Leaner but meaner: 2015 Isuzu D-Max

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DMAX20150428LESS is more. This was the new mantra of Isuzu Philippines Corporation when it introduced the revamped version of 2015 Isuzu D-Max pickup truck which now comes with a smaller engine, but still powerful engine.

In answer to the continuous introduction of pickup trucks with lower-displacement engines, Isuzu has joined the fray with the introduction of its new-technology 2.5-liter 4JK1-TCX engine with common rail direct injection (CRDI) and an inter-cooled Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger. Although the 4JK1-TCX is a smaller engine compared to its predecessor, the 4JJ1-TC, this new power plant still packs a maximum power output of 134 horsepower (only 12 less than the 4JJ1-TC) and 320 Nm of torque (26Nm more than the 4JJ1-TC).

The upgraded 2015 D-MAX LS comes with a new set of projector headlamps and LED combination rear lamps, custom bed-liner with Isuzu logo, and reverse sensor system. The new LT-X variant is also equipped with a custom designed bed-liner and a 15-inch alloy wheels with 215/70 R15 Bridgestone tires.

Even as the exterior of the 2015 variant looks very much the same as its predecessor, IPC still introduced a batch of new models including the LT-X 4×2 standard-ride model which is powered by its new 4JK1-TC 2.5-liter engine with a maximum power capacity of 116 hp and 280Nm torque. The high-end variant LS and standard LT 4×4 will have the more powerful 4JK1-TCX (Hi) 2.5-liter engine.

To prove that the smaller-displacement engines are up to the task of powering the D-Max, the unveiling of the new trucks was held at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga, where on-road and off-road track sessions were held.


In the on-road test, the D-MAX LS was made to race around the two-kilometer short track of the CIS.  Sprinting from standstill, there was a noticeable power difference when compared with the previous 3.0-liter 4JJ1 engine.  With the 4JK1-TCX’s VGS, maximum engine torque is reached at a fairly reasonable time but the power plateaus immediately after—giving a feeling of power deficiency. But we have to consider that pickup trucks were not made for racing, and with that in mind, our fair rating for the new engine is that it performed reasonably well, for its purpose of pulling cargo and people.

One good thing that came out from the on-road test was the fact that the D-Max handled pretty well.  Racing the D-Max through the twists and turns of the short-track proved how maneuverable this truck really is. The D-Max never lost control while at speed in the tight corners and body-roll was moderate considering that the pickup stands tall.

In the off-road test, the D-Max was a winner as it skillfully tackled the obstacles that peppered the two-kilometer-long off-road track.  The obstacles included a steep hill-descend, a set of deep elephant holes, a right-hand camber descend, a V-trench, an articulation ramp, several river crossings, sand drive, rock crawl and a 45-degree hill climb.

With the new 2.5-liter engine, IPC assures it customers that the new D-Max is “All You Need,” as it remains reliable, durable, fuel-efficient and most of all, safe.

“The 2015 Isuzu D-MAX has what a typical pick-up user would want in his/her truck. It is proven to show its top performance in whatever terrain – whether on or off road,” said IPC president Nobuo Izumina. “Our new Isuzu D-MAX LT-X MT 2.5L variant is fit not just to withstand the usual capabilities of the current pick-up trucks in the market but to go beyond the borders of stereotypes.”

Safety and Comfort
The new D-MAX LT-X and LS variants come with a new 2-DIN audio/video full-entertainment with navigation system that is complemented by a new interior trim.

With regard to safety, the D-MAX model recently passed the Asean New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) Standards and bagged the Best Child Occupant Protection award given by the Automobile Association of the Philippines.

The Isuzu D-Max was among the first pick-up trucks tested by the Asean NCAP, scoring 11.87 in the Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) category, which translates to a 4-star rating. And with the help of the new ISOFIX and top tether features, the model also received a 4-star rating in the Child Occupant Protection (COP) category.

“With the recent 4-star ratings that we received from the Asean NCAP, the D-MAX is now not just durable and dependable, it is also certified a safe ride for its passengers,” Izumina said.

New color and pricing
The 2015 Isuzu D-MAX now comes with the new Cobalt Blue color along with the existing colors Cosmic Black, Garnet Red, Titanium Silver and Splash White.

IPC made sure that the D-Max is competitively priced: with the top-of-the-line 4×4 LS AT priced at P1.487 million;  4×4 LS MT at P1.428 million; D 4×2 LS AT at P1.206 million; 4×2 LS MT at P1.154 million; 4X4 LT MT at P1.178 million; the LT-X MT at P935,000; LT MT at P872,000; and D-MAX MT Single Cab at P712,000.

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