After eight years in the market, the current generation Isuzu D-Max is all set for retirement. In its place is this, the third-generation model, and it's set to kick off the hotly contested pickup class in the next decade. It’s also worth pointing out that the 2020 D-Max will also spawn a Mazda-badged version in the near future.
By the looks of things, the all-new D-Max is longer, wider, and taller than the soon to be outgoing model. This is most evident on the pickup's bed, which is noticeably taller than before. As for styling, it's largely evolutionary than revolutionary. Headlights are slimmer now and come with a new, U-shaped LED daytime running light pattern.
At the same time, its high-set hood makes the entire front end look more massive. Speaking of which, the grill absolutely dominates the nose of this 2020 D-Max. It spans the edge of the hood, all the way to the lower half of the front bumper. As for the rear, the tail lights are a familiar shape, albeit now sporting LED patterns. The tailgate then gets some character lines on the panel, adding a bit of flair to the ute. All in all, the new design is a mild evolution, but makes the D-Max more imposing nonetheless. Also, the 2020 D-Max will give us a general idea as to how the next-generation mu-X might look like.
But its most dramatic changes are seen inside. There's none of the flat surfaces with the odd-round pattern here and there. The cabin of the D-Max has been totally redesigned with an emphasis on design and cohesion. For instance, the dashboard has a swoopier design than before, and the airconditioning controls are now toggle switches instead of dials. Even the gear selector gets a nice new look, employing a glossy, black finish at the top and a leather shift boot. With its larger dimensions, expect more room inside too.
As for interior enhancements, the multi-information display on the instrument cluster is bigger than before, now at 4.2-inches. Thanks to the bigger screen, it gains enhanced graphics and displays to go along with it.
The infotainment system on the other hand now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Of course, it might be a different case when the all-new D-Max makes its way here, but we're hoping for the same features in the Philippine-spec models. The Thai-spec model is even available with 360-degree sensors.
On to hardware and there are two engine options to choose from. First is the 1.9-liter RZ4E mill which was introduced worldwide in 2017. Power figures are still the same at 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque. As for the top of the line engine, it has an uprated 3.0-liter BluePower mill with a significant boost in power and torque.
It now makes 190 PS and, more importantly, 450 Nm of torque. Transmission options for both are a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. For those who plan to take the D-Max off-road, the 4x4 models comes with a rear locking differential as well. Also, water wading ability is up by 200 mm, from 600 mm to 800 mm.
So when will the third-generation D-Max arrive in the Philippines? For now, there's no definite timeline just yet. Typically, we've had to wait about a year after its launch in Thailand and it might be the same this time around. It is possible that it might land here around the same time next year, just in time for the 2020 Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS). We're hoping we get it sooner rather than later.