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Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 X-Terrain

Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 X-Terrain (2020-2021)

Also referred to as: Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 X-Terrain 2020 and Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 X-Terrain 2022.
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Introduction

Lifestyle utes or trucks, whatever you’d like to call these dual cab pick-ups, are coming in hot.

The Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN is part of the new generation line-up of the much loved D-MAX range. It's now topping the line-up as the most equipped, most off-road capable and most appealing to those who may have not considered owning a truck as their daily driver vehicle.

We don’t have the option of driving massive pick-up trucks here in Aus, as our inner-city roads and suburbs aren’t really designed to host F-150 sized vehicles.

Instead, we have the Aussie dual-cab ute. Usually powered by a four cylinder turbo diesel motor, offer off-road capability, and are usually driven by those who work on construction sites or work a trade job.

With the introduction of the VW Amarok, Mercedes X-Class and Ford Ranger Raptor, more and more Aussies began to move out of their large SUVs, and enjoy upmarket trucks. With superior off-road capabilities, cargo space and offered a unique change out from the aging SUV market.

And that’s where the Isuzu D-MAX X-TERRAIN comes in. It’s Isuzu’s turn to offer a luxury, top tier off-road truck.


Build Quality

4 out of 5.

DMAX_Interior

Utes and trucks are built to withstand the elements around a worksite.

That usually means there’s an increased chance you’ll encounter cheaper materials as these are designed to take a beating, and cheap to replace.

The Isuzu’s interior looks premium, and for the most part, feels it. While on road, and even off-road, there was a surprising lack of rattles, squeaks and shakes coming from the cabin, even over more demanding surfaces.

If you start moving your hand away from the steering wheel or door inserts, there is a use of cheaper plastic trim, with the biggest let down being the build quality of the centre storage bin. It just felt cheap and moved a bit too much side to side when opening and closing for my liking.

Other than that, the interior was a great place to be. Seats were a standout in comfort and support, both in the front and in the rear, buttons on the dash, the steering wheel and door inserts all felt high quality.

The outside felt as tough as it looks. Getting in and out of the D-MAX was confidence inspiring, as the side steps, handles and doors all felt solid.

Rear tailgate and tonneau cover operation was a pain point, as these required a bit too much force to open and close, especially if this is aimed at consumers looking to change from SUV to a truck. This could be a turn off seeing how it’s less convenient and requires more effort to open and close than the power tailgates of SUV’s.

Overall, the D-MAX X-TERRAIN is quiet and luxurious enough inside to travel long distances in, while also offering confidence when off-roading as you won’t feel as if you’re going to rattle the body panels off this thing on rough terrain.
Utes and trucks are built to withstand the elements around a worksite.

That usually means there’s an increased chance you’ll encounter cheaper materials as these are designed to take a beating, and cheap to replace.

The Isuzu’s interior looks premium, and for the most part, feels it. While on road, and even off-road, there was a surprising lack of rattles, squeaks and shakes coming from the cabin, even over more demanding surfaces.

If you start moving your hand away from the steering wheel or door inserts, there is a use of cheaper plastic trim, with the biggest let down being the build quality of the centre storage bin. It just felt cheap and moved a bit too much side to side when opening and closing for my liking.

Storage_Bin

Other than that, the interior was a great place to be. Seats were a standout in comfort and support, both in the front and in the rear, buttons on the dash, the steering wheel and door inserts all felt high quality.

The outside felt as tough as it looks. Getting in and out of the D-MAX was confidence inspiring, as the side steps, handles and doors all felt solid.

Rear tailgate and tonneau cover operation was a pain point, as these required a bit too much force to open and close, especially if this is aimed at consumers looking to change from SUV to a truck, it could be turn off seeing how it’s less convenient and requires more effort to open and close than the power tailgates of SUV’s.

Overall, the D-MAX X-TERRAIN is quiet and luxurious enough inside to travel long distances in, while also offering confidence when off-roading as you won’t feel as if you’re going to rattle the body panels off this thing on rough terrain.

Value for Money

4.3 out of 5.

DMAX_Front

The D-MAX X-TERRAIN's price starts from $62,900.00 before on-roads.

