2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain Review | Finder

2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain Review

Isuzu has overhauled the 2021 D-Max with a new look, new tech and a new engine – but does it come up to the top of the pile?

2021 isuzu d-max x-terrain review

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In Australia, the sales charts are dominated by the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, and I am not talking just about the ute segment. I am talking overall.

If you look at the top five vehicles sold in Australia during October, the HiLux and Ranger, combined, outsold the remaining three vehicles in the form of the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prado and Toyota Corolla.

I guess what I am saying is, firstly, this is an important segment for Isuzu to crack. Secondly, when you launch a new ute in this segment, it is going up against the most popular, well-established vehicles in Australia.

So, with its update, has Isuzu done enough with the 2021 D-Max to put it up the top of the pile?

What we tested: 2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain

Our test vehicle was the top-of-the-line X-Terrain model. While you can grab a new D-Max for as little as $32,200, the model pictured is priced at a drive-away cost of $62,990.

You get a number of additions that set it apart from the rest of the D-Max range:

  • X-terrain decals
  • Flared wheel arches
  • Roof rails
  • 18-inch alloys with a unique design
  • Side steps
  • Remote start and keyless entry
  • Leather-accented seats
  • And more

You'll have no problem spotting an X-Terrain on the road. The external kit sets it apart from the range and, in my opinion, it looks impressive.

What is the Isuzu D-Max like inside?

Inside the cabin, things have really been stepped up a notch. From a personal point of view, we have had an MU-X in the family for a number of years, so from first-hand experience, it really is a case of chalk and cheese.

The X-Terrain gets leather-accented seats and soft-touch surfaces throughout. They both add a more premium element to the interior in terms of finish quality that you can't fault.
Picture not described
Up front, there is a good amount of storage, with door pockets and centre bins a good size. You also have the glove box, two cup holders and some space underneath the central switchgear to store things like phones when they're wired up to the single USB port.

The new infotainment system has had some love. Isuzu fans and consumers will be happy to see that it comes with Apple CarPlay (wirelessly too!) and Android Auto. You can access digital radio and satellite navigation through the 9.0-inch touchscreen as well, but I found myself switching to Android Auto for directions.

I couldn't quite wrap my head around the functionality of actually setting the destination. It wasn't as simple as competitor systems and will require some getting used to, so make sure you have a play around with this if you go on a test drive.

The system is hooked up to an eight-speaker sound system with two surround sound speakers mounted to the roof. All up, the system packs some punch.

Below the screen, you have the switchgear for the dual climate control system – all of which felt sturdy.

Jump in the back and legroom is respectable for a dual-cab ute. I could fit behind my driving position (I'm a smidge over 6 foot) with a bit of clearance to spare in terms of knee and headroom. Directional air vents will keep rear passengers at temperature and there is a single USB port for the kids to fight over.

There is no shortage of storage space in the back either. Along with the two cup holders in the fold-down armrest and door storage, you can lift the base of the rear seats to find two further storage areas. Usefully, the rear seats will fold down if you aren't carting anyone around and need additional space.

It can also be justified as a sensible option for use as a family car too, with the 2021 D-Max having two ISOFIX mounting points in the back row for securing child seats.

Tub details

The tub on the X-Terrain model measures 1,570mm in length and 1,530mm in width and comes with a tub-liner as standard. To keep your tools and valuables safe, it also comes with a lockable, roller tonneau cover.

Load it to the hilt and it will carry just shy of a tonne, with the payload rated at 970kgs.

A 3,500kg braked towing capacity also means that when you hitch up a trailer or loaded caravan, it should be able to pull it along without trouble.

What is the 2021 Isuzu D-Max like to drive?

Starting under the hood, the Isuzu D-Max gets a new 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. It is good for 140kW and 450Nm, but if you have been researching utes, you'll see this is lower than competitors like the Ford Ranger, which produces 147Kw and 470Nm from its 3.2-litre turbo diesel unit or 157Kw and 500Nm from Ford's wound-up 2.0-litre BiTurbo unit.

The recently updated Toyota HiLux has also had a power boost to 150Kw and 500Nm from a turbocharged 2.8-litre diesel engine.

Even though the D-Max bit down on power, it has enough grunt for everyday life. You can access the power down low too, so it is fairly spritely off the mark. Bury your foot hard enough through the floor and you may even get a little wheel spin.

Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain offroad

The six-speed automatic we tried is set up in such a way that it gets the most out of this engine easily and it goes about its business without fuss.

