The 2020 Isuzu D-Max ute has been released in Thailand. A power boost for the 3.0-litre engine, better off-road ability, advanced safety tech, Apple Car Play and Android Auto are the headline acts.
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The next generation Isuzu D-Max has officially broken cover in Thailand ahead of its Australian showroom arrival in 2020.

Loaded with technology, the new model has catapulted the Isuzu D-Max from a bare bones proposition to one of the most advanced utes in the class.

These latest images taken from the Isuzu website in Thailand show the next generation Isuzu D-Max is all-new from the ground up and has grown in every dimension.

The big news is under the bonnet: the 3.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder lives on and has been given a power boost from the current model’s 130kW/430Nm output to 140kW/450Nm.

This power figure puts the new Isuzu D-Max into the thick of the action among the class leaders (Ford Ranger 2.0TT 157kW/500Nm, Toyota HiLux 130kW/450Nm, Mitsubishi Triton 133kW/430Nm, Holden Colorado 147kW/500Nm, Nissan Navara 140kW/450Nm, Mazda BT-50 147kW/470Nm).

The new Isuzu D-Max promises to be more capable off-road. A rear differential lock has finally been added (the current Isuzu D-Max doesn’t even have a limited-slip, it’s an open diff) and the wading depth has increased from 600mm to 800mm, equal best with the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50. Any deeper and these utes will start to float.

Hill descent control and hill start assist will also form part of the off-road package. The front brake discs have grown from 300mm to 320mm in diameter but the rears appear to still be drum brakes.

The interior of the new Isuzu D-Max has had a major makeover and is a big leap forward from the basic design of the current model.

In the centre of the dash is a 9.0-inch tablet-style central touchscreen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and the instrument cluster has a large 4.2-inch digital dash display – with a digital speedometer.

Among the long list of basic mod-cons added – not available on the current D-Max – include one-touch three-flash indicators, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers and height-and-reach adjustable steering.

A sensor key with push-button start unlocks the vehicle within 2 metres of approach and automatically locks when the sensor key is moved more than 3 metres away.

An eight-speaker surround sound audio system is available on top-end models. Flagship versions also get perforated leather sports seats.

To cool the cabin in summer and warm it in winter before you get in, certain variants of the new Isuzu D-Max have remote engine start. Dual zone air-conditioning is available and rear air vents have been added for back seat passengers.

The new D-Max is available with a UV-protection windscreen and has “wet” wiper arms (the washer nozzles are embedded into the blade rather than squirting from the bonnet).

Meanwhile, new factory-fitted parking sensors have four sensor heads each for the front and rear for more accurate warnings. The extra parking sensors form part of the new Isuzu D-Max's auto parking mode, which means the power steering has switched from hydraulic to electric. The rear bumper now has a more integrated design.

The video presentation to media in Thailand showed the new Isuzu D-Max will be available with advanced safety aids such as rear cross-traffic alert and blind zone warning. Although autonomous emergency braking was not highlighted, this is expected to be added to Australian models given it is now a requirement for five-star safety ratings.

As CarAdvice reported last week when the teaser video appeared, although it looks familiar this is in fact an all-new truck from the ground up – and the first full model change for the Isuzu D-Max since the current version went on sale in 2012.

The Mazda version of the Isuzu ute is due to follow about 12 months after the debut of the D-Max. Mazda is poised to end its pick-up partnership with Ford after more than 30 years and will switch to sharing Isuzu's platform from 2021.

While it appears the Isuzu D-Max 3.0-litre looks set to live on, there is a possibility the twin turbo 1.9-litre Isuzu diesel available in other countries – and complied to more advanced Euro VI emissions standards rather than the current Euro V mandated in Australia – could be added to the D-Max range as an option on certain models.

Isuzu Ute Australia is yet to confirm any details about the 2020 D-Max for the local market or when in 2020 it is due to go on sale. We will keep you updated as soon as we know exactly what engines Australia is getting and when the new model is due to arrive in showrooms.