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October 11, 2019

The 2020 D-Max Gets All-New Engine, Platform; Looks Mighty Impressive

Isuzu has finally pulled the covers off its much-anticipated 2020 D-Max—the first time their venerable pickup truck has received a full-on model change in eight years. Utilizing a new powertrain and underpinned by an all-new platform, the D-Max now has what it takes to fight in the competitive pickup truck segment.

With sales starting in Thailand on October 19, the all-new D-Max uses a brand-new platform dubbed the Isuzu Dynamic Drive Platform. Since this pickup truck is a collaboration with Mazda, it makes sense that the platform, chassis, engine, and suspension all work cohesively to achieve balanced driving performance.

The body structure itself is stronger thanks to the use of ultra-high tensile steel for the first time. Furthermore, the use of high-strength steel is up from 30 to 46 percent. This results in 23 percent higher rigidity than the outgoing model. The lightweight frame also has expanded cross sections further improving impact absorption. Moreover, a shear mount is used in the place of the body mount in order to improve driving stability and lower NVH.

And while the chassis retains the same basic set-up (front independent wishbones and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs), the front employs high-mounted suspension arms with upper links, while the back has a wider tread and reduced mounting angle all to boost stability. The steering’s gear ratio has been improved to reduce the steering effort, while the D-Max now incorporates a tilt/telescopic steering wheel for improved driver comfort.

Under the hood, Isuzu is replacing its 4JJ1-TCX engine with the brand-new 4JJ3-TCX. Using high-pressure 250 MPa direct injection and electronically-controlled variable geometry turbocharger, it yields 190 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. Meanwhile, the 1.9-liter RZ4E moves to its second-generation. And while outputs remain more or less the same: 150 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque at 1,800 to 2,600 rpm—it accelerates faster thanks to optimized control systems.

The transmission options remain a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. For the RZ4E-equipped models, the automatic transmission has a downsized torque converter and lockup clutch with a wide-angle damper for improved response and fuel economy. Meanwhile, for four-wheel drive models, the propeller shaft is now made of aluminum, while a new electromagnetic rear differential lock enhances traction while reducing the time to switch between 2- and 4-wheel drive modes. With this, the D-Max joins the 800-mm water wading club while gaining an impressive 240 mm of ground clearance.

Inside, the D-Max uses low-rebound MDI polyurethane material for the seats to reduce fatigue during long drives while employing 8-way power adjust for optimal comfort. The rear seats have also been improved for greater comfort along with easier ingress/egress thanks to B-pillar mounted assist grips and larger door openings. The instrument cluster incorporates a 4.2-inch colored multi-information display, while the 9-inch infotainment system incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The sweeping dashboard uses highly-textured surfaces for a sportier, more premium look. Push-button engine start/stop with walkaway automatic lock, dual automatic climate control with rear air vents, and a UVA/UVB filtering windshield round out the luxury features. Safety features include 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing wipers.

Outside, the angular and wedge-shaped body constitutes a more powerful presence. Bi-LED headlights are available as are dual LED taillights. Furthermore, the step bumper is fully integrated into the rear bumper for a more sophisticated look. On the top trim model, the standard tire size is 265/60R 18.


  1. Hoping Isuzu Philippines discard the AVT head units that are outdated and install head units with Apple Car play and Android Auto with smartphone mirroring. This model will be more competitive against the high end pickups.

  2. Unless D-Max has an engine with cap equal or more than the Raptor least the can not regain much desires or appeal to buying customers. Besides the features they has now are features of other brand from 3 years ago.

    1. Di naman features lang ang habol ng ibang buyer sa pickup, diba. Yung iba tibay o di kaya tipid. Pati space na din sa bed at payload capacity. Kaya aanhin mo ang extra features kung di mo naman gagamitin. 🤓

    2. High end variant ata yung habol niya. Justifiable naman maghahanap ng features kung gagasto ka ng almost 2m pesos for a pickup truck. Dun ka sa mga base model kung ayaw mo ng features.

  3. Nuaaaa..... We will see what will happen in actual.

  4. Based on actual test. The new isuzu dmax is faster than the Raptor from 0 to 100 kpj and much better performance against hilux and other pick up accdg. to HeadlightMag.


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