Over the past decade, Isuzu is a brand that known for its commercial truck, buses, construction vehicles and its diesel engines.
Its light-duty commercial trucks, or lorries from the Isuzu ELF truck range have become Malaysia’s best-selling trucks for seven consecutive years.
The company’s pick-up truck segment has also been dominated the market since 2013.
Isuzu diesel engines are used by a number of the automotive manufacturers, including Ford Motor Company and Renault-Nissan Alliance. The D-Max shares the same platform with the Chevrolet Colorado.
The Isuzu D-Max competes in one of the fastest growing segments in Malaysia, which are mostly populated by models such as the Mitsubishi Triton, Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux.
We were given some time with the Isuzu Dmax Z-Prestige, the highest specification in the Dmax pick up truck segment.
Powered by a 3.0-litre 4JJ1-TCX turbo diesel engine, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift, it is capable of producing 177 hp at 3,600 rpm and 380 Nm of torque from 1,800 rpm to 2,800 rpm.
The Isuzu Dmax Z-Prestige 3.0L measures at 5,190 mm in length, 1,860 mm in width and 1,850 mm in height with a wheel base of 3,095 mm.
It comes equipped with grey-finished 18-inch alloy wheels, sports bar, flatbed cover, leather seats, e-Lumax instrument panel with multi-information display, automatic air-conditioning, double-din multimedia player with a eight-inch touch screen display steering wheel controls, keyless entry with push start button, LED tail lights, shark fin antenna, side steps, LED Daytime running lights and front fog lamps.
Safety is also one of Isuzu’s top priorities. The Z-Prestige comes with two airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, hill start assist, electronic stability control, traction control, reverse sensor, reverse camera and Isofix mounting points.
The Isuzu D-Max Z-Prestige 3.0L variant is priced at RM124,312.40 with goods and services tax, excluding insurance. It comes with a 150,000km or five-year warranty.
The D-Max Z-Prestige is a powerful and comfortable pick-up truck that is suitable for an adventurous family. We managed to clock nearly 600km in the Z-Prestige, driving through cities and highways, with damaged and rough road conditions.
It has a huge cargo bed that is neatly covered by the flatbed cover with built-in lights for convenience to search for items in the dark. The space is more than enough to carry the necessary things for a family of five to go on a week-long road trip.
With the D-Max, Isuzu is known to the world for producing one of the toughest off-road vehicles in existence. The pick-up truck tackles most road conditions and potholes easily. The medium hard springs and shocks settings overcomes wavy and uneven terrain with minimal problem. It didn’t feel wobbly at all. On high speed corners, the pick-up truck sits firmly with tyres gripping the road.
Body roll is well contained and the weighty steering is predictable and accurate. The handling copes well at high speed but is still a long way to a sports utility vehicle.
The leather seats are supportive with a high vantage point. There is also sufficient space for the back passengers as well. The rear seats are designed with a little angle for the backrest, giving the rear passengers more comfort, compared with some pick-up trucks that have a very straight backrest.
On the highway, its wider tyres generate more road noise than the standard pick-up trucks and the engine and wind noise conquered the cabin at high speed.
Its multimedia player was quite straight forward, but it will take a little time to get used to it as its settings and adjustments are slightly different from others.
Its eight-speaker sound system plays a standard quality of sound that can get quite loud but it clearly lacks bass.
The multi-information display showed that we could travel 10.1km to 12.5km with a litre of diesel fuel. It could go about 13.3km to 16.4km a litre of diesel fuel when we cruised on the highway within speed limit. After a heavy-footed driving, it recorded that it could travel about 9.8km to 10.8km per litre of diesel fuel.
Apart from the noises in the cabin, we felt that the D-Max Z-Prestige can improve on its plastic materials used in the interior of the pick-up truck. As the hard plastic certainly felt less prestigious, compared with leather or fabric finishing.