• Anticipation for the third-generation D-Max is massive.
• The new bakkie will only reach SA shores in 2021.
• The third-generation bakkie will deliver its most meaningful improvements.
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The Isuzu product lifecycle is long, and that means a new bakkie only happens once a decade, form the Japanese brand.
As such, anticipation for the third-generation D-Max is massive. South Africans will not get to experience the new bakkie until next year, but we are noticing exciting range specification and details, as D-Max launches in other global markets.
The core bakkie structure for new D-Max remains fundamentally unchanged: a steel ladder frame platform, to allow for flex and terrain impact absorption when venturing into the wild. Intelligent engineering has allowed Isuzu's technical staff to make the double-cab body 8kg lighter, despite a 23% overall improvement in rigidity.
Keeps an eye out for you
Yet it is in the fields of both dynamic and passive safety, where the third-generation bakkie will deliver its most meaningful improvements.
The Isuzu Intelligent Driver Assist System (IDAS) controls most of the new D-Max's autonomous braking, lane departure and slow-speed collision avoidance technologies. Unlike many rival vehicles, where autonomous driver assistance systems primarily rely on sensor and radar function housed in the bumpers, new D-Max uses a superior sensory field of view: its roof.
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A sophisticated Hitachi 3D Stereo camera system is mounted just below the roofline. It scans and analyses the driving environment and triggers the necessary warning buzzers and brake interventions when required.
As double-cab bakkies have evolved into lifestyle family vehicles, there has been a significant demand for advanced safety specification. Where Isuzu has an advantage, regarding new D-Max, is that it can combine the latest autonomous driving safety features with adventure bakkie accessories.
Bullbars and autonomous braking
Those bakkie buyers who pine for the days when fitting a wraparound bullbar was an uncomplicated affair will be heartened by the freedom that Isuzu's IDAS system affords.
With the bumper and grille housing critical safety sensors on most new bakkies, there has been an escalation in the fitment complexity of heavy-duty off-road bullbars. Much to the annoyance of customers who want the impact protection of a heavy-duty bullbar, but don't wish to sacrifice the dynamic and passive safety features of their vehicle.
Isuzu has recognized that not all of its third-generation D-Max customers will be lifestyle buyers. To accommodate the hardy adventurers, it has revealed some very robust wraparound bullbars. Although not winch compatible, these bullbars will do a very fair job of protecting your bakkie's headlamps and grille when bundu bashing.
These new Isuzu bullbars replace the front bumper in its entirety, giving the bakkie excellent obstacle survivability if you do manage to impact a tree or other convoy vehicle, travelling off-road, at low speed.
Although they do add weight to the front of the vehicle and increase aerodynamic drag, bullbars make a lot of sense for those bakkie owners who want added headlights, radiator and bodypanel protection. This is especially true for those bakkie owners who cover a great deal of gravel road distance at night, when the likelihood of an animal strike, is higher.
With similar customers demands between the two countries, it would appear that the Australians have done us a great favour, in solving the modern bullbar dilemma for next-generation D-Max owners.