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Isuzu D-MAX Offers Lower Cost 4x4 Ute, Bags its EX - (Australia)

July 7th, 2009

The increasingly popular Isuzu D-Max diesel one-tonne ute and cab/chassis range is adding a lower cost SX 4x4 crew cab ute to its line-up, saving buyers around $1800.  

With an MLP¹ of $38,200 plus on-road costs or approximately $42,200 driveaway², the SX 4x4 crew ute is D-Max’s first addition since being launched locally late last year.

Despite its lower price than the higher-spec D-Max LS-M, the SX still offers a generous standard feature list including air-conditioning, ABS with EBD,  LSD, dual airbags, power door locks, remote entry, CD/FM/AM MP3 audio and electric windows with one-touch driver’s glass up and down.

Air bags
Distributor Isuzu Ute Australia has also added dual front airbags as standard in its basic farm spec EX 4x4 single cab /chassis, now priced at $29,900 MLP plus on-road costs or $31,600 MLP with the standard endorsed alloy 2.55m tray body fitted or around $35,600 driveaway². This completes dual airbag fitment across the D-Max range.

The new SX crew ute comes with D-Max’s 4x4 package of three-tonne maximum tow capacity, high 225mm ground clearance, ultra-low low-range crawler first gear with anti-stall—ideal for negotiating very steep slopes, steel plate sump and transfer case guards, fuel tank shield, wider track 16”x7” wheels with meaty 245/70 tyres, wheel arch flares, push-button dash controls for 2WD/4WD/low range selection and shift-on-the-fly up to 100 km/h between 2WD and 4WD High.

The SX 4x4 crew ute shares the economical and torquey 3.0 litre common-rail, variable-vane  turbo-diesel engine featured in the rest of the D-Max range, with maximum torque of 360 Nm at 1800→2800rpm, 120kW maximum power at 3200rpm and ADR 81/02 fuel economy rated in this model at a competitive 8.4 litres/100km combined urban/highway.  This engine also powers Isuzu’s NLR/NNR 200 series two-tonne truck ranges. No other competitor in the one-tonne ute class uses an engine from a bigger truck.

“Isuzu has a 70-year history of building trucks big and small and diesel engines and it shows in
D-Max, which is a true truck built compact, with all the hidden engineering and reliability strengths built in and some class-leading attributes,” said Hitoshi Kono, managing director of Isuzu Ute Australia.

In demand
“D-Max’s order bank last month more than doubled to over 560 and almost all are private or small business buyers as we haven’t established into the big fleets and government sectors yet.  This new SX 4x4 crew ute will appeal to many of these fleet buyers.

“We’ll soon have new stocks arriving to meet the increasing D-Max demand as word spreads of our presence,” Mr Kono said.

The country’s highest-circulation off-road magazine, Australian 4WD Action, has named the higher-series D-Max LS-U 4x4 crew ute its “4WDers’ Ute Of The Year 2009”, after testing the top six selling diesel utes over several gruelling days of tough trail driving in the rugged country around Hill End in NSW.

The eight-person judging panel included real world 4x4 users including a farmer, a tradie, a single bloke, a ‘grey nomad’ and a young mother with toddler.

The D-Max proved itself the most economical in the class, it matched the best in driving prowess over the rough stuff and was more affordable than the others.

Neat fit
With the neatest overall length in its class of just over 4.9 metres, but still offering a sizeable load tub and roomy rear seat, the D-Max SX 4x4 crew ute will fit into smaller garages with room to walk around or open its tailgate, not so possible with most of its competitors. This is mainly due to its short 770mm front overhang—the shortest of all the Japanese-design one-tonne utes and cab/chassis—which also gives D-Max 4x4 its acute 34.6° approach angle, a boon in more serious off-roading.

Isuzu truck design integrity shows in many detail areas like the eight-crossmember chassis with underslung supports for tailshaft and fuel tank, double needle roller bearings for the rear wheels and kerbside offset spare wheel wind-down access so towed trailers don’t have to be unhitched. 

A good example is the SX (and LS-M) crew ute’s cabin guard frame which stands slightly higher than the cabin roof so it doubles as a ladder rack. It also unbolts for a better look if a sports bar is fitted or facilitates fitting a canopy or hard tonneau, avoiding the rust-inducing cutting off of the welded-on frames on others. Additionally, it bolts back on at trade-in time if the canopy transfers to a new ute. 

¹Manufacturer’s List Price incl GST
²Actual driveaway price depends on state & dealer location & buyer profile

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