However, compared to direct competitors like the Ford Ranger FX4 and Toyota Hilux Rugged X, the D-MAX X-TERRAIN begins to offer a superior value for money score, simply due to its price, and equivalent equipment.

Isuzu offers a competitive tray size and load carrying capacity (970kg), a lockable and rolling hard tonneau cover, steel bash plates, roof rails, side steps, Bi-LED lights and modern safety features, which all help justify the price here.

Would I suggest buying one at this price? I mean, yes, I would. If you were cross shopping with the mentioned competitors, I’d happily mention for you to shop a D-MAX X-TERRAIN or even buy one at the mentioned price. As the equipment you get makes this a very comfortable daily driver, work truck or camping companion.

Cleaning and Maintenance

4 out of 5.

distanced

If you’re taking this truck off-road, you will eventually have to get around to cleaning it, even if it looks better being covered in mud and dirt.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, the X-TERRAIN is simple to clean, everything is easy to access, especially due to the raised ride height.

You can easily inspect suspension components without being on a lift, and thanks to a step on the rear bumper, access to wash the rear tray is a lot easier than it looks.

I especially appreciated the flat design of the alloy wheels, which made wiping mud and dirt off these wheels a lot easier than a multi-spoke design.

As for maintenance, as standard, the D-MAX comes with a 6 years warranty/150,000km, 7 years roadside assistance and 7 years capped price servicing.

The new generation D-MAX also offers a 20% stronger ladder chassis, higher mounted suspension control arms, lighter but stronger leaf suspension and a claimed 4,000,000 kilometres of simulated testing over 6 years here in Australia.

underneath_ute

Hopefully, this will translate into an increase in long-term reliability.

Isuzu is transperant on what scheduled services with them will cost, as part of Isuzu’s capped price servicing, with your cheapest service costing you $299.00 at 75,000 kms. Your most expensive service costing $749.00 at 90,000 kms.

Service intervals are 15,000 kilometres apart, which is normal.

Noise Level

4 out of 5.

tires

There’s no mistaking that there is a diesel motor under the hood, or that you’re rocking hybrid road/off-road tires.

Immediately starting up the D-MAX, you’re greeted with a distinct turbo diesel thrum, which quiets down once you get moving.

Any passengers I had in the car were astounded by how quiet the car was once up to speed when driving around town. There’s plenty of sound deadening here, and a solid build quality means little to no audible rattles over bumps.

speaker

And I was impressed too, at speeds between 40km/h through to 110km/h, the D-MAX was quiet and a relaxing environment to be in, I really enjoyed my time travelling in this truck.

Unfortunately at speeds between 0km/h to 40km/h, the engine wasn’t the issue here, but it was the tires.

Turning around sharper corners or progressive bends in the road, your tires begin to claw for grip, and they let you know they want more grip too with an audible ‘whir’.

I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed when I caught the attention of pedestrians who thought I was hooning in the D-MAX, when in fact, it was the tires just causing a bit more noise than traditional road tires.

Other than the tires, the D-MAX offers a quiet and peaceful environment to travel in, both on and off-road.

Braking

4.3 out of 5.

brakes

Part of reserving my justification for the D-MAX X-TERRAIN’s price were the brakes.

Not the front disks, they’re all good and work as expected, but the reservation was for the rear drum brakes.

I understand that rear drum brakes offer some advantages over disks when towing and carrying large payloads, but for a lifestyle ute like this, I believe that this was a bit of an oversight.

When comparing the D-MAX to its competitors, some offer all round disk brakes, which under heavy braking, would be far more predictable and familiar to those who are used to how SUV’s perform.

In addition, disk brakes would offer better braking performance over drums when heading off road, through water and mud. In comparison, drums would have an increased chance of reduced performance when encountering contaminants like this.

This reservation is all on paper, as the D-MAX’s braking performance was ideal the entire time I drove it. Progressive, predictable and smooth. Nothing out of the ordinary, and especially coming from someone who usually drives a car that weighs under a tonne, the braking performance really did mask the weight of this truck.

Acceleration/Power

4 out of 5.

engine

Acceleration isn’t really what you’d be buying a D-MAX X-TERRAIN for, as some sources have claimed the D-MAX to head to 100km/h in around 10 seconds.

When driving around town, and even on the highway, I couldn’t tell you this thing felt underpowered. Quite the opposite actually.

