Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
After the successful Luzon launch of the D-MAX LS-A variant, Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) finally brought the newest iteration of its best-selling pickup to Cebu. Held at the SM Cebu Seaside Mall, the event also kicked off the “Tough Enough” lifestyle campaign. This involved the newest variant along with other existing D-MAX 4X4 versions for a public test drive at the open parking grounds. This enabled the pickup truck to demonstrate its durability, fuel efficiency and overall value for money.
“The D-MAX LS-A represents nearly a century of Isuzu’s experience and innovation in the design, engineering and workmanship of diesel-powered utility vehicles. The D-MAX LS-A is infused, as well, with features that address the demands of a market that value both hard work and play, business with leisure,” IPC President Hajime Koso shared.
Highlighting the new LS-A variant is several touch of dark gray exterior trims all over. The front end has never been more commanding thanks to the darkened grill and bumper apron. That made the front silver accent more prominent. The new darkened trim went on to emphasize the bottom panels around the frame. These dark panels compliment the 18-inch two-tone and multi-spoke rims wrapped in 255/60 R18 TOYO tires.
Even the side step boards received the same treatment along with the rocker panel, cargo extender and roof rails. Overall, the fresh look of the D-MAX LS-A is IPC’s answer to the growing demands of the market in seek of utility vehicles capable of doing all the hard works and plays, while possessing that stylish character for business and leisure.
Motivation comes from the reliable, potent yet fuel-efficient 4JJ1-TCX 3.0-liter four-cylinder with Blue Power Technology turbodiesel engine equipped with VGS turbine and intercooler. It generates 175 hp and 380 N-m of maximum torque. Initially available in 4×4 drivetrains, IPC intends to offer the variant in 4×2 drivetrains as well in the coming months. Both versions will have an option for either a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift or a six-speed manual gearbox with gear shift indicator.
While the power plant and drivetrain are just the new LS-A’s starting points, it is also perfectly suited for the evolving demands of the market. Inside and out, the D-MAX LS-A offers complete package of features that cater to the modern Filipino lifestyle. This kind of known lifestyle maximizes the best qualities of the urban professional and the weekend adventurer. There’s the auto-climate control air-conditioning system, passive entry/push start-stop system, 12-volt accessory socket, three USB charging ports, 15 storage compartments and 10 cup holders.
Also present was Isuzu Cebu Inc. General Manager Steve Gingco. “Not only Cebu is a significant market for Isuzu D-MAX, it has also been a strategic barometer and influencer of auto trends across the VisMin region. Impressively, the D-MAX model holds an average of 10-percent share from the region’s sales within the network. “The segment’s share of sales in the region also doubled from 18 percent last year to 35 percent this year versus the region’s total vehicle sales.” he said.”
D-MAX LS-A in action
Meanwhile, mall goers and walk-in visitors were treated with an extreme 4×4 drive experience during the event’s Tough Enough lifestyle campaign. Two D-MAX LS-A variants along with other D-MAX 4×4 versions were commissioned for the test drives around the open grounds. Technical courses were put up for the vehicles to go through in order to showcase its toughness and off-roading capabilities.
These specifically designed obstacles were the downhill and uphill ramp to test the vehicle’s hill descent/ascent controls. Then there was the tight turn to test the vehicle’s turning radius followed by the mountain side hurdle with a 45-degree angle path. One of the toughest path was the elephant articulation section with deep potholes to test the truck’s suspension movements. Last, the table top section which displayed the D-MAX’s ability to climb ascents effortlessly. Truth be told, the test-drive event was so convincing that Isuzu Cebu closed several sales deals that day. These new D-MAX LS-A owners were recognized during the pickup’s official launch later that evening.
Image credits: Randy S. Peregrino