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September 18, 2013

Isuzu Philippines Corporation Launches All-New D-Max

Photos by Ulysses Ang
What were you doing in November 2003? The month the Concorde supersonic jet made its last ever flight over Bristol, England, Isuzu Philippines Corporation launched a game-changing pick-up called the D-Max to replace its venerable Fuego range. Amidst intense competition from its rivals, the D-Max has remained one of Isuzu’s perennial best-sellers, garnering an unbelievable 44-percent market share at one point. A decade later and 20,000 satisfied owners later, Isuzu’s hoping to continue its hot streak with the launch of the all-new D-Max—the model’s first comprehensive model change since its launch.

Designed and built with the concept of “Comfortable, Sporty, Wide & Steady Buddy”, the all-new D-Max delivers maximum refinement and comfort without sacrificing utility, ruggedness, and durability—traits that Isuzu’s world-renowned for. Standing toe-to-toe with the previous model, the all-new D-Max is larger in every dimension. It’s 260 mm longer (5,295 mm), 60 mm wider (1,860 mm), and 60 mm taller (1,795 mm); while wheelbase has increased by 45 mm (3,095 mm). The D-Max features a highly fluidic appearance characterized by its large projector-type headlamp cluster, trademark six-point grille, and low hood line at the front; the large side mirrors and hard character crease on the side; and the high-visibility LED tail lamp cluster at the back. Indeed, the D-Max’s proportions are honed using the various wind tunnels testing Japan’s famous bullet trains achieving a shape that’s one of the pick-up segment’s most aerodynamic.

The athletic form aside, the D-Max takes passenger comfort and convenience to a new level, especially in the range-topping LS or Life Style variants. Ingress and egress is made easier now thanks to enlarged door openings and pillar-mounted grab handles for the front occupants. Inside, the D-Max offers a much more spacious cabin with improved head, shoulder, and leg room. The seats are covered in a unique mahogany shade leather, echoing upscale European cars. The driver is treated to the added convenience of a four-way power adjustable seat. At the back, all three occupants get adjustable headrests along with a center arm rest, providing car-like comfort. Meanwhile, there’s also the convenience of 15 storage compartments and 10 cup holders.

Designed with maximum visibility and ergonomics in mind, the D-Max’s elegant and sculpted dashboard features a new electroluminescent instrument cluster that integrates a multi-information display. Isuzu is also known particularly for its in-car entertainment system, and the all-new D-Max doesn’t disappoint. The integrated 2-DIN audio system features a multitude of connectivity options including MP3 and USB as well as Bluetooth hands-free. The D-Max also has a six-speaker system that includes first-in-class ceiling-mounted “exciter” speakers for a commendable aural experience.

Meanwhile, the LT (Light Truck) and single-cab variants of the D-Max are generously equipped with power windows, central door locks, a 1-DIN audio system, and durable vinyl seats as standard features.

Isuzu’s design philosophy with the D-Max’s drivetrain wasn’t to achieve best-in-class power or torque; rather it strives to provide efficient performance. To this end, under the muscular hood of the D-Max lies Isuzu’s tried-and-tested 4JJ1-TC 3.0-liter CRDi engine that produces 146 PS at 3,800 rpm and 294 Nm of torque at 1,400 to 3,400 rpm. On the base LT 4x2 and single-cab variants, the new 4JK1-TC 2.5-liter CRDi producing 109 PS at 3,400 rpm and 280 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 2,200 rpm provides the thrust. Both engines are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission as standard. And available for the first time, the LS 4x2 and 4x4 variants can be mated to a new Aisin 5-speed automatic with a sequential shift function for improved fuel efficiency and driving comfort.

Underneath, the D-Max features front Double Wishbones with coil springs (replacing the previous trailing arm) ensuring that riding comfort isn’t compromised despite an increase in tire size: the LS 4x4 is equipped with 255/65R17 tires while the LS 4x2 and LT variants ride on 245/70R16’s. In addition, the D-max boasts one of the highest ground clearances among pick-ups with 235 mm for the LS 4x4 and 225 mm for the LT 4x4 and LS 4x2 models. Boosting the D-Max’s off-road capability is the new 4WD Terrain Command Select Dial that allows the driver to switch from two-wheel to four-wheel drive high even while traveling at speeds up to 100 km/h. The D-Max also has a generous approach angle of 30 degrees and a departure angle of 22.7 degrees, and can be tilted sideways on a 49-degree slope. All 4x4 variants of the D-Max also come equipped with Limited Slip Differential allowing it to take on any obstacle or terrain.

As impressive as the new D-Max is, Isuzu Philippines Corporation gave the best bit of good news: it will be built at IPC’s world-class manufacturing facility in Binan, Laguna with assembly to start in the next few months. Committed to the Philippine automotive industry roadmap, Isuzu is ensuring the job security for its Filipino workforce, a fact reiterated that 90 percent of its models including the Crosswind, trucks, and buses are all assembled locally. In the interim, the all-new D-Max will be shipped CBU from Isuzu’s assembly plant in Thailand.

“Isuzu Philippines is optimistic over the prospects of the all-new D-Max pickup,” Mr. Nobuo Izumina, IPC President said. “Its arrival not only means that the Filipino market will get a product that adheres to global standards of excellence, but also that the vehicle will contribute to the growth of the Philippine automotive manufacturing sector.”

Indeed, the all-new Isuzu D-Max is priced to dominate and comes in no less than seven variants. Topping the range is the double cab LS 4x4 A/T (P 1,457,000), followed by the LS 4x4 M/T (P 1,398,000), LS 4x2 A/T (P 1,196,000), LS 4x2 M/T (P 1,144,000), LT 4x4 M/T (P 1,153,000), LT 4x2 M/T (P 857,000), and single cab 4x2 M/T (P 697,000). It’s available in five colors: Cosmic Black, Garnet Red, Ash Beige, Titanium Silver, and Splash White.


  1. I like the new body, interior but they should have at least upgraded the engine with VGT/VNT. I've had the first gen (2005) and currently have the second gen.

    1. This is the second gen "with a facelift"

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