Following a significant investment of R1.2-billion in 2019 to upgrade its Struandale production facilities in Gqeberha, Isuzu is finally launching its all-new D-Max bakkie on local soil in early April 2022. Isuzu is also expected to bring its new-generation trucks to market in the same year.

Thanks to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the local launch has been pushed back to 2022. The new Isuzu D-Max has the look and it’s bound to win South African hearts when it arrives in local showrooms.

With the current D-Max being the second best-selling bakkkie in the country, there are undoubtedly many Isuzu fans that can’t wait for the new model to arrive.

Unfortunately, Isuzu South Africa has said very little about what the bakkie will offer, except that the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine from the MU-X SUV will also be available.

Isuzu Motors South Africa says the new D-Max bakkie set to go into production in Port Elizabeth will boast “some uniquely South African features and characteristics”.

Dominic Rimmer, Isuzu SA’s senior-vice president of technical operations, added the new D-Max would be 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,” Rimmer said.

Isuzu says, “key projects” include testing of the load box, which in the current bakkie “has significantly thicker steel in strategic areas such as the load box inner panels, load box front panel and tailgate”.

Other areas receiving attention from local engineers include dust sealing; suspension tuning and the development of local dampers; and the development of all-terrain tyres, a rear differential lock and axles, wiring harnesses and accessories such as canopies, roll bars and nudge bars.

The fresh-faced D-Max is powered by a newly developed version of the 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine, with peak outputs hiked to 140kW at 3 600rpm and 450Nm between 1 600 and 2 600rpm. The D-Max will also be offered with a 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine with 110kW and 350Nm of torque.

The D-Max will be built to suit various customer needs and buyers will be able to choose from single-cab, extended-cab and double-cab body styles.

The new D-Max will undoubtedly look to build on its reputation as a formidable offroad vehicle and will feature 240 mm ground clearance and an 800mm wading depth. Approach, departure and break-over angles are improved too and an electro-magnetic differential lock will also be fitted on 4×4 derivatives.

The new D-Max range starts with the single-cab D-Max which will only be offered with the 1.9-litre engine choice while the extended-cab and double-cab D-Max’s will offer both the 1.9-litre and 3.0-litre turbodiesel engines. Each body style will also be offered in either 4×2 or 4×4 guise.

Trim grades include HR and HR L for the single cab variants while the extended cab derivatives will be offered in HR, HR L, HR LS, HR LSE and LSE trim. As for the double-cab D-Max, trim grades include HR L, L, LS, LSE and range-topping V-Cross trim.

As for the interior, the new D-Max will be a vast improvement over the outgoing model with modern infotainment systems and connectivity solutions as well as a range of comfort and convenience features that customers in this segment have come to expect. The exact specifications and pricing will be communicated closer to the launch date.