Strong on toughness

by Andy Bryenton

There are two ways to build a reliable, hard-working utility truck. The first is to come up from the roots of the ute concept — adapting the classic layout of a big sedan and adding a flat deck. The other way is to start at the other end — with an honest to goodness truck. 

Isuzu is no stranger to building trucks and the big diesel engines that power them. Vast swathes of South East Asia have been built by Isuzu’s heavy haulers, many of which have faced conditions that would crumble lesser machines. That’s why when the Isuzu name appeared on a ute called the D-Max in the not so distant past, it was well worth a look. Those familiar with the tough Bighorn and MU SUVs certainly took note, and a quick pop of the bonnet justified their curiosity. 

Experience building those big diesel mills has been distilled down into the 4JJ1 turbo diesel — three litres of hightorque combustion armed with modern turbo technology for even more grunt. Just looking at the components of the D-Max’s engine gives one pause; they are visibly bigger and more solidly built than those from other utes in the market. That’s something you feel on the road, with 3.5 tonnes of towing capacity at your disposal. But it’s also something that will pay dividends during the life of the vehicle. Using truck components means that this is a serious workhorse. Big roller bearings and a stainless timing chain are just a couple of examples.

That’s not so say that the D-Max isn’t up for its fair share of adventure, either. There’s a reason this ute is a favourite of hunters, teamed up with the founder of outdoor clothing label Swazi. 

And there’s no bare-bones approach to comfort here, either.

A well-appointed cabin filled with all the modern gadgets and safety features comes as standard. It’s proof that the world’s largest diesel manufacturer can blend toughness and reliability with comfort and sharp looks, creating a modern masterpiece.