For the first time in eight years, the Isuzu D-Max pickup has undergone a full model redesign and has just debuted in Thailand, the country where it will be made.
Going on sale there on October 19, the all-new 2020 Isuzu D-Max brings significant changes on all fronts. Styling-wise, it looks more aggressive than the current model, especially in Crew Cab 4×4 guise, thanks to the bigger grille, sleeker bi-LED headlights with a U-shaped signature, and a sharp front bumper.
The 2020 D-Max also features a chunkier profile and dual LED taillights that make it look more stylish than before. A step bumper mounted on the rear also contributes to a more powerful appearance.
Inside, the third-generation D-Max gains a more modern and tech-laden dashboard compared to the outgoing model that features a 9-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a V-shaped center console with piano keys, a multifunction steering wheel, and a 4.2-inch digital display in the instrument panel. The pickup also gains new front seats designed to prevent whiplash injuries and more comfortable rear seats (on crew cab models).
Isuzu also says that interior components on higher-end models now feature embossed and texturized surfaces “for a high-end, sporty look.” Meanwhile, for work-oriented versions, customers can opt for a more basic and durable instrument panel and door trim design.
So what’s underneath the skin, then? Isuzu has made extensive use of 980 MPa high-tensile steel plates to achieve a lighter yet 20-percent more rigid vehicle body. The rooftop was also reinforced and potential customers will be glad to learn that each cab type now features an extended loading platform.
Anti-corrosion ability is said to be greatly improved as well, which is good to know given that the 2020 D-Max now boasts a fording depth of 800 mm (31.5 inches). Another important thing worth mentioning is the fact that the pickup’s EE electrical architecture “flexibly accommodates evolution in security and connected technologies,” allowing the D-Max to keep up with the times and pave the way for the new CASE era.
Depending on the market, the 2020 Isuzu D-Max will offer two upgraded turbodiesel four-cylinder powertrains. A base 1.9-liter unit (RZ4E) produces 150 PS (148 HP) at 3,500 rpm and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque at 1,800 – 2,600 rpm. The second choice is a 3.0-liter unit (4JJ3) delivering 190 PS (187 HP) at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque at 1,600 – 2,600 rpm. The bigger engine offers 13 HP and 20 Nm more than the previous version.
Both engines come with standard six-speed manual gearboxes but the 1.9-liter unit also offers a newly-developed automatic transmission with a downsized torque converter and lockup clutch integrated with a wide-angle damper for gains in fuel economy and response.
Another significant new development compared to the previous D-Max regards 4×4 versions which now feature a single aluminum propeller shaft to reduce weight. More importantly, 4WD D-Max models also gain an electromagnetic rear differential lock which improves off-road capability and reduces the time needed to switch between 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive as well as between high and low.
Isuzu engineers also made changes to the suspension, brakes and steering which are said to contribute to better driving stability and handling. Following its launch in Thailand, the all-new Isuzu D-Max will reach other markets from 2020, including Asia, Australia, South Africa, and Europe. Depending on the country, it will be available in Regular Cab, Space Cab, and Crew Cab body styles.