You can tell that Isuzu has put a big focus on how the 2021 D-Max rides on those everyday-life trips. The reality is that on the road, in traffic, is where it is going to spend most of its life, with some weekend warriors taking it off-road occasionally.

The results are proof of this. It isn't as comfortable or soft to ride in as a Ranger Raptor, but it is one of the better rides in the segment – right up there with the Ranger Wildtrak. It will handle those daily trips without being uncomfortable. Plus, there's the added benefit of being able to get off-road when called upon.

It is worth noting that the turning circle is 12.5-metres, so it could make things a bit tough for those inner-city residents. With that being said, the steering is quite light, so making a turn that has several points isn't going to be as hard a task as it is in, say, a Nissan Navara.

Heading off-road, it is quite accomplished too. While we didn't do anything too tough or terrifying, with its locking diff and low-range engaged, it handled everything we threw at it. On unsealed roads, it was quite accomplished too, handling corrugation and loose surfaces well.

Along with the locking diff, you get hill descent control, a 30.5-degree approach angle and 24.2-degree departure angle (on the X-Terrain model) as well as a ground clearance of 240mm.

Approach angles across the range differ by just under a degree with the SX single cab being able to approach at 29.6 degrees. In terms of departure angle, the SX single cab is rated at 28.9 degrees.

Isuzu D-Max offroad review

Accessorising a 2021 Isuzu D-Max

If you think something is missing as standard on the X-Terrain, keep in mind that Isuzu offers an extensive accessories list, with over 50 available directly from dealers. Accessories include towbars, tonneau covers, toolboxes, electric brake systems and more. Option a bull bar on your new ute and you can rest easy knowing that they will work with all the active safety systems, like AEB and adaptive cruise control.

How safe is the 2021 Isuzu D-Max?

Safety is another area where Isuzu has really stepped it up a notch, with the new D-Max now boasting a safety suite comparable with the best of them. Throughout the cab, you get eight airbags as standard, and in terms of tech, the following systems will do their best to keep you and your passengers safe:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Forward collision warning system
  • Adaptive cruise control on automatic models (which we had)
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Turn assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

There are many more safety systems beyond what's listed above that are standard across the range, too. As we had the D-Max X-terrain for our review, we also had front and rear parking sensors.

Ownership/servicing

Isuzu offers a 7-year, capped-price servicing plan with service intervals falling every 15,000kms or 12 months, whichever comes first.

Having a look through the Isuzu website, servicing prices are as follows:

  1. $389
  2. $409
  3. $609
  4. $509
  5. $299
  6. $749
  7. $409

The total price is $3,373 over the course of those 7 years.

Fitted with a 76-litre fuel tank, and taking the average price of diesel in New South Wales today into account ($1.18 a litre), according to Fuel Check NSW, the 2021 Isuzu D-Max will cost $89.68 to fill to the brim.

The verdict

In recent years, the Isuzu range is one that I have had a soft spot for.

Despite their simple and, frankly, cheaper interiors, making truck engines is second nature to Isuzu. You get an honest, workhorse-like vehicle that is as reliable as they come these days.

I am a big fan of the new D-Max, and in my opinion, if you are looking at a new 4x4 ute, this is certainly worth a look. In my view, and those of many others, it is right at the top of the segment pile.

Compare some options to finance a 2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain

Data updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Plenti Car Loan
From
4.89%
(fixed)
5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
(fixed)
5.22%
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. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
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. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
IMB New Car Loan
4.99%
(fixed)
5.34%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
3.85%
(fixed)
4.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

NRMA New Car Loan
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% 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.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% 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.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
4.74%
(fixed)
5.01%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.35%
(fixed)
5.65%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79%
(fixed)
7.16%
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.
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.
Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)
From
5.99%
(fixed)
7.26%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
4.05%
(fixed)
5.63%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. 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.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. 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.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From
6.99%
(fixed)
6.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Driva Car Loan
From
3.95%
(fixed)
5.1%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.95% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.95% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
RACV New Car Loans
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From
6.49%
(fixed)
7.19%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.49% 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.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.49% 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.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From
5.75%
(variable)
6.47%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
People's Choice CU Discounted Personal Loan (Car Loan)
From
4.65%
(fixed)
4.99%
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Compare car insurance products side-by-side and get quotes

Data updated regularly
Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
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Want to read more car reviews? Check out our car reviews section, or, if you already know what you are after, it might be worth comparing car loan options as well as car insurance to see how much you could save.

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