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2017 Isuzu D-Max Review

Isuzu D-Max
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finder score: 73.25%

Avg. critics score: 73.25%
4 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of Cars Guide, WhichCar, Car Advice and MR 4x4 to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
Finder.com.au is personal finance comparison site that provides you with the tools you need to make better decisions. Learn
how we work and how we make money.

Critic reviews

WebsiteRatingNotable quotes
Cars Guide75%"The Isuzu D-Max may not be as flash as a Ranger or as advanced as the new HiLux, but its heavy duty new engine developed for Australian conditions, plus tried and tested underpinnings, make it a smart pick."Read more
Mr 4x478%"The D-Max still makes sense for the Australian ute market. It’s not the flashiest, it’s not the fastest. Nor is it the cheapest. But it does feel like one of the most honest."Read more
WhichCar70%"The Isuzu D-Max is a down-to-earth ute that carries and tows well, and in 4WD form can handle hard work off road."Read more
Car Advice70%"It is what it always has been: an honest, reliable, strong, competent and rugged ute that can handle work, play and adventure."Read more

How does the Isuzu D-Max compare with its peers?

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Payload ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score Read review
Ford Ranger
945 kg
5 stars
$27,990
85%
Volkswagen Amarok
1,020 kg
5 stars
$38,490
85%
Mitsubishi Triton
855 kg
5 stars
$22,490
80.5%
Holden Colorado
1,029 kg
5 stars
$29,490
80%
Mazda BT-50
1,039 kg
5 stars
$25,570
78.8%
Toyota HiLux
924 kg
5 stars
$20,990
76.66%
Nissan Navara
930 kg
5 stars
$19,490
75%
Isuzu D-Max
924 kg
5 stars
$28,500
73.25%
Mercedes-Benz X-Class
1,188 kg
5 stars
$45,450
72.5%
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The complete Isuzu D-Max review

Isuzu D-Max Pricing

The D-MAX is available in 23 body/drive/spec variations. Prices start at $28,500 for the manual SX 4x2 Low Ride base model, featuring cruise control and a touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity. The top-of-the-range LS-T Crew Cab retails for $54,200.

Prices exclude on-road costs. Models are High Ride unless otherwise stated.

Single Cab Chassis

SX - 4x2 Low RideSX – 4x2 EX – 4x4SX – 4x4
3.0L Diesel Manual – $28,5003.0L Diesel Auto – $31,7003.0L Diesel Manual – $34,8003.0L Diesel Manual –$38,000 (optional Auto $40,100)

Space Cab Ute/Chassis

SX – 4x2 Space Cab Ute SX – 4x4 Space Cab ChassisLSU – 4x4 Space Cab Ute
3.0L Diesel Auto – $35,5003.0L Diesel Manual – $40,700 (optional Auto $42,800)3.0L Diesel Manual – $46,200 (optional Auto $48,300)

Crew Cab 4x2

SX – Low Ride Crew Cab UteSX – Crew Cab ChassisSX – Crew Cab UteLS-U – Crew Cab Ute
3.0L Diesel Manual – $34,5002.3L Diesel 120kW Manual – $36,876 (optional Auto $39,451)3.0L Diesel Auto – $37,3003.0L Diesel Auto – $43,600

Crew Cab 4x4

SX – Crew Cab ChassisSX – Crew Cab UteLS-M – Crew Cab UteLS-U – Crew Cab UteLS-T – Crew Cab Ute
3.0L Diesel Manual – $43,200 (optional Auto $45,300)3.0L Diesel Manual – $43,900 (optional Auto $46,000)3.0L Diesel Manual – $46,400 (optional Auto $48,500)3.0L Diesel Manual – $48,300 (optional Auto $50,400)3.0L Diesel Auto – $54,200

Overview

In the eyes of motoring journalists, the D-MAX is distinctly average. It doesn’t do anything terribly well, but neither does it disappoint in any key areas. This model is a mid-life facelift, based upon a vehicle that was first launched in 2012.

Across the board, there was much praise for the Australian market exclusive 3.0L diesel. All reviewers felt the engine has good amounts of torque and is a welcome improvement over the previous D-MAX diesel. The new 6-speed gearbox replaces a 5-speed box and has been well received as it makes the D-MAX more comfortable at high speeds.

However, reviewers marked the D-MAX down for its simplistic, hard-wearing interior. The plastics used aren’t as good quality as some of the D-MAX’s competitors. The engine is noisy, even for a diesel. The rear end feels bouncy and jiggly.

Off-road the D-MAX is capable, but journalists think it should at least be offered with an optional lockable rear diff.

The D-MAX doesn’t do anything particularly well that makes it stand out in a competitive market. If it were cheaper, perhaps a bit more modern or more refined, it would score better.

