A much bigger version of Isuzu's double-cab is made in China.
What has not been quite as well publicised, is a very interesting Isuzu project in China. Partnering with Qingling Motors, there is an amazingly redesign version of the current D-Max on offer.
It is called the Taga Daka H and uses the same platform currently on sale in South Africa, that being Isuzu’s second-generation D-Max.
Qingling’s product team has applied a radical redesign of the D-Max’s front. Slimline rectangular headlights replace the standard D-Max clusters and the grille is absolutely enormous, requiring a new model-specific front bumper moulding and curiously oversized fog lights.
There is no questioning the Taga Daka H’s road presence but Qingling has not forgotten that Isuzu’s D-Max is a rugged bakkie platform. To leverage this potential for work, there is a long-wheelbase double-cab version of the Taga Daka H, measuring 5.69 m in length.
Compared to a South African market D-Max double-cab, the extended wheelbase Taga Daka H is a full 400 mm longer. It might potentially be a nightmare to park in Sandton city of the V&A Waterfront, but that wheelbase does create a loadbox 1.8 m in length, which is 315 mm larger than a D-Max.
The huge loadbox makes Qingling’s Taga Daka H excellently configured for those who regularly move bulky items in the back of their bakkie. This Chinese D-Max might be larger and more practical than an Isuzu version, but it also happens to have a cabin architecture of greater sophistication, too.
At first appearance, the Taga Daka H’s interior is almost unrecognisable compared to a second-generation D-Max. It features a steering wheel with generous satellite controls and a ten-way power-adjustable front seats.
Digitisation is more prolific than any second-generation D-Max, with the Taga Daka H presenting full LCD instrumentation and a huge 10-inch floating screen infotainment interface with Apple CarPlay.
There are some handy driver assistance systems too, such as a surround-view parking assist camera, lane departure warning and auto rain-sensing wipers.
Powering the Taga Daka H are two engine options. There is a downgraded version of the familiar Isuzu 3-litre turbodiesel, producing 107 kW and 320 Nm, driving via a five-speed manual transmission.
Qingling is also offering its D-Max joint-venture double-cab with a 1.8-litre turbopetrol, boosting 172 kW and 310 Nm, paired to a six-speed manual. There are plans to offer both engines with an eight-speed automatic transmission, in the near future.