ISUZU continues to level up its best-selling workhorse in the pickup segment competition with the introduction of special variants suited for the picky individuals.
From the introduction of the X-series which comes in two distinct color themes to the recently launched 2018 edition, the latest upgrades gave the D-MAX the much needed enhancements we’ve all been waiting for. But perhaps the most significant move the truck manufacturer ever did for the D-MAX and its sibling mu-X was the application of the new RZ4E 1.9-liter turbodiesel motor with Blue Power technology. This was Isuzu’s response to the global trend when it comes to producing engines with smaller displacement yet still capable of yielding substantial output.
Remarkably, this new powertrain even outgunned its 2.5-liter mill predecessor when it comes to output. Generating 148 horsepower and 350 N-m of maximum torque, the new RZ4E engine may have defied what we long believed about no replacement for engine displacement. Lighter by 60 kilograms, it even promotes better power-to-weight ratio. But, of course, Isuzu incorporated various technological advancements adapted from four years of extensive research and development in order to achieve the desired performance. Worthy to be featured this month is the 2018 D-MAX RZ4E LS 4×2 AT edition clad in radiant Sapphire Blue which we extensively tested during Isuzu’s previous drive event in La Union.
Exterior-wise, the aggressive fascia was retained but now sports the new Bi-LED projector headlamps with manual leveling controls for better illumination. There are also the integrated boomerang-shaped LED daylight running lights which further bring life to the fresh headlamps.
While the pronounced front grille still has the previous shape, Isuzu cleverly installed an extended chrome garnish united with the headlights for extra emphasis. Even the fog lamp housings received the same garnish combined with black plastic frames. The power-folding side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals also received chrome finishes along with the door handles. At the back, meantime, noticeable is the new spoiler-shaped tailgate design. As for the wheels, the new variant comes in 16-inch rollers wrapped in 245/70 series tires.
When it comes to the interior, the stylish yet athletic layout is endowed with numerous upgrades and add-ons. Let alone the new seven-inch touch-operated infotainment system equipped with connectivity functions. We also liked the additional USB terminals, particularly the one for the rear passengers, and 12-volt sockets promoting a more gadget-friendly cabin. The added leather trims with stitching details on the dashboard and door arm rests provided a touch of premium feel. Also, now there are more cup holders and multiple storage compartments. As for the snug seats, premium drapery with sporty design accent was utilized to match the paddings and bolsters. With comfy seats adjusted to the perfect driving position, everything else became smooth and relaxing.
Behind the wheel, we were impressed with the new engine’s unrelenting acceleration in reaching high-speed limits steadily and swift. The final gear only remained below the low-end rev range. In fact, even while intentionally changing the speed ranges, the new motor effortlessly picked up the pace with very minimal changes in the rev range. The RZ4E’s ability to handle the demands of overtaking was simply compelling. Every time the situation calls for it, the vehicle just went on without any hesitation. We were amazed with the level of response coming from a 1.9-liter mill in hauling the pickup’s large frame. Because there was no need to manually downshift, the six-speed automatic gearbox with sequential shift mode. All we had to do was step on it and the throttle response did the rest.
On the road, everything was tranquil inside while keeping within the freeway speed limits on the freeway. Notable was how quieter the engine now compared to its predecessor. Lighter in weight, the handling and control absolutely benefitted from it. Gone is the slight nose dive when doing tight turns from the heavier power plant. Likewise, sudden braking no longer poses excessive front-end descents. The large frame now maneuvers better along with justly accurate and responsive steering.
During the event’s eco-run challenge, the RZ4E D-MAX LS variant we tested achieved an excellent fuel consumption of 22.59 km/l or 4.96 liters in 112.05 kilometers. This was attained by maintaining an 80 km/h speed on the freeway with balanced acceleration. The method in computing the results was through Isuzu’s state-of-the-art diagnostic tool Global Isuzu Diagnostic Service System (G-IDSS). It scans all data parameters from the Electronic Control Module, Transmission Control Module, Anti-lock Braking System, and Immobilizer System. The result only proved that the RZ4E D-MAX LS is not just your typical tough, hardworking and reliable vehicles with the lifestyle attitude but are now even thriftier workhorses.
Meanwhile, the list of safety features is also a steal. Aside from the standard active functions such as dual SRS airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), the pickup is also equipped with brake assist (BA) and the Brake Override System (BOS)—a notable failsafe measure where brakes take precedence and override the accelerator input in case both pedals are accidentally pressed at the same time. Unquestionably, the 2018 RZ4E D-MAX gets the job done and perfectly suits the 4×2 setup in favor of better fuel efficiency while still being substantially powerful.
- Exterior enhancement
- Cabin improvements
- New RZ4E engine
- Engine torque
- Impressive fuel-efficiency
- More 12-volt sockets and USB terminals
- No rear bed liner
- Vehicle Isuzu D-MAX RZ4E LS 4×2 AT
- Type Pickup truck
- Engine 1.9-line, inline four-cylinder, turbodiesel with Variable Geometry System and Blue Power technology
- Maximum power 148hp at 3,600rpm
- Maximum torque 350N-m at 1,800-2,600rpm
- Transmission Six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift
- Overall length 5,295 mm
- Overall width 1,860 mm
- Overall height 1,785 mm
- Wheelbase 3,095 mm
- Tire size 245/70 R16
PRICE AS TESTED
- 249 million