The 2021 Isuzu D-Max is the most advanced ute in its class, but the leap in technology has brought significant price rises that put it in a head-on battle with the top-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
The Isuzu D-Max already outsells the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger in Thailand – where all three utes are made for the Asia-Pacific region – and now the company is taking aim at the big guns in Australia.
The recommended retail price of the 2021 Isuzu D-Max range has risen by between $2000 and $8100, depending on the model.
However, Isuzu will launch with drive-away pricing special offers on certain variants.
The cheapest ticket into the new Isuzu D-Max range is the single cab-chassis 4x2 high-rider from $29,990 drive-away, $3000 more than the previous entry point. The top-of-the-range Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain starts from $58,990 drive-away, which is $4000 more than the previous flagship model, the LS-T.
However, Isuzu says the D-Max X-Terrain was designed to sit above the LS-T and, although it’s range-topping model, it does not directly replace it.
The D-Max X-Terrain comes with a roller shutter hard lid, tub liner, fender flares, front and rear body accents, 8-speaker premium audio, as well as the advanced safety and infotainment tech that is standard across the rest of the range.
During the media briefing for the new D-Max, Isuzu Ute Australia’s general manager of sales, Ben Jaeger, said the brand is “going upmarket” in its attempt to tackle the top-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger head-on.
After almost a decade as a value proposition with the old Isuzu D-Max, pricing for the 2021 Isuzu D-Max line-up places it on a collision course with its main rivals and the two biggest selling cars in Australia.
“The prices have gone up, but we feel as though they’re appropriate,” said Mr Jaeger.
“We’ve also been monitoring the market and trying to understand where our new model fits. Yes, we are going upmarket, and we do expect to sell a high degree of premium models,” he said.
Despite the significant price rises as Isuzu repositions the brand, Mr Jaeger said he doesn’t expect much of a buyer backlash.
“We don’t expect to lose too many customers because we have very loyal customers,” said Mr Jaeger.
“Overall, pricing did have to go up (to include) the new safety and technology, but we feel it’s appropriate and we feel as though it’s going to be priced very competitively,” he said.
Isuzu says it will launch with some drive-away pricing offers on selected models, but that may expand as supply ramps up.
Isuzu believes customers are ready to pay more for its vehicles, if they have the right level of equipment.
“We’ve also been testing the market throughout the last couple of years with specific value-add models … to see what (customers) will accept in terms of pricing levels,” said Mr Jaeger.
“If the car is (equipped) well, it appears (customers) are prepared to move up in price. We’re still going to be seen as a value brand … a really good vehicle … for a fair price. We don’t feel as though we’re veering too far away from that with this particular car,” he said.
Mr Jaeger said the advanced safety features were a major contributor to the price rise, but insists prices remain competitive.
“The new requirements for ANCAP also require us to go down this path,” said Mr Jaeger.
“We’re not about making our vehicles too expensive, we want to be seen as good value for money. We don’t feel as though we will alienate our customers. Currently … we’re experiencing thousands of enquiries and a lot of our current customers are very excited to learn about our new model.”
Isuzu Ute Australia’s director of sales, marketing and fleet, Koichiro Yoshida, said: “Once you test drive it I think you will feel the stability of the vehicle and the driveability of the vehicle, that has been improved significantly as well. So I think the customer can understand the value of the vehicle.”
2021 Isuzu D-Max pricing for Australia
NOTE: Selected models. Prices exclude on-road costs except where marked.
|Drive||Body style||Transmission||RRP||Price rise||Drive-away launch offer|
|4x2||Single Cab Chassis SX||Manual||$32,200||$3,600||$29,990|
|4x2||Single Cab Chassis SX||Automatic||$34,200||$3,600|
|4x4||Single Cab Chassis SX||Manual||$40,200||$2,000|
|4x4||Space Cab Chassis SX||Manual||$43,700||$2,700|
|4x4||Space Cab Chassis SX||Automatic||$45,700||$2,700|
|4x4||Double Cab Ute SX||Manual||$47,900||$3,300|
|4x4||Double Cab Ute SX||Automatic||$49,900||$3,300|
|4x4||Double Cab Ute LS-M||Manual||$51,000||$4,100|
|4x4||Space Cab Ute LS-U||Auto only||$53,900||$5,200|
|4x4||Double Cab Ute LS-U||Manual||$54,900||$6,100|
|4x4||Double Cab Ute LS-U||Automatic||$56,900||$6,100|
|4x4||Double Cab Ute X-Terrain||Auto only||$62,900||$8100 (versus LS-T)||$58,990|