Cheap new workhorse ute lands in Oz

One of the nation’s most trusted ute manufacturers has introduced a less expensive model of its widespread ute with a giant change underneath the bonnet.

Debate has raged for years about what measurement engine a load-lugging ute must ship significant efficiency and shift all of the issues utes are anticipated to shift.

Volkswagen kicked issues off in 2010 with a 2.0-litre for its first ute, the Amarok, whereas Ford sparked debate when it launched a 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine that outpunches the older 3.2-litre five-cylinder within the Ranger.

But Isuzu has taken downsizing to a brand new low with a 1.9-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel in its D-Max ute.

Available solely within the single-cab model of the entry-level SX 4×2 mannequin, the 1.9-litre shaves $2000 off the asking value in contrast with the three.0-litre four-cylinder that’s fitted to different D-Maxes. The newest deal has the SX at $29,990 drive-away, making it the most affordable approach right into a D-Max.

For that value you’ll be shifting gears your self. There aren’t any offers on autos, that are about $40,000 drive-away. That’s fairly the step up for leaving the gear altering to a pc, though you would possibly be capable of speak the vendor down if you happen to’re prepared to purchase.

The large query is whether or not the smaller engine is as much as the duty.

With 110kW and 350Nm it’s nicely off the 140kW and 450Nm outputs of the usual D-Max engine.

That’s not the entire story, although, particularly when you think about that almost all two-seat utes will likely be doing most of their work round city.

While capability is down by 37 per cent, energy is barely down by 21 per cent and torque 22 per cent.

The 1.9-litre D-Max is a featherweight by trendy ute requirements. At 1620kg for the auto it’s 80kg lighter than its 3.0-litre SX sibling and about 400kg lighter than the dual-cabs which might be widespread with adventurers and households.

The 1.9-litre additionally has a shorter ultimate drive ratio, so the engine is revving sooner at any given pace. By 70km/h, for instance, you’re nicely into third gear whereas within the 3.0-litre it doesn’t seize third till 74km/h.

It means the 1.9-litre within the base ute doesn’t really feel wildly totally different in suburban acceleration to an Isuzu MU-X with the three.0-litre. The greater the pace and the extra weight you’re carrying the extra pronounced the distinction.

Shorter gearing means greater revs when cruising, so at 100km/h in sixth the 1.9 is ticking over at 1650rpm, whereas the three.0 is at 1500rpm.

The 1.9 is extra economical, with claimed consumption for the auto of seven.0 litres per 100km, or nearly 13 per cent lower than the three.0. Plus it’ll prevent $140 in servicing over the primary 5 years.

So, the numbers add up, essential for enterprise patrons who’re the goal for a ute at this finish of the market.

Tow capability is down from the 3500kg restrict of the three.0-litre fashions, however at as much as 3000kg (2800kg for the handbook) it’s nonetheless helpful.

Elsewhere, the D-Max SX is a fundamental little bit of package, with single zone airconditioning that even has an old-fashioned slider to recirculate air. Mechanical dials alter the temperature and fan pace.

The four-speaker sound system lacks depth and also you’ll should pop a key within the ignition as a substitute of urgent a button.

The largest disappointment is the touchscreen, which seems large till you begin the automobile and realise that a big a part of the 7.0-inch display is taken up by large black borders. At least there’s wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though we want there was a quantity dial.

Isuzu hasn’t skimped on security gear.

There’s a reversing digicam, speed-sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking and driver consideration monitoring, whereas auto fashions get hit or miss lane-keeping help tech.

Elsewhere, the D-Max is about work. Steel wheels look useful and the aluminium tray holds masses. Vinyl flooring are extra about cleansing than consolation.

The suspension is rugged courtesy of “heavy duty” rear leaf springs that buck and jar when unladen. It’s a real workhorse ute screaming for at the very least a number of hundred kilos aboard to settle it down.

The SX could also be a fundamental, no-frills proposition however its small diesel will get the job accomplished with a minimal of fuss.


An trustworthy workhorse that makes a convincing case for engine downsizing.


Price: From about $40,000

Engine: 1.9-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 110kW/350Nm

Warranty/servicing: 6 yrs/150,000km, $2175 for five yrs

Safety: 8 airbags, autonomous emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keep help (auto solely), blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, driver monitor

Thirst: 7.0L/100km

Spare: Full measurement

Tow capability: 2800kg (handbook), 3000kg (auto)

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