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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new 2012 Isuzu D-Max ute has been unveiled ahead of its Australian launch in the first half of next year.

The new ute was revealed in Thailand, hot on the heels of yesterday’s unveiling of the Chevrolet Colorado. The 2012 Holden Colorado will go on sale in Australia in the first quarter of next year.

Like the previous-generation models, the new D-Max and Colorado share the same bodywork and interior design, but will now offer different drivetrain technology.

Depending on the market, the new Isuzu D-Max will be available with two diesel engines, including two different tunes of a 2.5-litre engine (87kW/280Nm and 101kW/320Nm) and a 132kW/380Nm 3.0-litre.

Isuzu Ute Australia’s Cornelius Ionescu said the 3.0-litre diesel was locked in for our market, with the 2.5-litre under consideration but less likely at this stage. The new D-Max will be offered with five-speed manual and five speed automatic transmission options (a step-up from the outgoing model’s four-speed auto box).

Mr Ionescu confirmed the Isuzu D-Max would continue to be offered in all three body styles: Single Cab, Space Cab and Crew Cab. Customers will also continue to have a choice of rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models.

Like the Colorado, the Isuzu D-Max Space Cab variant will get rear-hinged doors for improved cabin access. Isuzu says the new model’s ‘i-Grip’ platform underpins a body that is 42 per cent stiffer than before, leading to improved ride and handling characteristics.

Like the Colorado, the D-Max will be available with an advanced safety package, with features including electronic stability control, traction control, ABS, brake assist and a number of airbags.

In the first nine months of this year, Isuzu Ute Australia sold 898 D-Max 4x2s and 3774 D-Max 4x4s, giving it a 2.2 per cent share of the 4×2 pick-up segment and a 5.0 per cent share of the 4×4 pick-up segment. The 4×2 variant trails the Colorado by just 106 units, while the Colorado has a 4156-unit lead in the 4×4 segment.

More details will be revealed closer to the Australian launch of the Isuzu D-Max in the first half of next year. Stay tuned.