When it comes to an automobile, what does it mean to take charge?

Some say it's about having the sharpest style and that's true; any driver wants to be seen behind the wheel of something that looks good. Others opt for the most features whether it's about connectivity or safety. There are those out there that want a fun drive that's also efficient; no one wants to spend on a vehicle that consumes more fuel than it should. But there are a great many of drivers that want something dependable, durable, and capable, especially in the pick-up truck class.

All great and very valid points. With the all-new D-MAX, Isuzu has an answer: is it too much to ask for all of the above?

Yes, the third generation D-MAX is here, leveraging decades of Isuzu's experience to give customers a diesel truck that isn't just dependable, but a class leader in so many ways. So let's count it all down.

Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

FUNCTIONAL STYLE

In trucks, form almost always follows function. The reason is simple: these are vehicles that need to be put to work, so it stands to reason that design takes the back seat to make sure the truck can do its job. With the D-MAX, Isuzu wants to change all that because this truck is designed to make you look good.

Isuzu had their designers work to give the D-MAX a sharp and strong look with a chiseled front bumper and hood that focus the eyes onto a proud gun metallic front grille on this LS-E while other variants get it in chrome or medium gray. Isuzu also redesigned the headlights to highlight the modern feel of the D-MAX, with multi-reflector halogen headlamps with Halogen Type daytime running lamps at Fog lamp for most models while the LS and LS-E have the striking Bi-LED projector lights and LED DRLs.

The side profile is also stylish with those gun metal gray fender flares, the side steps, the gray roof rails, the big 18 inch wheels, and the character lines that run along the side of the D-MAX. The tailgate is likewise very modern with the intricately detailed LED taillights and the new integrated rear bumper.

Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

Yes, this is a truck that has it in the looks department, but don't let that fool you: this all-new Isuzu D-MAX is ready to be put to work. Those side steps are fully functional to help you get in and out of the vehicle. The rear bumper has a lower sidestep to make getting up to the tailgate easier for more convenient loading onto that bed that can handle one metric ton of cargo.

Oh, and those rails up top aren't just ornamental either as the D-MAX can carry up to 100 kilos on its roof; all you need is a luggage rack and you're good to go.

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Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

CAPABLE ON ANY TERRAIN AND ALL CONDITIONS

Life is all about having adventures, and the D-MAX is ready to get you where you need to go, or anywhere that you want to explore.

Remember those 18-inch wheels on the LS-E? They have tires capable on a variety of terrain conditions, giving you a great balance between comfort on the road and traction off-road.

Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

If you somehow made a wrong turn onto a dirt road and need to engage four-wheel drive, you don't need to stop if you're driving under 100 km/h with the D-MAX LS-E. This capable everyday truck has a shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system that you can activate by turning a knob on the dashboard.

And speaking of four-wheel drive, the D-MAX has one of the most proven 4x4 systems in the market, and it has been enhanced further in its capabilities by a variety of advanced technologies like hill descent control and stability control. But some upgrades are simpler but effective, like giving the rear differential a breather hose to aid in long-term durability.

And when you are on an off-road trail -whether by accident or intentionally- then you needn't worry about making it through. Apart from the four-wheel-drive system, you've got 240 millimeters of minimum ground clearance. That's plenty for a truck. And if there's a river (or a flood) in your way, the D-MAX is capable of getting through water up to 800 mm deep; that's halfway up the grille already, but do so with care.

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Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

COMFORT ON ANY ROAD

The D-MAX, or any Isuzu pick-up we've come to know, has been all about being tough and reliable. But for the all-new D-MAX, Isuzu really focused on building a vehicle that is capable but can do it in comfort.

Isuzu reworked the steering system to be light and easy, especially in the city. Don't be surprised if you can easily drive around tight city streets without having to muscle your way through because the D-MAX will make it light for you.

Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

The ride of the D-MAX has also been elevated to new, more comfortable heights. The front suspension has been engineered for a better drive and a better ride. The rear suspension has also been revised with a new leaf spring system and new dampers that make for a more comfortable ride, even when there's no weight on the bed. That means whether you drive on a bumpy road or a concrete path, you'll enjoy more driving and less bouncing.