That would be thanks to the 450Nm being produced by the large 3.0L 4 cylinder motor, being delivered as low as 1,600rpm.

Never did I feel like the D-MAX was ‘running out of puff’ at higher speed thanks to possessing 140kW, nor did I feel any distinct lag in the engine when setting off from lights in city driving.

Off road, the ability to shift into low-range mode, amplifies the power delivered from the engine in conditions that would offer less grip, such as traversing across mud, through 800mm (the maximum wading depth of the D-MAX) of water or up steep loose gravel surfaces.

drive_modes

The Isuzu’s power off-road was delivered smoothly, consistently and reliably, so there were no complaints about the power delivery here, it was as expected.

Improvements? Well, I would be excited to put the more powerful VW Amarok or Ford Ranger Raptor up against the D-MAX to see if an increase in power may improve the on road handling of a dual cab ute of this size.

Gear Shifting

4.2 out of 5.

offroad

This turbo diesel motor, and four wheel drive system is paired to an automatic 6-speed gearbox.

6 speed is a little antiquated compared to the likes of modern SUV’s which are now offering 7 speed or up to 9 speed gearboxes.

But, you can’t fault 6 speed if it works, and in this case, it does.

My past experiences with gearboxes with 8 or 9 speeds is that the concept of being more fuel efficient and quiet is thrown out the window when the gearbox can’t decide if it wants to be in 2nd or 7th gear when travelling at 50km/h.

It’s distracting when a gearbox jumps around trying to figure out what gear is best suited for the driving conditions.

On occasion, there was minor lurching from the gearbox when providing small adjustments from the accelerator. There were also some moments when gears lingered just a bit too long when downshifting at higher speeds.

Overall, the gearbox was a fine pairing with this motor, offering a smooth and predictable driving experience, with the correct gear selected for almost all conditions. I especially loved how under hard acceleration, the D-MAX wasn’t hesitant to rev out the motor to higher rpm’s, offering a smooth acceleration experience, over a gearbox that may have short shifted to change up gears prematurely.

Suspension

3.9 out of 5.

suspenion

This is a double edged sword.

On one side, the suspension setup feels great.

It’s a high riding dual purpose setup, designed for comfort during road use, and capability off road.

I love how the suspension set-up looks on the D-MAX X-TERRAIN, it really makes the look of the truck. Giving this truck the appearance of being able to tackle the toughest of terrains.

uphill

The only downside which is obvious to those who know, is that this results in some body roll during corners at higher speeds, which is simply the trade off you need to accept if you want to drive a large dual cab ute that is designed to head off-road.

Besides some body roll, on-road manners were impressive, with there being obvious local testing involved. Aussie roads did not phase the D-MAX, it behaved well across all surfaces it encountered. Ironed out the creases and bumps, without resulting in an overly numb driving experience.

Fuel Efficiency

3.8 out of 5.

guages

Averaging around 10L/100km around town, traffic and occasional highway driving, I wasn’t shocked by this number, or disappointed.

Naturally, any motor will be thirsty in a car that weighs 2130kg and rides as high as this truck.

Aerodynamics and weight are working against the D-MAX here, but ultimately, a claimed 8L/100km should be close to achievable under longer stretches of road without too much traffic.

The D-MAX carries 76L of diesel, which will cost you around $111.00 to fill from empty.

However, I only needed to fuel up once during the week-long loan we had with the D-MAX. If you’re travelling less than 50km a day, you should only be fuelling up once every 2 weeks, with the D-MAX claiming it possessed a range as high as 900km on a full tank.

Handling

4.1 out of 5.

downhill

A dual purpose suspension set-up matched with a respectable power and a purposeful four wheel drive system, the D-MAX is able to drive you to the campground on Friday, head deep into the bush, and bring you back for work at 9AM on Monday.

It was the handling of the D-MAX that made driving an absolute pleasure compared to my usual experiences of sports cars.

Instead of sighing and needing to prepare my mind for a demanding and engaging drive, I knew as I stepped up into the cabin of the D-MAX, that I could easily enjoy a longer drive, and arrive relaxed and refreshed.

All this is thanks to the fact that the physical size of the D-MAX makes manoeuvring through Sydney streets a non-event.

