Extra oomph persuaded company to keep bigger engine in face-lifted range

Isuzu Ute Australia has hinted at the performance potential lurking within the 3.0-litre diesel engine in the MU-X SUV and D-Max ute.

Speaking to CarAdvice, Mark Harman, PR and sponsorship manager at Isuzu Ute Australia, said the extra torque on offer in the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, along with the potential for more performance, were key factors in the decision to ignore smaller engine options from overseas when developing the refreshed MU-X and D-Max.

“Our package right now is very capable – if anything it’s under-strung. It’s under-stressed,” Harman said. “Its outputs are lower than the others, and it’s a very de-stressed engine.”

“Its compression ratio is quite low, and so is the turbo boost pressure. Is there more in the engine? You could jump on a forum and you could see what they’re pushing, and it’s incredible numbers.

“I’d say there’s more for this engine in development, which is why we have taken the 3.0-litre diesel for 2017 onwards – as opposed to the 2.5 and a 1.9 that was teased to us by Isuzu Motors.”

The current range-topping Ford Ranger Wildtrak produces 147kW and 470Nm, while the HiLux SR5 makes 130kW and 450Nm. Meanwhile, the VW V6 Amarok has 165kW of power and 550Nm of torque on tap, and a more powerful Ford Ranger Raptor is on the way.

Although he wouldn’t be drawn on whether Isuzu was preparing a hotter D-Max to tackle more powerful, expensive rivals, Harman said the company was watching the segment “closely”.

He also suggested more special-edition D-Max models could be on the cards, but wouldn’t commit to offering a tarted-up truck – think HiLux SR5 or Ford Ranger Wildtrak – as a full time model.

“We currently have a few of those [limited editions] in our range,” Harman said, sitting in the passenger seat of a D-Max on the beach in Fraser Island.

“They come into our range, and then they’re introduced as a limited edition, then they sell out quite quickly, which is a good problem to have.

“Every once in a while, we’ll run and launch an X-Runner… We like to keep it exclusive and limited to our customers as a favour to them. They’ve been loyal to us, that’s what we’re doing for them.

“You may see more special editions, whether or not the line-up expands… you’ll have to watch this space.”