• Isuzu says that its new D-Max will go on sale locally in 2022.
• The bakkie is undergoing stringent testing in South Africa.
• The mu-X also received a raft of updates in 2020.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
In what was to be one of the most highly anticipated new vehicle launches of 2021, has turned into an 'early 2022' anticipation. Fans of the locally-built Isuzu D-Max were waiting for the bakkie to make its debut sometime next year, but Isuzu South Africa pushed back the launch back by a few months because of Covid-19.
But, says Isuzu, SA bakkie lovers can expect the bakkie to be a uniquely South African product and one that'll speak directly to the needs of the South African buyer. Isuzu says that they are paying particular emphasis on areas such as the load box and its inner panels and tailgate, improving dust sealing, dampers for improved ride quality, and accessories such as canopies, roll bars, and nudge bars.
And with the bakkie being built locally, expect many of the items to be sourced from South Africa.
Dominic Rimmer, senior vice president technical operations, said: "This next-generation D-Max is a significant step forward for Isuzu in all respects. It offers state of the art technology to enhance the driving experience, efficiency, and safety. As you know, we have very high expectations for the D-Max here in South Africa, so a significant amount of work has to be done to ensure that we deliver a vehicle which is capable of coping with our challenging environment and customer demands."
All-new Isuzu D-Max undergoing testing (QuickPic)
Updates to the (current) D-Max range
Isuzu's X-Rider bakkie has been a popular choice among local buyers. Available with the 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine only, the X-Rider produces 100kW and 320Nm. Now, though, Isuzu has added the X-Rider treatment to the 3.0-litre diesel model; the one fitted with the company's six-speed automatic transmission. According to the automaker, this engine-gearbox option was influenced by the popularity of automatic gearboxes in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment.
As with the 2.5 X-Rider, the 3.0 model receives a black grille with a red Isuzu badge, 18-inch wheels, 'X-Rider' logos on the front doors, as well as black side steps, matt black roof rails, black X-Rider Sports bar, a lockable tailgate with rearview camera, black Isuzu logo, and a standard 3.5-tonne towbar.
The bakkie retails for R551 100 and boasts with an interior that features black leather with red stitching.
Cosmetically enhanced mu-X
The mu-X, Isuzu's seven-seater SUV, is also on the receiving end of several cosmetic updates. These include piano black inserts on the front grille, 18-inch wheels, and black running boards along the sides of the vehicle.
Inside, soft leather has been brought into the equation, as well as a piano black finish on the door panels with LED lighting strips.
The mu-X is still available in two guises: the 3.0 4x2 six-speed automatic (R643 100), and the 4x4 version of the same model, which retails for R712 200.
2020 Isuzu mu-X (QuickPic)