The 2020 Isuzu D-Max ute is due in Australian showrooms in July, will be powered by a revised version of its 3.0-litre turbo diesel, and all models will come standard with advanced safety technology to achieve an expected five-star rating across the range.
While Isuzu Ute Australia is yet to confirm pricing or timing – and declined to comment on this story – the Isuzu dealer network has already been given a confidential briefing on the first completely new D-Max in eight years.
The 3.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine will carry over from before, but has had a major overhaul and now pumps out 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm from 1600rpm to 2600rpm (up from 130kW/430Nm in the current model).
While there had previously been speculation about the arrival of the 1.9-litre turbo diesel (110kW/350Nm) offered overseas, that engine has been ruled out for Australia for now.
Confidential dealer sources also told CarAdvice that Isuzu will democratise its advanced safety systems, fitting them as standard across the range so even the most basic tradie models and mining packs have the potential for a five-star ANCAP rating.
Dealers were not given indicative pricing during their confidential briefings however CarAdvice expects the cost of the new Isuzu D-Max could increase, to account for new features and technology.
Top end models will come with bi-LED headlights and LED tail-lights, while inside there is a new 9.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, a digital speed display in the instrument cluster, and dual zone air-conditioning.
It will also gain other creature comforts such as dusk-sensing headlights, and height- and reach-adjustable steering, the latter only available on the Toyota HiLux, Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen Amarok.
While not everyone is a fan of the current Isuzu D-Max ute’s recent shift to a three-leaf rear suspension set-up, the company has a revised three-leaf design on the 2020 model overseas (see picture below).
Isuzu says the new three-leaf rear suspension is manufactured with Warm Stress Shot Peening (WSSP) technology to improve strength.
According to the Isuzu Thailand website, this enables the three-leaf rear suspension to be “stronger than normal, but with better flexibility and a smoother ride”.
It is unclear if Australian models will get this revised three-leaf design or revert to a five-leaf set-up.
The 2020 Isuzu D-Max is one of the most anticipated cars to go on sale in Australia this year. The current model, introduced in 2012, has sold well despite being one of the oldest utes in its class.
There is a possibility the D-Max’s introduction could be delayed until after July if sales of the current runout model stall due to external factors.
For example, since Isuzu dealers were given the July timing for the new model, Holden has announced massive discounts of between $15,000 and $17,500 on Colorado four-wheel-drive utes in the wake of the closure of the brand. Depending on how much stock Holden is sitting on, this could dent sales of rival ute brands.
Meanwhile, it is still unclear when the 2021 Mazda BT-50 will be unveiled. After Mazda ended its decades-long partnership with Ford, it approached Isuzu to jointly develop its next generation ute.
CarAdvice understands the Mazda BT-50 version of the new Isuzu D-Max will be unveiled in the second half of this year and arrive in Australian showrooms in the first half of 2021. While each ute will have unique bodywork, both will share identical engines and technology.