The Isuzu Dmax has been part and parcel of Kenya’s motoring furniture for decades. In its 6th generation, the Dmax has heritage and pedigree on its side, but is that enough to retain the crown as the perennial pick up truck leader in Kenya?
The pickup segment is experiencing massive growth. Manufacturers are now building pickups not only for work but also for play. Currently, the new Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 are fighting for the piece of the pickup pie. Will Isuzu get down and dirty with the rest of the pack? Cheki recently tested the refreshed car and decided to do a conclusive Isuzu Dmax Review. This is what we found out.
Basic design remains unchanged, however, a new set of Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) have been incorporated on the front bumper. New step rear bumper and a touch of chrome on the grill are the highlights of the revised Dmax.
The fascia design is still modern enough and the build quality seems very good indeed.
The centre console now houses a decent Android-powered touchscreen unit that offers Aux/USB support, Bluetooth, Google Maps navigation and Wi-Fi hotspot for the millennials.
The seats are supportively suitable for long drives, with ample leg and headroom for all passengers. Noticeably, Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels are low inside the cabin due to ample use of insulation materials in the engine bay and chassis.
In the pickup segment, power is everything. Isuzu reworked the proven 2.5-litre turbo diesel unit, bumping the power and torque levels by 15 kW and 40 Nm respectively to a more competitive 100 kW and 320 Nm.
The torque band starts from 1 800 to 2 800 rpm and is delivered to the four paws courtesy of a five-speed manual transmission that feels solid. Isuzu claims a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 7.9L/100 km, translating to a range of just over 1 000 km on a single 80L tank.
In terms of power delivery, the Dmax is at par with the Toyota but slightly lower than the Ford’s reworked 2.2-litre Ranger.
Behind the wheel, the Isuzu Dmax still feels like a pickup, more so than some of its newer, more sophisticated rivals will. Considering its off-road prowess, the Dmax must also be commended for a solid performance on the road. Steering feel is firm and void of play that was the hallmark of the previous generation Dmax.
Revised Chassis and Suspension
Isuzu also reworked the suspension system by using stiffer springs and dampers to reduce suspension play on rough surfaces. The net effect is it feels like the Ford Ranger, which by the way has impeccable road manners on all surfaces.
Isuzu ensured the safety of occupants remains paramount in the Dmax. Active safety features like Anti Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) will keep you from harm’s way.
Just in case all hell breaks loose you can count on the dual front airbags and crumple zones to dissipate impact energy away from the passenger cell. This subsequently mitigates injury.
The revised Dmax will attract buyers looking for a proper workhorse that still offers more value than competition. Is it as good as the perceived class leader, the Ford Ranger? In our opinion, it might not have the looks nor the gadgetry like the Ranger, but it’s as tough and reliable.