Comfier suspension, better service intervals, new range-topper headline

Isuzu Ute Australia has given its enduringly popular D-Max and MU-X model range a series of mild updates for the 2018 model year.

Headlining the D-Max changes is the addition of a new LS-T dual cab (crew cab) range-topper to get on ‘premium’ ute buyers’ short lists. The LS-Terrain version was previously a limited-run, but it’s now a permanent family member.

This version gets 18-inch wheels with highway-terrain tyres, satellite-navigation, roof rails, a proximity key fob, seats trimmed with perforated leather on the bases and polyurethane leatherette on the bolsters, and new chrome/gloss black cabin finishes.

Another cabin upgrade that applies to this LS-T variant, as well as the cheaper LS-M and LS-U, is the fitment of 2.1A USB points — two up front and one for back-seat passengers mounted behind the console — in place of the old trickle chargers.

There are also a few new colours to make your MY18 model stand out. These are Magnetic Red Mica, Cobalt Blue Mica and Graphite Grey Metallic.

Side note: The MY18 Isuzu MU-X SUV also gets the new red colour option and 2.1A USBs.

Beyond the cosmetics, D-Max SX, LS-U and LS-T crew cab versions get rejigged ‘comfort’ rear suspension. The old five-leaf rear setup is gone, replaced by a three-leaf version. The loss of two leaves is offset by the fact these new ones are made of higher-grade steel.

Isuzu Ute promises there’s been no ill-effect to the payload capacity compared to its MY17 models.

The company’s engineers have also 're-assessed' the D-Max’s gross vehicle mass, upping the maximum vehicle mass by 100kg to 2950kg on the 4x2, and 4x4 versions to 3050kg. The 4x2 low-ride D-Max SX single cab has a massive 1349kg payload.

Isuzu Ute has also added a trailer sway control component to the ESC system to all versions except the base SX single cab manual low-rider. The company’s data says about half of all D-Max owners use their ute to tow. The braked-trailer capacity remains 3.5 tonnes.

On the safety front, the company has added a rear bumper and reversing camera to all ute-body versions — these features were previously available on most grades, not all.

The N-Series truck-sourced 3.0 turbo-diesel engine hasn’t changed, making a modest 130kW/430Nm, with the positive trade-off being how relaxed it is, theoretically improving running life. Most versions sold use an Aisin six-speed auto, but there’s a 6MT as well.

Finally, Isuzu has also extended its service intervals from 12 months/10,000km to 12 months/15,000km. Once upon a time these intervals were six months/10,000km.

The company’s aftersales care comprises a five year warranty with free roadside assist, plus five years of capped-price servicing at any of its 141 service centres, priced at (respectively, per visit) $350, $450, $500, $450 and $340. That’s $2090 for five years/75,000km.

We've published the recommended retail prices below, but as always take them with a grain of salt. The company offers permanent drive-away deals on its models so these RRPs are basically irrelevant. The dual cab models are actually priced between $39,990 and $50,990 drive-away.

18MY Isuzu D-MAX

Grade

Transmission

RRP

4 x 2

SINGLE CAB CHASSIS

SX

man

$28,600 

4 x 2

SINGLE CAB CHASSIS

SX

auto

$31,900 

4 x 2

CREW CAB CHASSIS

SX

auto

$37,500

4 x 2

SPACE CAB UTE

SX

auto

$36,300

4 x 2

CREW CAB UTE

SX

auto

$38,700

4 x 2

CREW CAB UTE

LS-U

auto

$44,100

4 x 2

CREW CAB UTE

LS-T

auto

$46,900

4 x 4

SINGLE CAB CHASSIS

EX

man

$35,000

4 x 4

SINGLE CAB CHASSIS

SX

man

$38,200

4 x 4

SINGLE CAB CHASSIS

SX

auto

$40,300

4 x 4

SPACE CAB UTE

SX

man

$41,000

4 x 4

SPACE CAB UTE

SX

auto

$43,100

4 x 4

CREW CAB CHASSIS

SX

man

$43,400

4 x 4

CREW CAB CHASSIS

SX

auto

$45,500

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

SX

man

$44,600

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

SX

auto

$46,700

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

LS-M

man

$46,900

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

LS-M

auto

$49,000

4 x 4

SPACE CAB UTE

LS-U

man

$46,600

4 x 4

SPACE CAB UTE

LS-U

auto

$48,700

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

LS-U

man

$48,800

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

LS-U

auto

$50,900

4 x 4

CREW CAB UTE

LS-T

auto

$54,700