ONE of the most successful models in the history of Isuzu has just gotten even better. Isuzu Philippines Corporation has introduced the 2007 D-MAX that has captured the fancy of pickup lovers around the world ever since its launch five years ago. It has not only won numerous awards but also made impressive sales in virtually all the markets it is sold in.

Perhaps none of these distinctions can be greater than the fact that the D-MAX is a runaway success in Thailand, the pickup market of the world. Tri Petch Isuzu Sales (Thailand) director Panatda Chennavasin attended the Manila launch of the 2007 D-MAX and talked about the incredible global success of the do-it-all pickup by Isuzu.

From the very beginning, the D-MAX has been consistent in making impressive sales globally since its launch in Thailand in 2002. It sold over 10,000 units within the first 10 days after its launch, and more than 100,000 units in its first year, igniting the Isuzu D-MAX phenomenon. It has become Thailand's best-selling vehicle ever, reaching the 100,000-unit mark in no time at all. In 2003, the D-MAX set a sales record of 120,000 units and continued to be unbeatable due to its world-class performance and design that have completely won the hearts and minds of Thai motorists.

Chennavasin further declared the D-MAX as "the best-selling vehicle in the history of Thailand" with a historic sales record of more than 500,000 units in just a little over three years since its introduction. In October 2006 and May 2007, the D-MAX sold more than 600,000 and 700,000 units, respectively.

The clamor for the D-MAX has expanded overseas and when Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) introduced it to our market in 2003, Isuzu dominated the pickup category in the same year.

Heading the changes and new features in the 2007 D-MAX is a new diesel engine under the hood. Finally, the D-MAX is now powered by a 3.0-liter 4JJ1 I-TEQ common-rail direct-injection diesel engine with turbo intercooler that produces a maximum output of 146ps at 3,800rpm and a maximum torque of 294 Newton-meters at 1,400rpm to 3,400rpm. This means more muscle but also better fuel-efficiency for the hardest-working pickup in the market.

At launch, the new Isuzu D-MAX is available only in 4x2 version, but with three variants: the LT base model, the LX midrange model and the LS high-end model. The LX and the LS both get the above-mentioned CRDi diesel engine, while the LT has the 2.5-liter 4JA1-L direct-injection diesel engine that produces a maximum output of 81ps at 3,900rpm. Both the LT and the LX have a manual transmission, while the LS has the option of an automatic gearbox.

The other significant changes in the 2007 D-MAX are the new six-hole design of the grille up front and an additional height increase of 25mm for the LS and the LX, lending the pickup a stronger look and making it the tallest in the 4x2 class.

The LT is available in Glacial White and Sterling Silver. The LX, meanwhile, is available in Glacial White and Touchstone Gray. The LS is painted in Glacial White, Tornade Red, Ebony Black, Impulse Blue, Phoenix Gold and Touchstone Gray.

The LT manual is priced at P805,000, while the LX manual sells for P925,000. The LS manual and automatic have introductory prices of P1,015,000 and P1,075,000, respectively.