ProsConsNotable quote
CarsGuide
  • Broader engine torque band
  • Heavy duty underpinnings
  • Off-road capability
  • Front styling mismatched with tough mechanicals
  • No reversing camera on majority of range
  • Diesel engine noisy under load
β€œIf it was $5,000 cheaper, had more safety tech, and Isuzu offered a limited slip diff and rear diff-lock – at least as options – this thing might just be a real contender.”
MR 4x4
  • Australia-only 3.0L diesel offers more torque
  • Extra gear (6 speed)
  • Simple, hard-wearing interior
  • Noisy engine
  • No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
β€œIt’s not the flashiest, it’s not the fastest. Nor is it the cheapest. But it does feel like one of the most honest. It’s all the same ingredients in the same recipe, this time they are just that little bit tastier.”
WhichCar
  • Solid, punchy engine
  • Smooth gearbox
  • Long warranty
  • Does nothing unusually well
  • Seat bases too short for tall drivers
  • Touchscreen UI is difficult to operate
β€œAll models, from farm truck to family tourer, have stability control, full airbag coverage and a five-year warranty.”
CarAdvice
  • Solid with a load on board
  • Good tow vehicle
  • Decent kit for the cash
  • Iffy gearbox at high speeds
  • Noisy engine at low speeds
  • Dated interior
  • Unpleasant plastics
β€œThe facelifted 2017 Isuzu D-MAX LS-M isn't quite a full-on workhorse ute, but nor is it a lifestyle truck.”

Engine and performance

The D-MAX is available with just one engine option, the 4JJ1, an Eu5 compliant, DOHC, 4-cylinder, common-rail, 3.0L turbo-diesel. This particular 4JJ1, the 4JJ1-TC Hi-Power, has been developed specifically for the Australian market, after a consultation with typical Isuzu buyers.

The result is a 130kW power output, the same as the previous engine, but with a 50Nm torque increase. The peak torque now available sits at 430Nm (2,000–2,200rpm) and is delivered across a wider rev range, in part thanks to the variable geometry turbocharger.

Most reviewers noticed the increase in torque right away, saying the D-MAX is capable both at highway speeds and when traveling through soft sand at low speeds. This isn’t a quiet engine by any means – almost universally, testers said it was truck-like and loud.

The upgraded engine is teamed up with either an Isuzu-designed 6-speed manual (MVL-6N) or an optional Aisin 6-speed automatic β€œRev-tronic” gearbox. The auto features sequential shift, brake shift lock and a fuel-saving locking torque converter on key gears. Reviewers labeled it β€œimpressive” and β€œintuitive”.

The D-MAX also features selectable 4-wheel drive, which can be engaged on the move at speeds of up to 100km/h, and a low-range transfer box.

The optional auto box also features an uphill and downhill control system which holds gears longer on ascents and optimises engine braking when descending.

To achieve an Eu5 emissions rating, the D-MAX features a larger exhaust gas recirculation valve (EGR) and a diesel particulate diffuser. The pistons, fuel injectors and fuel pump were all redesigned.

Features and statistics

Engine type- Direct injection, 16-valve with chain-driven double overhead camFuel type- DieselEngine size/displacement- 3.0L, 2,999ccFuel tank capacity- 76 litresCylinders- Inline 4Fuel consumption (best model High-Ride Single Chassis Cab) – urban- 9.3L/100kmMax. torque- 430Nm @ 2,000–2,200rpmFuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – extra urban- 5.8L/100kmMax. power- 130kW @ 3,600rpmFuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – combined- 7.2L/100kmAcceleration- N/ACombined CO2 emissions- 190g/km–203g/km 4x2
- 207g/km–213g/km 4x4Top speed- N/AEmissions standard- Euro 5Transmission- 6-speed Isuzu MVL-6N Manual or
- Aisin AWR6B45II 6-speed "Rev-Tronic" AutomaticSecurity- Engine immobiliserDrivetrain- 4x2 or 4x4Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)- 3,500kg/750kg
Engine type- Direct injection, 16-valve with chain-driven double overhead camFuel type- DieselEngine size/displacement- 3.0L, 2,999ccFuel tank capacity- 76 litresCylinders- Inline 4Fuel consumption (best model High-Ride Single Chassis Cab) – urban- 9.3L/100kmMax. torque- 430Nm @ 2,000–2,200rpmFuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – extra urban- 5.8L/100kmMax. power- 130kW @ 3,600rpmFuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – combined- 7.2L/100kmAcceleration- N/ACombined CO2 emissions- 190g/km–203g/km 4x2
207g/km–213g/km 4x4Top speed- N/AEmissions standard- Euro 5Transmission- 6-speed Isuzu MVL-6N Manual or
- Aisin AWR6B45II 6-speed "Rev-Tronic" AutomaticSecurity- Engine immobiliserDrivetrain- 4x2 or 4x4Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)- 3,500kg/750kg

Fuel efficiency

Isuzu is a diesel engine specialist, so it comes as no surprise that the D-MAX is shipped with only one diesel engine option. The 3.0L diesel is born out of their years of experience creating commercial trucks, where every drop of fuel-saving counts.

