The new-generation Isuzu D-Max will be the most advanced ute in its class when it goes on sale in September.
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The 2021 Isuzu D-Max will have the most advanced safety of any ute in Australia when it goes on sale in September, however we won’t know if it has earned a five-star crash score until a full round of testing is completed in the coming weeks.

Significantly, every model grade in the 2021 Isuzu D-Max line-up – from the base model cab-chassis with a dropside tray, to the new flagship X-Terrain – will come with advanced safety features, giving buyers in all price ranges access to the latest tech.

As reported by CarAdvice earlier this year, the Isuzu D-Max will be the first ute on sale in Australia with a centre airbag, which is designed to prevent front occupants from making contact in a side impact crash.

Until now, only the $200,000-plus Audi A8 limousine had this safety tech in Australia. Other vehicles to follow soon after with a centre airbag include the Toyota Yaris hatch and Kia Sorento SUV.

The centre airbag brings the total airbag count on the new Isuzu D-Max to eight, more than any other ute on sale in Australia. There are two front, two side, two curtain, one knee and one centre airbag.

The full complement of advanced airbags, new body structure – and a chassis twice as strong as its predecessor – are just some of the ingredients necessary to achieve a five-star safety result.

Crash avoidance technology is also crucial in the latest safety criteria set by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Which is why Isuzu has taken extra-ordinary steps to stop a crash from happening in the first place.

Autonomous emergency braking technology has been rolled out on new or updated utes over the past two years – including the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton – using radar or camera technology, or a combination of both.

Unlike most autonomous emergency braking systems, the Isuzu D-Max can also detect if someone is trying to turn across traffic in front of an oncoming car.

Uniquely, the 2021 Isuzu D-Max uses twin 3D cameras (versus the single camera systems used by other ute manufacturers) made by supplier Hitachi and mounted in the windscreen.

Isuzu says the twin cameras give a broader view which enables the tech to more precisely detect and measure distance – and the size and speed of other obstacles such as vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.

The cameras are located in the windscreen to keep them out of harm’s way – mud, dust and grime – and have been calibrated to account for the factory bullbar and whip aerials.

Isuzu says the camera technology has also been calibrated to ‘read’ Australian speed limit signs, including digital overhead advisories and work zones.

If radar cruise control is activated, the Isuzu D-Max will automatically reduce speed to the signposted limit.

On models equipped with manual transmission – which are not available with radar cruise control – the system trims engine power to slow the vehicle closer to the posted speed.

The new Isuzu D-Max will also inch along in start-stop traffic if radar cruise control has been activated.

For those who want to head off the beaten track and are concerned about AEB being activated prematurely by close proximity to obstacles, the advanced safety aid can be switched off though the menu on the digital dash display.

Back on the blacktop, all Isuzu D-Max models benefit from lane departure warning – gently applying the brakes on one side of the vehicle to keep it within lane markings.

Trailer sway control and a 3.5-tonne towing capacity remain, as per the previous model.

Rear cross-traffic alert is able to detect cars, pedestrians – and people pushing shopping trolleys – which is why the base model cab-chassis has a bumper scalp underneath the dropside tray.

Driver fatigue technology monitors steering input and the lane-keeping aid to determine if the driver is distracted or fatigued.

Should a severe accident happen causing the airbags to deploy, the Isuzu D-Max will automatically maintain brake pressure to reduce the severity of a possible subsequent collision.

The new Isuzu D-Max has front discs and rear drums, as per most rivals, but the front discs are 20mm larger in diameter than before, to 320mm (with 30mm thickness).

By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class has 320mm x 28mm front discs (and rear discs rather than drums). And the Volkswagen Amarok TDV6 has the biggest brake package in the mid-size ute class (332mm x 30mm discs up front and 300mm x 22mm discs at the rear).

Compared to the top two sellers, the Isuzu D-Max brakes stack up well on paper.

The Ford Ranger XLT and Wildtrak have comparatively small 302mm x 32mm front discs and rear drums; the Toyota HiLux has 319mm front discs clamped by four piston calipers.

The new D-Max has floating front callipers but Isuzu claims the brake pads have a larger swept area than those of the HiLux. Isuzu claims the net result is a shorter stopping distance than before and reduced brake fade.

The previous Isuzu D-Max was one of the few utes on sale in Australia without dusk-sensing headlights. Automatic headlights are now standard across the range.

All models except the basic tradie SX models (which have halogen lights) come with self-levelling Bi-LED low and high beams – with auto dipping high beam sensors – as well as LED daytime running lights.

The top three model grades –LS-M, LS-U, and X-Terrain – also come with LED foglights.

Automatic wipers are also standard across the range, to entire the twin AEB and speed sign recognition cameras have a clear view of the road ahead. Top models come with flat wiper blades with “wet wiper arms”; all models have a windscreen with built-in UV protection (toll pass), to help cut cabin temperatures.

Most of the above features were until recently exclusive to top end luxury cars, but have now made it onto a range of vehicles driven by tradies and families alike.

Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS)

  • 8 airbags – dual front, dual seat side, dual full length curtain, front knee and centre (far-side)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Turn Assist with AEB
  • Post-Collision Braking
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Misacceleration Mitigation (MAM) (*AT models only)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) (*AT models only)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
  • Intelligent Speed Limiter
  • Manual Speed Limiter
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Departure Prevention (LDP)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA) (*AT models only)
  • Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK)
  • Driver Attention Assist
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)
  • Automatic High Beam(AHB)
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA)
  • Hill Decent Control (HDC)
  • Rear Differential Lock (*4x4 only)
  • Trailer Sway Control (TSC)
  • Roll Over Mitigation (ROM)
  • Rear Park Sensors (LS-U and X-TERRAIN)
  • Front Park Sensors (X-TERRAIN)
  • LED Daytime Running Lights DRL
  • Automatic headlights
  • Automatic Windshield Wipers
  • Crash Door Unlock
  • ISOFIX child seat locators (x2)