2024 Isuzu D-Max Review

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Overview

 

ISUZU has given its popular D-Max ute range a significant overhaul for 2024, with more technology, improved safety and a new X-Rider variant to round out its 25-model strong line up.

 

The update comes off the back of a record year for Isuzu Ute Australia, with the D-Max landing as the third most popular vehicle in Australia behind the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger – also 4×4 ute models.

 

Despite its third place standing, the D-Max has a long way to go if it is to knock off its next nearest rival, the Toyota HiLux, with around 30,000 units separating the two.

 

The updated 2024 range is a step in the right direction though, a result of Isuzu listening to its customers and addressing various gripes – all fairly minor, mind you – to make the D-Max a little bit better again. For an already good ute, it’s the little things that will add up to make it great.

 

For starters Isuzu has finally addressed the outdated infotainment system, which was arguably its biggest pitfall when compared with ‘techier’ competitor options. The new 9.0-inch display for LS-U, LS-U+ and X-Terrain, or 8.0-inch for lower-spec SX, LS-M and X-Rider models, with an updated user interface, is miles ahead of the old setup.

 

 

The multi-information display, which sits between the speedometer and tachometer has also been redesigned to be easier to read.

 

Safety technology – included as standard across the range – has also been improved,

jumping a few generations ahead of what was available back in 2020 with lane-centring

that better locates the vehicle and adaptive cruise that can see brake lights ahead – rather

than simply detecting the distance gap closing before applying brakes.

 

A new ‘Gen4’ stereo camera, with a field of view that is 200 per cent better than the previous model, supplies critical information to the safety systems and according to Isuzu it can now see oncoming vehicle headlights from 700m away.

 

The reverse camera has also been updated, offering improved image quality and brightness, now with dynamic guidelines and a hydrophobic coating that prevents dirt and grime from obscuring the view.

 

The D-Max range retains its five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2022 and is now safer than ever.

 

Isuzu has used the same powertrains for the 2024 model range, with the choice of either a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine producing 140kW/450Nm or 1.9-litre turbocharged diesel engine producing 110kW/350Nm. Buyers get the option of a six-speed Aisin automatic gearbox or, for certain models, a six-speed manual gearbox.

 

Off-roaders rejoice, because Isuzu has fitted its Rough Terrain Mode (RTM) system to the D-Max – formerly only offered in MU-X models – and it will even work with the rear differential locked.

 

Most Japanese 4x4s don’t allow traction control to remain ‘on’ when the rear diff is locked, for obvious reasons. Now, Isuzu has tweaked its traction control system to work across only the front wheels, significantly improving off-road capability.

 

Visual changes are subtle and it’s clearly still a D-Max from every angle, but a squarer front-end, sharper body lines, new bi-LED headlights and reworked tail-lights all add style points.

 

In-cabin updates include revised cloth trim, ‘Miuri-Origami’ themed leather upholstery and various ergonomic improvements. Again, the changes are subtle, but the interior didn’t need much to shine – after all, it’s a 4×4 ute.

 

The new X-Rider variant was offered as a special edition model in 2023 and is based on the lower-grade LS-M model, but scores adventure-ready goodies like a loopless soft tonneau cover, sports bar, black roof liner and blacked-out accents – but it’ll cost $3700 more than its less lairy LS-M sibling.

 

For the new equipment and sharper styling, buyers will pay between $500 and $3000 more for a MY24 D-Max. While not significant, or uncommon as manufacturers hike prices to offset labour, material and supply chain costs, the price increases reduce the D-Max’s budget appeal ever so slightly.

 

The 2024 D-Max range is covered by a six-year/150,000km warranty, with a revised five year/75,000km capped-price servicing program. The new fixed-price servicing plan, which is priced at $449 every 15,000km, will save owners $310 when compared with MY23 model servicing costs.

 

Driving impressions

 

Our first steer of the new D-Max range was off public roads, at the RACQ Mobility Centre in Brisbane, where the safety systems could be put to the test on private blacktop – in particular the new lane-centring system -without having to deliberately bum-steer the car around other road users.

 

The system works, and is noticeably better, but real-world driving would be more accurate

proof of this as there are limited chances to flick the adaptive cruise on and relax on the

winding Mobility Centre loop.

 

Further testing as we left the Mobility Centre, bound for the stunning Sirromet Winery at Mount Cotton confirmed the system is less intrusive, more accurate and on-par with more premium European offerings.

 

The brilliant electronic steering, which we have praised the D-Max for since it was introduced in 2020, feels no different and braking is also unchanged. It still drives like a well setup dual-cab ute, in other words.

 

Our pick is the larger 3.0-litre engine, because the 1.9-litre engine feels a bit lazy by comparison. If you plan on using a D-Max as a fleet or trade vehicle, the fuel savings may justify the torque deficit, but weekend warriors will want the gruntier unit.

 

According to Isuzu, the 4×4 models with the 3.0-litre will sip 8l/100km while the 1.9 uses 6.9l/100km, which is a fairly honest estimation based on our testing of both. With a 76 litre fuel tank, the 1.9-litre engine will crack 1000kms between fills but the 3.0-litre will fall just short.

 

The larger 3.0-litre engine can tow more, though, with a full 3500kg braked towing capacity compared with a reduced 3000kg limit for the smaller engine.

 

Off-road, the new D-Max shines with the new RTM system making the already capable 4×4 more user-friendly than ever. An inexperienced off-roader can now get in and conquer just about anything that the 235-240mm of ground clearance will allow.

 

A couple of steep hill climbs out the back of Sirromet presented a perfect testbed for the new system, allowing us to test the D-Max’s off-road capabilities back to back.

 

We could get up the steepest climb using only low-range and the rear-diff lock, but it required momentum and some savage throttle inputs. Press the RTM button, though, and the D-Max walked up the climbs with next to no discernible wheel slip. Quite incredible, really.

 

The D-Max deserved its third-place spot on the sales ladder in 2023, but with this updated range we think it deserves to be even higher up the list this year. The already dependable and capable D-Max ute just became even safer and more user friendly.

 

If you’re in the market for a sub-$70k 4×4 ute, the 2024 D-Max ticks all the right boxes.

 

2024 Isuzu D-Max pricing (drive away pricing shown where applicable all others excluding on-road costs):

 

SX Single Cab Chassis 1.9L Manual 4×2: $32,700 ($32,490 drive away)

SX Single Cab Chassis 1.9L Automatic 4×2: $34,700

SX Single Cab Chassis 3.0L Manual 4×2: $34,700

SX Single Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×2: $36,700

SX Space Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×2: $40,200

SX Crew Cab Chassis 1.9L Automatic 4×2: $41,200

SX Crew Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×2: $43,200

SX Crew Cab Ute 1.9L Automatic 4×2: $42,700

SX Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×2: $44,700

LS-U Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×2: $54,500

SX Single Cab Chassis 3.0L Manual 4×4: $42,700

SX Single Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $44,700

SX Space Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $48,200

SX Crew Cab Chassis 3.0L Manual 4×4: $49,200

SX Crew Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $51,200

LS-M Crew Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $54,300

LS-U Crew Cab Chassis 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $61,000

SX Crew Cab Ute 1.9L Automatic 4×4: $50,700

SX Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $52,700

LS-M Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $55,800

X-Rider Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $59,500 (New)

LS-U Space Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $59,500

LS-U Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $62,500

LS-U+ Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $65,500

X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute 3.0L Automatic 4×4: $70,500 ($67,990 drive away)

 

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