The D-MAX body has a lower drag coefficient (Cd) figure, making it more aerodynamic and therefore more fuel efficient.

The most fuel efficient of all the model range is the manual 4x2 Low-Ride Single Chassis Cab, with a combined fuel consumption of 7.2L/00km – this can be attributed to two less drive wheels and fewer components causing drag in the drivetrain. Automatic models add 0.5l/100km and of the 4x4 models, the Single Chassis Cab again is the most fuel efficient, with a combined consumption of 7.8L/100km.

Due to a higher kerb weight, auto box and 4 driven wheels, the top-of-the-line LS-U and LS-T models use the most fuel, achieving a combined reading of 8.1L/100km.

Reviewers found real-world averages were nearer to 10.0L/100km.

Handling

On tarmac, the D-MAX rides about as well as you’d expect from a workhorse ute. Travelling on smooth roads, the ride is acceptable. However, as soon as the road becomes uneven, the stiff rear leaf springs make for a bumpy ride. The steering is best described as inconsistent and uninterested. Rivals, like the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok, are better on-road, with faster acceleration and more responsive steering.

Around town, drivers will appreciate the 3.8 turns lock-to-lock power assisted steering, but travelling around tight car parks and streets will be stressful with a 12.6-metre turning circle.

Off-road, the D-MAX is planted and capable, but not impressive. The lack of locking rear diff hampers its off-road abilities. However, it does boast a low first gear ratio that is well suited to off-road driving. The hill descent control feature is nice to have, but some reviewers wished it worked at lower speeds than its 4km/h minimum.

Interior and other features

D-MAX’s interior isn’t anything radical. In fact, almost all reviewers said it felt dated, thanks to this generation 2012 release. It doesn’t hold up when compared with its rivals, with cheap plastics and poor level of finishing.

The cab does have plenty of space for both front and rear passengers. Vision is good too thanks to large windows. There’s plenty of internal storage bins and lockers, but some of them have temperamental opening mechanisms.

Farmers will appreciate the spartan interior, particularly on the rugged EX model. It’s nothing if not practical. All models apart from the LS-U and LS-T have hose-down vinyl floor matting.

Moving up the model range, each one benefits from interior enhancements. The LS-U will give you climate control, Sky Sound, roof and door mounted 8-speaker audio system and built-in sat nav. All models sport a leather steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, with the exception of the EX, which just has audio controls.

Isuzu has given the LS-M, LS-U and LS-T LED daytime running lights and rear combination LED lights. Higher spec models receive a smattering of external chrome trim.

Loaded up, the D-MAX will carry almost 1,250kg in the tray, but the double cab models will only haul 919kg. The D-MAX coped with 750kg in the bed effortlessly, but whilst towing a boat and trailer, one reviewer said it was slightly flustered. Despite Isuzu adding extra sound insulation to the cab, the engine noise is very noticeable inside and it is certainly not as quiet as some of its rivals.

The D-MAX has no active driving assists whatsoever; all models do have ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist, hill descent control and emergency braking assist. In terms of safety, there are 6 airbags: dual front, curtain and side airbags, child seat tethers in the rear and anti-intrusion bars built into the doors.

4x2 features

Single Cab Chassis Low-Ride SXSingle Cab Chassis SXSingle Cab Ute SXCrew Cab Ute Low-Ride SXCrew Cab Chassis SXCrew Cab Ute SXCrew Cab Ute LS-U
6-Speed Manual Gearboxβœ”βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—
6-Speed β€œRev- Tronic” Automatic Transmission βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”
Locking Rear Differentialβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
Reversing CameraOPTOPTOPTOPTOPTOPTβœ”
Rear window demisterβœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Underbody steel skid plateβœ—βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”
Under-front aero coverβœ”βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—
Underbody protection for transfer box, sump, fuel tankβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
Standard Rear Leaf Suspensionβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”
Heavy Duty Rear Leaf Suspensionβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—
Heavy Duty Front Brakes (300mm disc)280mm discβœ”βœ”280mm discβœ”βœ”βœ”
Height-adjustable driver’s seatβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”
Double Wall Ute Tub, with 4 tie-downsβœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”
Halogen Headlightsβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—
Projector Lens Headlightβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”
Chrome Exterior Trimβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”
4 Speaker Sound Systemβœ”βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
6 Speaker Sound Systemβœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
8 Speaker Sky Sound Systemβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
7-inch Touchscreenβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—
8-inch Touchscreenβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”
Built-in Satellite Navigationβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”
Vinyl Flooringβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—
Carpet Flooringβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”