Dual-zone climate control makes driving in tropical heat so much easier. The seats are power-adjustable, the transmission is the 6-speed automatic (or 6-speed manual, if you select other variants), and you've got power features all around.

And when you do test drive the D-MAX, pay attention to the ergonomics like the shape of the seats, the cushioning, the driving position, the controls, and the tilt and telescopic adjustability of the steering. All of these factors make for a more natural fit and less fatigue on long drives, or long hours in traffic.

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Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

PERFORMANCE AND DURABILITY TO THE CORE

What any D-MAX customer demand is absolute reliability, and that's something that any Isuzu has excelled at for decades. This D-MAX is no exception.

Need power and torque? Whichever D-MAX you pick, you've got both. The three variants that are powered by the 1.9-liter RZ4E-TC BluePower diesel engine have 150 PS of power and 350 Nm of torque; plenty for everyday driving.

But if you want more, then you want to take a look at the 3.0-liter variants of the D-MAX. This time Isuzu isn't using a 4JJ1-TC because they now have a new 4JJ3-TCX turbodiesel engine that has been improved in many different ways. The turbocharger, for instance, is now an Electronic Variable Geometry System Turbo and that means the new 4JJ3 has 190 PS of power and 450 Nm of torque. And that torque comes in at an earlier 1600 rpm for better fuel efficiency.

Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

The chassis is also new because it's a stronger ladder frame with 8 cross-members; the previous model had 6 cross-members. The chassis also makes use of more high-strength steel than before for enhanced strength and torsional rigidity. The D-MAX also has a lot of underbody protection with covers for the transfer case, the transmission, as well as front and rear skid plates to protect critical components under the D-MAX.

Yes, this D-MAX is built to last.

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Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

NEXT GENERATION TECH AND SAFETY

With the D-MAX, particularly the LS-E variant, Isuzu is offering a truck that can be a capable daily driver, but with next-generation tech and safety features.

Demand connectivity? The LS-E, LS-A, and LS all have a massive 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen that sits proudly at the center of the dashboard; by far it is the biggest screen in the pick-up truck class. It has a USB port, auxiliary port, as well as Bluetooth, and even satellite navigation if you're in far-flung areas with no mobile data coverage.

But one thing today's customers demand is full mobile connectivity, and that's why the 10.1-inch multimedia unit has Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard. There's even a clinometer built-in for off-road enthusiasts. The LS-E, however, is the only variant that has the superb 8-speaker surround sound audio system; the two extra speakers are on the ceiling.

Safety is the priority now, and that's what the D-MAX has a very high level of. Dual front airbags and a brake override system are standard for all models, while LT grades and up get anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist. LS grades get stability control, traction control, hill start assist, and hill descent control.

Isuzu really is elevating the expectations of safety with the all-new D-MAX, but the LS-E takes it to a new level. Instead of dual airbags, this truck has seven: dual front, dual side, dual curtain, and one more for the driver's knee. The LS-E also has 8 parking sensors with 4 in front and 4 in the back,

You've got 7 airbags, 3-point seatbelts for all occupants, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, hill start assist and hill descent control. You get a total of 8 parking sensors; 4 in front and 4 in the back with a camera.

Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

But what the LS-E offers is a new thing from Isuzu, and it's called ADAS or the Advanced Driver Assist System. This has forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, turn assist, pedal misapplication mitigation, a Manual Speed Limiter, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring (also available in other variants), rear cross-traffic alert (also available in other variants), and even a multi-collision brake system.

Perhaps the feature many D-MAX LS-E drivers will enjoy on a long route is the adaptive cruise control system; it just maintains a nice safe distance to the vehicle ahead on the expressway.

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Taking Charge: 2021 Isuzu D-Max image

With functional style, capability on any terrain, a comfortable drive, performance, and durability, as well as next-generation safety features and technology, the Isuzu D-MAX is a truck that isn't just ready to lead the pick-up truck class... it's already taking charge of it.

For more information on the all-new Isuzu D-MAX, you can visit isuzuphil.com or contact your local Isuzu dealership to be able to book a test drive. Whichever variant you try out, be ready to be truly impressed.