Navigating tight lane-ways, blind sharp turns, and crowded suburban streets became non-event tasks. I thought I was going to have to plan alternate routes, and avoid car parks, but instead, was driving the D-MAX as I would a Fiat 500.

Albeit parking is a bit of a problem thanks to the length of the ute.

further_downhill

Heading on highways and backroads, the D-MAX remains relatively flat, and solid on the road.

Sweeping turns can get away from you if you try to maintain speed as you would in say, a station wagon or SUV.

So if you like a bit of fun through corners, the D-MAX isn’t your friend, more of a mum that tells you to slow down and gracefully move through turns, rather than hunting apex’s in corners.

But that’s alright, since a sharp left off the tarmac reveals the true purpose of the D-MAX X-TERRAIN.

Off the road, the suspension, even with no payload in the rear tray, behaves with exceptional precision. The handling setup of the truck allows you to explore tougher terrain, without having your eyeballs shaken out of your skull.

Interior Design

4.4 out of 5.

DMAX_interior

By far the most impressive feature of the D-MAX X-TERRAIN.

From photos, I could immediately tell that the revised interior was a step above other dual cab brands.

It’s the one thing I’ve never understood in this segment, making a beautifully brutish exterior, but incorporating an interior from 2009.

This is where I feel Isuzu really worked hard to shake this perception.

It features one of the largest centre media screens in the segment, at 9 inches. There is also a 4.2 inch digital display between two analogue gauges in the driver’s instrument cluster to help modernise the cabin.

Wireless Apple CarPlay meant I never needed to worry about connecting my phone to a cord everytime I set off, nicely complimenting the low latency and clear centre screen.

There’s a sense of care with the interior design here, thoughtfulness on making this feel like a nice place to spend many hours in, both in the front and in the back seats.

Exposed stitching on the dashboard, centre console, and door panels was noted, holding in soft-feeling leather material.

DMAX_interior_storage

Yes, there were some cheap materials used, but it could be excused as most of the interior avoided resorting to overuse of such materials.

The seats were the ultimate highlight, comfortable for long trips, with great shoulder support, along with rear seats also being contoured to comfortably fit four adults.

The rear seats have to make do with one USB port, but other than that, the equipment was as expected here in the back of the D-MAX.

Boot Size

4.4 out of 5.

rear_boot

Not a boot, but a tray.

The only reason why you’re buying a ute, is because of the massive load carrying capacity they possess over traditional SUV’s or station wagons.

Your load area is 1570mm in length, 1530mm in max width and 490mm in height.

You have a max rear payload of 970kg.

The entire tray is covered in a robust tray liner, which means you don’t have to be too shy pulling items in and out of the rear.

tray

The locking tonneau cover is a fantastic addition, especially as it’s a rolling cover, meaning you don’t need to lock it every time you drive, unlike a lockable hard lid cover.

You’re also able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, very respectable, making this a more than capable ute for most requirements.

cover

Not only do you have tray space, but you also have a sizable amount of interior storage space, as the rear seats can have their bottom half folded 90 degrees, and reveal additional storage space.

There’s a 60/40 split, in this design, with small containers under the seats designed to carry small items such as tow straps.

rear_seats

One complaint? The fact that the D-MAX X-TERRAIN possesses keyless entry and exit, however to unlock the rear tray and tonneau cover, you require two separate keys.

Fiddling with the small plastic release on the key fob to reveal the physical key to lock and unlock the rear tray was a little annoying, something to be careful of when frequently locking and unlocking the tray.

Comfort

4.3 out of 5.

rear_seats

Interior comfort, as mentioned, is fantastic.

It’s plush, pretty quiet and the swath of safety and convenience features make the D-MAX one of the more comfortable cars I’ve tested.

Negotiating speed humps, potholes and bumper to bumper traffic was never an issue or stressful when riding in the D-MAX.

Reversing a car of this length out of car spaces was a breeze thanks to the rear cross traffic alert, which sounded if it thought you were about to reverse into someone crossing behind you.

The inclusion of radar cruise control, wireless Apple CarPlay, easy-to-operate climate controls and some of the best bolstered seats in the segment made all types of commuting enjoyable and relaxing.