4x4 features

Single Cab Chassis EXSingle Cab Chassis SXSpace Cab Chassis SXSpace Cab Ute LS-UCrew Cab Chassis SXCrew Cab Ute SXCrew Cab Ute LS-MCrew Cab Ute LS-U
6-Speed Manual Gearboxβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
6-Speed β€œRev- Tronic” Automatic Transmission βœ—OptOptOptOptOptOptOpt
Locking Rear Differentialβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
Reversing Cameraβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”OPTOPTβœ”βœ”
Rear window demisterβœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Underbody steel skid plateβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Under-front aero coverβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
Underbody protection for transfer box, sump, fuel tankβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Standard Rear Leaf Suspensionβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ”
Heavy Duty Rear Leaf Suspensionβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ—
Heavy Duty Front Brakes (300mm disc)βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Height-adjustable driver’s seatβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Double Wall Ute Tub, with 4 tie-downsβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”
Halogen Headlightsβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ—
Projector Lens Headlightβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”
Chrome Exterior Trimβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”
4 Speaker Sound Systemβœ”βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
6 Speaker Sound Systemβœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—
8 Speaker Sky Sound Systemβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
7-inch Touchscreenβœ—βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—
8-inch Touchscreenβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”
Built-in Satellite Navigationβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”
Vinyl Flooringβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ—
Carpet Flooringβœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”βœ—βœ—βœ—βœ”

Verdict

The 2017 D-MAX is a bit of an unusual one. It doesn’t do anything particularly poorly but it fails to shine when held up against the tough competition. In the end, Isuzu slipped up by not dramatically altering a now 6-year-old platform to keep up with its rivals.

The D-MAX is noisy, even for a diesel – a problem that is magnified in the cab. It’s also not as well specced or built as say the VW Amarok or the Ford Ranger. It doesn’t offer the best value for money. The lack of rear locking diff, even as an option, hampers its abilities off-road.

In direct comparisons, the D-MAX finished below all other utes in this market. Should you buy one? Yes, but only if you get an astonishing deal. The stripped back, basic EX farm truck is a neat addition to the range for those who need a tough ute. Most other manufacturers don’t make a farm truck spec, so that’s something that might pull you towards the D-MAX .

The D-MAX then is a solid all-rounder that doesn’t under deliver, but it doesn’t shine either. You certainly won’t regret buying one, but you might just wonder β€œwhat if?”.

Compare finance options for an Isuzu D-Max

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From 4.67% (fixed)
5.22%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$400
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You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Note: Settle the loan before 30 November 2020 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel voucher. Terms & conditions apply.
RateSetter Car Loan
From 4.89% (fixed)
5.44%
$10,000
3 to 7 years
$399 (from $249 to $799)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a RateSetter Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
IMB Secured Personal Loan
6.45% (fixed)
6.8%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$275.12 ($250 Application fee + $25.12 PPS registration fee)
$0
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Benefit from this competitive rate by securing the loan with a vehicle up to 6 years old. Use this flexible loan for any purpose.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
7.16%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$265 ($175 Establishment Fee + $90 Security Administration Fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Greater Bank New Car Loan
From 5.49% (fixed)
5.87%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$275
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.49% p.a.
Apply for this loan to finance a brand new car or demonstrator vehicle and find out if you've been approved in 24 hours.
IMB New Car Loan
5.45% (fixed)
5.8%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$275.12 ($250 Application fee + $25.12 PPS registration fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.45% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 4.05% (fixed)
5.63%
$10,000
3 to 7 years
$700
$8.25
You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From 4.45% (fixed)
5%
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$350
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You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.45% p.a. with a comparison rate of 5% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan
4.89% (fixed)
5.16%
$25,000
1 to 7 years
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Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.
Jump Payments Car Loans
From 4.47% (fixed)
5.28%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$295 (Varies by lender, starting from $295)
$10
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Borrow between $5,000 and $250,000. Get access to customised finance options.
Greater Bank Secured Personal Loan
From 6.49% (fixed)
6.88%
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You’ll receive a comparison rate of 6.88% p.a. on funding from $5,000 - $100,000.
Loans are available on terms of up to 7 years and asset security is required. Get approved in as little as 24 hours.
NRMA New Car Loan
From 5.69% (fixed)
6.39%
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You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.69% p. a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.7%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
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You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.99% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
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