The updated, Thai-market Isuzu D-Max has made its way online. The tough-as-nails ute gets a new frontal design, revised cabin and — the biggest piece of news — the option of a new 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine.
It also appears that new six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions will be available on the D-Max range — at least in Thailand.
However, before we go further into the details, it remains to be seen how much of these Thai-market changes will apply to Australia. Our market is the second-biggest for Isuzu Ute worldwide.
Chief among the updates, according to the brochure information found on Thai site GPm4wd (which cites fellow Thai publication Headlight Mag), are the revised grille, front bumper and headlights, new bonnet and revised rear lights.
There are also new LED tube headlights with integrated daytime running lights, and new 18-inch alloy wheels, to feature on top-spec variants.
Inside the cabin is the option of a new TFT instrument setup, and a new 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It is unclear if there are any new trims to better match newer segment rivals as well.
But the biggest news involves the engine. The familiar 130kW/380Nm four-cylinder turbo-diesel remains — a key USP given its truck origins — but there’s also a new offering, for the Thai market at least.
It’s a 1.9-litre Ddi unit with a reported 110kW and impressive 350Nm of torque. It’s unclear what gearbox it gets and whether it meets Euro 5 compliance or better. One might speculate it’s been designed to meet stringent European demands.
We also understand that new six-speed auto and manual gearboxes will come on stream, though it’s unclear if this will be with both engines. The current 3.0 rocks five-speed manual or auto units. Details are scarce.
Naturally, you’d expect these changes to come on stream for Australia relatively soon, but Isuzu Ute is still working through the local-market specifics. It’s not confirmed if the new engine is coming, and whether this revised design will translate.
“Isuzu UTE Australia will monitor the market response to this update, to ensure that any new proposed design changes to the D-MAX, meet the Australian market’s requirements – before committing to any changes in the local Australian product,” the company told us.
This infers that, should the design in particular meet a negative response locally, it may be tweaked.
Isuzu Ute Australia has gone from strength the strength of late. Sales are up 31.5 per cent this year across the D-Max ute and MU-X off-road SUV range, to 15,352 units — more than Suzuki.
As we reported earlier, Isuzu Ute broadened its range of D-Max variants to 25 today.
Read how the Isuzu D-Max stacks up against its rivals in our recent eight-way 4×4 ute comparison test and accompanying video here.