You’re only ever going to be uncomfortable in the inner city when you’re trying to fit all 5.28 metres of D-MAX into parking space or down a tight backstreet.

Features

4.1 out of 5.

front_angled
  • 3.0L Turbocharged 4 cylinder, diesel
  • 140kW, 450Nm
  • 3.5t towing capacity
  • 6-speed automatic
  • Steel timing chain
  • Split camshaft
  • Double scissor gears
  • Android Auto and wireless AppleCarPlay with DAB+ digital radio and voice recognition, standard across entire range
  • 9” Audio Display with sat nav, standard on LS-U and X-TERRAIN
  • 8 speaker audio system
  • Dual zone climate control, standard on LS-U and X-TERRAIN
  • Rear Differential Lock button, engages only in 4WD-low
  • Terrain Command button
  • Push button start
  • SMART MID (Multi Information Display) standard across the range, providing a variety of vehicle information
  • Steering wheel controls, with Adaptive Cruise, and audio controls, adaptive cruise is only for automatic transmissions
  • Leather-accented upholstery with leatherette across interior trims
  • Premium leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support
  • Welcome light
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Post-Collision Braking, brings car to a stop if an impact occurs
  • Turn Assist with AEB - detects a potential collision during a turn, emergency braking is applied automatically
  • Misaccerlation Mitigation, slow moving areas like a car park, stereo cameras determine whether accelerator has been applied accidentally. Should a potential collision be detected, brakes are automatically applied. Auto cars only.
  • Drive Attention Assist, has been designed to identify signs of fatigue or inaccurate driving behaviour
  • Trailer sway control, apply brakes to individual vehicle wheels to help bring the trailer under control
  • 5 star ANCAP rating in 2020
  • Lane Driving Features
  • Lane departure prevention, is activated if the vehicle to depart from the drivers lane, will steer in the correct direction to help prevent lane departure
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive Cruise with Stop and Go functionality, auto only
  • Emergency lane keeping
  • Lane Keep Assist, detect road markings and assist steering operation by keeping vehicle in the lane
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Reversing cameras
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Traffic safety features
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Intelligent speed limiter, when active, prevents the vehicle from exceeding the signed speed limit
  • Passive safety features
  • Eight airbags
  • ISO fix in crew cab models
  • Impact absorbing chassis
  • Safety cabin shell
  • Rear Differential Lock
  • 800MM wading depth
  • 2WD High Mode
  • 4WD High Mode
  • 4WD Low Mode
  • Hill Start Assist and Descent Control
  • Steel underbody panels, which includes a steel sump and transfer case guard, which allows you to bash against rocks and other debris when offroading
  • Improved approach, departure and ramp over angles
  • Remote engine start, air conditioning can be activated prior to entry, standard on X-TERRAIN
  • Walk Away Door lock, 3M radius, standard on X-TERRAIN
  • Coming home lights, stay on when you lock your car

Should you buy one?

rear_truck

I say you should buy one.

If you've compared the D-MAX with other dual cab utes, and decide it's the truck for you. There is no need to hesitate.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the X-TERRAIN and could see myself heading into work in plenty of comfort, and even had the urge to go camping again. I'm sure you'll love the look of the D-MAX X-TERRAIN in your driveway, while also enjoying the benefits of an off-road capable vehicle like this one.

CameronPicture

About the author
Cameron is your typical car nut, but also drives and writes about cars for ProductReview.

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Details

Compare all 11 Isuzu D-MAX
CategoryUtes
Starting Price $67,990
TransmissionAutomatic
Drive TypeFour Wheel Drive (4WD)
Fuel TypeDiesel
Wheels18" Dark Grey Alloy
ANCAP Safety Rating5 Stars
Fuel Consumption8 L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity 76 L
Engine4 Cylinder 3.0L
Engine Code34JJ1-TCX
Max Power140kW @ 3600 rpm
Max Torque450Nm @ 1600-2600 rpm
Country of ManufactureThailand
Tray TypeCab Chassis
Cab Options Extra
Maximum Towing Capacity (unbraked)750 kg
Maximum Towing Capacity (braked)3,500 kg
Maximum Payload970 kg
Ground Clearance240 mm
Manufacturer Warranty6 year(s)
Release dateAug 2020
Compare all 11 Isuzu D-MAX

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