up, and its larger displacement will likely lead to a slightly higher fuel consumption than some of its more compact contemporaries.


Nevertheless, a fuel use figure of around 8.5 litres per 100km from strictly suburban driving was a pleasant surprise, and not far off the official 7.7-8.0L/100km combined figure.


The updated low-range transfer case has also been improved to shift from 2WD to 4WD at speeds of up to 100km/h, while shifting to low range is now much quicker than before.


Off-roaders will also love the re-introduction of a standard rear diff lock, which was phased out midway through the second generation’s life in favour of a traction control system.


The three-leaf suspension set-up previously reserved for top-spec grades is now standard across the range, replacing the old five-leaf pack on the outgoing model.


Employing the three-leaf set-up undoubtedly gives the D-Max a more supple ride – particularly when unladen – however bumps and road imperfections are still easily felt when driving, a price you often have to pay for strong towing and payload abilities.


Steering feel is often compromised in pick-ups, and the D-Max is no exception with a particularly dull calibration, especially with smaller inputs. A sharper steering rack would make for a welcome addition, particularly when dealing with the ute’s cumbersome turning circle around town.


Isuzu has not tried to reinvent the wheel with the new D-Max – rather, it has listened to its loyal customers and worked to improve what is already a capable and popular ute.


The improvements to the interior and infotainment system are most welcome, and the return of the (heavily updated) 4JJ3-TCX engine will be embraced by Isuzu fans.


The visual upgrades of the X-Terrain also give the new D-Max a visual edge, which makes for a fitting flagship for the range.


Here’s to hoping IUA continues the new-model rollout in the future with an even more capable range-topper to take on the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor and Nissan Navara N-Trek Warrior.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new D-Max

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

D-Max pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here