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 score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
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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
"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
"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
"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
CarAdvice70%"It is what it always has been: an honest, reliable, strong, competent and rugged ute that can handle work, play and adventure."Read more
"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?

PayloadANCAP RatingPrice (from)Finder Score

Volkswagen Amarok
1020kg5-Stars$35,49085.00%

Nissan Navara
930kg5-Stars$31,99075.00%

Isuzu D-Max
924kg5-Stars$34,80073.25%

Toyota HiLux
924kg5-Stars$39,49073.33%

Ford Ranger
1085kg5-Stars$31,44981.25%

Mazda BT-50
1039kg5-Stars$36,49078.00%

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
“If 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
“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. 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
“All 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
“The facelifted 2017 Isuzu D-MAX LS-M isn't quite a full-on workhorse ute, but nor is it a lifestyle truck.”
Pros/Cons
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
“If 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
“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. 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
“All 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
“The 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 travelling 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 “Rev-tronic” gearbox. The auto features sequential shift, brake shift lock and a fuel-saving locking torque converter on key gears. Reviewers labelled it “impressive” and “intuitive”.

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 typeDirect injection, 16-valve with chain-driven double overhead camFuel typeDiesel
Engine size/displacement3.0L, 2,999ccFuel tank capacity76 litres
CylindersInline 4Fuel consumption (best model High-Ride Single Chassis Cab) – urban9.3L/100km
Max. torque430Nm @ 2,000–2,200rpmFuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – extra urban5.8L/100km
Max. power130kW @ 3,600rpmFuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – combined7.2L/100km
AccelerationN/ACombined CO2 emissions190g/km–203g/km 4x2
207g/km–213g/km 4x4
Top speedN/AEmissions standardEuro 5
Transmission6-speed Isuzu MVL-6N Manual or
Aisin AWR6B45II 6-speed "Rev-Tronic" Automatic
SecurityEngine immobiliser
Drivetrain4x2 or 4x4Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)3,500kg/750kg
Engine typeDirect injection, 16-valve with chain-driven double overhead cam
Fuel typeDiesel
Engine size/displacement3.0L, 2,999cc
Fuel tank capacity76 litres
CylindersInline 4
Fuel consumption (best model High-Ride Single Chassis Cab) – urban9.3L/100km
Max. torque430Nm @ 2,000–2,200rpm
Fuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – extra urban5.8L/100km
Max. power130kW @ 3,600rpm
Fuel consumption (best model Low-Ride Chassis Cab) – combined7.2L/100km
AccelerationN/A
Combined CO2 emissions190g/km–203g/km 4x2
207g/km–213g/km 4x4
Top speedN/A
Emissions standardEuro 5
Transmission6-speed Isuzu MVL-6N Manual or
Aisin AWR6B45II 6-speed "Rev-Tronic" Automatic
SecurityEngine immobiliser
Drivetrain4x2 or 4x4
Towing 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 Gearbox
6-Speed “Rev- Tronic” Automatic Transmission
Locking Rear Differential
Reversing CameraOPTOPTOPTOPTOPTOPT
Rear window demister
Underbody steel skid plate
Under-front aero cover
Underbody protection for transfer box, sump, fuel tank
Standard Rear Leaf Suspension
Heavy Duty Rear Leaf Suspension
Heavy Duty Front Brakes (300mm disc)280mm disc280mm disc
Height-adjustable driver’s seat
Double Wall Ute Tub, with 4 tie-downs
Halogen Headlights
Projector Lens Headlight
Chrome Exterior Trim
4 Speaker Sound System
6 Speaker Sound System
8 Speaker Sky Sound System
7-inch Touchscreen
8-inch Touchscreen
Built-in Satellite Navigation
Vinyl Flooring
Carpet Flooring

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 Gearbox
6-Speed “Rev- Tronic” Automatic Transmission OptOptOptOptOptOptOpt
Locking Rear Differential
Reversing CameraOPTOPT
Rear window demister
Underbody steel skid plate
Under-front aero cover
Underbody protection for transfer box, sump, fuel tank
Standard Rear Leaf Suspension
Heavy Duty Rear Leaf Suspension
Heavy Duty Front Brakes (300mm disc)
Height-adjustable driver’s seat
Double Wall Ute Tub, with 4 tie-downs
Halogen Headlights
Projector Lens Headlight
Chrome Exterior Trim
4 Speaker Sound System
6 Speaker Sound System
8 Speaker Sky Sound System
7-inch Touchscreen
8-inch Touchscreen
Built-in Satellite Navigation
Vinyl Flooring
Carpet Flooring

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 “what if?”.

Compare some options to finance a Isuzu D-Max

Rates last updated May 28th, 2018
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Monthly Service Fee Application Fee Product Description Monthly Repayment
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 5.29% (fixed)
6.56%
$18,000
1 to 7 years
$8.90
$459.20
Apply for up to $100,000 and have up to 7 year(s) to repay. You can use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit.
IMB New Car Loan
5.99% (fixed)
6.34%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$250
Borrow up to $75,000 for a new car up to two years old. Competitive 5.99% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants.
RACV New Car Loans
From 5.99% (fixed)
6.53%
$15,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$380
A competitive rate car loan from RACV with no monthly fees and 5-hour loan approval.
MyState Secured Personal Loan
From 7.99% (variable)
8.96%
$10,000
1 to 10 years
$10
$200
Apply for a loan up to $75,000 and benefit from loan terms up to 10 years. Your choice between secured or unsecured.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
6.92%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$0
$0
A competitive car loan for new or used vehicles up to 7 years old that offers flexible repayment options and no account keeping fees.
Heritage Bank Car Loan
From 8.99% (fixed)
9.62%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$5
$200
Apply for up to $100,000 to finance a new or used car at a competitive fixed rate.
IMB Secured Personal Loan
6.89% (fixed)
7.24%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$0
$250
All approved applicants can access this competitive rate and use the loan to finance a range of purposes. Loan amounts up to $60,000 available.
Westpac Car Loan
8.49% (fixed)
9.67%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$12
$250
Finance a new or used car and benefit from great features for car buyers including a car search tool and the option to borrow extra for on-road costs. Borrow funds to purchase a new or used car before 28 June 2018 and receive a $200 fuel voucher.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pictures: Isuzuute.com.au

Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Stratton Finance New Car Loan

Apply for up to $100,000 and have up to 7 year(s) to repay. You can use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit.

IMB New Car Loan

Borrow up to $75,000 for a new car up to two years old. Competitive 5.99% p.a. rate available to all approved applicants.

RACV New Car Loans

A competitive rate car loan from RACV with no monthly fees and 5-hour loan approval.

CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan

A competitive car loan for new or used vehicles up to 7 years old that offers flexible repayment options and no account keeping fees.

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