Perceptions Altered Anew
When the DMAX was formally launched almost two years ago, people with go-anyhwere-do-anything lifestyle were likewise happy with this development. Family-oriented enthusiasts, however, maintained a silent clamor as to when an SUV version of this brawny pick-up will come out. It was the year after it was launched that a seven seater SUV version of the DMAX widely circulated in pick-up frenzy Thailand, which was dubbed as the MU-7. With this version already available on the aforementioned country, Isuzu didn't beat around the bush and launched it here as the Alterra sometime last year. With its bold, no-nonsense looks, it's definitely the default choice if one wanted a piece of the Isuzu tradition, which was reliability and durability. But alas, no 4x4 was available.
Seeing this as an injustice to the bulletproof DMAX platform, the local Isuzu wasted no time in launching its 4x4 version. New for 2006, the Alterra is now well-poised to face the competition that perennial brands are undisputedly dominating.
Differentiating the 4x4 from the still-available 4x2 variant are chrome appointments on the radiator and door handles. The rear butt proudly shouts "4WD" as the rear spare tire cover now sports a 4WD insignia that's similar to ones installed on Honda CRVs. On the inside, a shift-on-the-fly 4WD push-button transfer case switches adorns the central part of the dashboard. Other than that, the features that endeared the 4x2 Alterra like the DVD capable head unit with 5.1 Channel speaker setup are default. The interior seating is composed of foldable walk-through center seat on the middle row and fold-and-tumble third row seats, for added cargo capacity.
The Alterra's suspension setup remains the same, with the independent front suspension setup complemented by rear leaf springs. The leaf springs, however, carry the FlexRide MOVE (Mobility on Versatile Equilibrium) setup, which gives a new meaning to ride comfort on leaf-sprung vehicles.
The Alterra's engine deserves much attention. Being the diesel king, naturally Isuzu would endow the Alterra a very able engine in the guise of 4JJ1-TC. With third-generation common-rail diesel technology, peak torque arrives early at 1,400-3,400 rpm, great for stump-pulling. With a peak output of 146 ps at 3,800 rpm, one could say that the Alterra possesses valid albeit scary engine stats. Worthwhile knowing also is the engine's compliance to Euro3 emission standards.
As the 4x4 Alterra promises a rugged and handsome SUV package, it is only available on automatic transmission. The 4x2 Alterra on the other hand is still available with manual and automatic transmission variants. SRP for the Alterra 4x4 is PHP 1.589M for Alpine White and Sterling Silver Monotone colors, and PHP 1.599M for the Ebony Black Two Tone color. The 4x2 Alterra with manual transmission retails at a price range of between PHP 1.369m to PHP 1.419M, while the automatic guises are at PHP 1.424M to 1.474M.