Isuzu shows a bit of its new bakkie. The rest should drop later this week.
With less than three weeks until the opening of Tokyo’s 2019 auto show, Japanese brands are starting to tease some of their most keenly anticipated new models.
For Isuzu, the 2019 Tokyo show will be of great significance, as it is expected to reveal the new D-Max bakkie. This new Isuzu is a joint-venture project with Mazda (and its BT50).
Isuzu has been marketing the current D-Max without a substantial engineering upgrade since 2012, whilst nearly all its rivals (except BT-50) have launched newer-generation bakkies. Seven years in the double-cab market is a long time and Isuzu’s product rejuvenation is an urgent issue.
A short teaser from Isuzu has confirmed that the new D-Max features a much larger grille, new bonnet stamping (with a pronounced ridge), thinner triangular headlamps and a redesigned front bumper. Around the rear Isuzu has split the taillight design into separate clusters.
Mechanically the new D-Max is expected to retain its large-capacity 3-litre turbodiesel engine, whilst an even more sophisticated version of the small but potent 1.9-litre turbodiesel should offer a lower emissions option. South Africans have not had exposure to the 1.9-litre turbodiesel yet, which boosts 120 kW and 350 Nm – although those outputs could improve slightly with the new D-Max.
A crucial issue for Isuzu’s engineers and product people will be gearbox choice. Many of the D-Max’s rivals now offer more than six forward ratios for their automatic double-cab bakkies. If Isuzu persists with a six-speed auto, it might be at a disadvantage in a very competitive marketplace.
Isuzu is also expected to offer a contemporary touchscreen infotainment system and autonomous braking with the new D-Max.