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May 29, 2014

Isuzu Brings Off-Road Driving Thrills to Bacolod; Next Stop: Cagayan de Oro

Executives present during the opening ceremony on May 23, from left, IPC VP for Administration Akira Okumura; Isuzu Bacolod President/General Manager Bing Uy; Executive Assistant to Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella , Manuel “Chuck” Garcia; IPC EVP Takashi Tomita; IPC SVP for Sales Arthur Balmadrid; and, IPC Consultant for Manufacturing Tadao Takenouchi.
First was Pampanga, followed by Cebu. From May 23 to 25, 2014, Bacolod came next as the venue for the third leg of the 2014 Isuzu D-Max 4x4 Drive Series. This brings to more than a thousand the number of people who have test-driven the latest D-Max pickup in specially designed off-road tracks.

In the driving event, participants were able to experience and were amazed at the off-road capabilities of the D-Max 4x4 in the challenging stations that comprised the course laid out at the grounds near the Saint Pope John Paul Memorial Tower at Rizal Street corner Simplicio Palanca Avenue (at the back of SM) in Bacolod City. This year’s holding of the D-Max 4x4 Drive Series in Bacolod marked the third time that the event came there, following those that were held in 2008 and 2010.

Similar to the earlier Pampanga and Cebu editions, the stage held at the City of Smiles demonstrated to the participants the advantages offered by four-wheel-drive vehicles. It also gave them the opportunity to learn some of the special driving skills required when traversing rough terrain. Teaching them were instructors who are experts at off-road driving.

The experience gave participants an idea of the real-world applications of four-wheel-drive vehicles like the D-Max 4x4. Bacolod, home of the famous Masskara Festival, is also known for its sugarcane plantations. Almost all of the province’s agricultural land is planted to sugarcane, with the rest to coconut, banana, rice and other crops. Traversing this landscape means a pickup is an ideal vehicle, especially 4x4s which can handle rough terrain.

This makes the latest D-Max perfect for the job. Isuzu’s pickup model has a new suspension system composed of independent double wishbone with coil springs in front and semi-elliptical over-slung leaf springs in the rear, making it capable of carrying a heavy payload. It also boasts of one of the highest ground clearances among pickups with a 235mm height for the LS 4x4 and 225mm for the LT 4x4 variants.

Boosting the off-road capability of the D-Max is Isuzu’s new 4WD Terrain Command Select Dial that allows the driver to switch from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive high even while traveling at speeds of up to 100kph. The pickup has 30-degree approach angle, a 22.7-degree departure angle, and can be tilted sideways on a 49-degree slope. It is equipped with a Limited Slip Differential, which lets it pass over any obstacle.

Numerous obstacles also littered the special off-road track that duplicated Bacolod’s geography. These included 40-degree hill climb done in first gear and in second gear; 40-degree hill climb with a stall midway up; 40-degree descent without braking; lateral climb mount; driving over “elephant holes”; tackling trail ruts; camber right and camber left sides up in 40-degree angles; traversing a roundabout cone; lateral descent ditch crossing; driving over cross axle articulation rails; and going on a steel inclined plane with rollers.

“It is notable that Bacolod has always been included in our D-Max 4x4 Drive Series since it was first held in 2008,” Isuzu Philippines’ Executive Vice President Takashi Tomita said at the event’s opening. “This is not surprising as Bacolodnons are one of the strongest supporters of Isuzu products in the country. For this, allow me to extend my sincere gratitude on behalf of Isuzu Philippines.”

After the Bacolod leg, Isuzu will hold the D-Max 4x4 Drive Series in Cagayan de Oro City on June 6 to 8, and in Davao City on June 20 to 22.

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