ISUZU Philippines Corporation (IPC) has always used the extreme lahar-covered valleys of Central Luzon to prove the mettle of its vehicles. When Mount Pinatubo reawakened in 1991—spewing five cubic kilometers of volcanic debris in the process—the low-lying areas surrounding it (including Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales) were blanketed by trillions of cubic meters of sand creating a vast 4×4 playground.
In 2002, after the dust had settled and the lahar all firmed up, IPC brought the Isuzu Fuego to Mount Pinatubo via the Crow Valley route, where the pick-up etched a new template in validating a vehicle’s capability and dependability.
Two years after the successful event, IPC went back to the area, this time using the successor of the Fuego, the D-Max. Bigger and better, the all-new pick-up truck skillfully crawled over lahar, mud, river crossings, rocks and even boulders. In 2006, IPC brought the newly launched 4×4 variants of the Alterra where it awed the media participants after the SUV ably went over the extremely challenging terrain. By then, it was obvious IPC had already marked the lahar-laden area as its territory, turning it into its playground of sorts.
In 2009, IPC once again brought the D-Max back to its playground. This time, it was the locally-assembled variant and an off-road version of the pick-up truck that were put through its paces.
Back to the ‘playground’
Now that the second-generation D-Max is out, IPC returned to its playground to have the all-new pick-up truck go through the extreme terrain the area provides. This time, though, IPC used the Sapang Bato route, which provided a variety of off-road features including mud, lahar, river crossings, rocks and big boulders—all these while driving through tight but spectacular gorges.
As we brought the all-new D-Max back to Isuzu’s playground, we also brought with us IPC’s newly appointed president, Hajime Koso. Koso-san was no stranger to the competencies of the pick-up truck. At one point during the drive, he got behind of the wheel and skillfully piloted the D-Max through Sapang Bato’s extreme terrain. Ecstatic would be an understatement to describe how the new president felt as water splashed all over while he maneuvered the D-Max through the streams of water. Riding shotgun with Koso-san, you could hear his shrieks of enjoyment as the pick-up bounced up and down on a rocky stretch.
The Sapang Bato route not only proved the all-new D-Max’s abilities in tackling extreme road conditions – it also confirmed how fun the D-Max can be.
“We at Isuzu love to bring our vehicles here. Aside from the breathtaking view, it has a diverse form of terrain, including mud, sand, river crossings and big rocks. Add to that the unpredictable weather in the area, which alters the landscape in just a matter of minutes,” said Joseph Bautista, IPC head for product development.
“This is the best test bed for our vehicles. Even with the ever-changing landscape, it shows how skillful the D-Max really is as it is able to tackle diverse road conditions even in its stock form,” he added.