2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute (car review)

In the nigh on three weeks we had with the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute, traversing the NSW South Coast and townships like Kangaroo Valley, Nowra, Huskisson and Sanctuary Point, we learned just how capable an offering it really is.

One of the best selling utes in the country, the D-MAX competes with stalwarts like the Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux, along with newcomers like the LDV T60 MAX.

It’s a tough field to battle in, with tweaks to the Isuzu ensuring it can still battle. Those changes include spanky dark grey (almost black) 18-inch alloys, and a similar treatment for the side steps, mirrors, door and tailgate handles, and roof rails.

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You’ll also find the same look on the sports bar (which has red highlights) and the fender flares. The long list of standard equipment also includes an under rail tub liner, matte black roller tonneau cover, and a tow bar receiver.

You can optionally add a factory tow bar too (our test vehicle had one fitted), along with the 12-pin trailer plug and an electronic brake controller. The key features walk away locking and there’s a push button start to fire the somewhat noisy motor into life.

2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute
2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute

LED headlights, daytime running lights and fog lamps also feature, along with an interior package that includes carpet floors (there were rubber floor mats over that in our test vehicle too), a 9.0-inch infotainment system, satellite navigation and digital radio.

Android Auto (wired) and wireless Apple CarPlay also feature, but there’s no wireless phone charging – you’ll need to plug in for that. The 8-speaker sound system is good too (with speakers mounted in the roof for rear passengers).

Rounding out the interior are leather seats with red stitching, the front ones of which are heated, and a power adjustable driver’s seat. Rear seating is impressive too, with plenty of room in the back, along with a USB port and vents.

You’ll find a single USB port up front too, although we’re not sure why there’s just one, and a 12v power socket. The D-MAX X-Terrain is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine that punches out 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

While that’s less than a few of its rivals, at no time do you feel like the big pickup is struggling for get up and go. Paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential sport mode, fuel economy is a claimed 8.0-litres/100km.

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Inside the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute

We drove literally thousands of kilometres over a 19-day loan period, and managed a still solid 8.8-litres consistently. That’s pretty impressive. It has a 3.5-tonne towing braked towing capacity.

Independent high-ride coil springs and gas shock absorbers on the front, with upper and lower wishbones and a stabiliser bar provide plenty of support.  At the rear are alloy-steel over-slung long-span semi-elliptic leaf springs and gas shocks do their thing.

It’s an adequate package, but just feels standard. And that’s okay. Ride is comfortable on the road (with the D-MAX riding on Bridgestone Dueler rubber), but not exciting, if that makes sense. It’s capable, but feels just like your average ute.

You won’t find car like ride and handling like you do in say, the new Ford Ranger, but the D-MAX X-Terrain definitely handles everything you can throw at it, and does well off road too.

Not once, on a range of road surfaces, including dirt and gravel, did we not feel like we were in complete control, and the mix of 2H, 4H and 4L gives plenty of options to suit your needs. There’s also underbody protection with steel plate guards.

front seats
Inside the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute

That’s an added bonus for when you want to hit the real rough stuff, and there’s tailgate assist too, with gas struts helping ease the lowering and lifting, when you need to get things in and out of the back.

Aside from being able to use the sequential sport mode, there’s no real driving modes though. Again, it’s your average well-specced ute, rather than a sporty model or a luxury offering.

Safety tech is abundant to say the least too, which probably shows why the D-MAX has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. The long list includes autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, driver attention assist, blind spot monitoring.

While the latter can be a little overly conservative, it came in handy in heavy holiday traffic and rapidly changing speed conditions. The adaptive cruise control is quality too, although the lane support system seemed to be less keen to take responsibility for vehicle control.

That package includes lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane departure prevention and emergency lane keeping but kept throwing control back to the driver whenever it had a moment. You’ll also find traffic sign recognition and rear cross traffic alert.

rear seats
Inside the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute

One of truly nice things about the D-MAX is you can disable some of the safety tech at the push of a button. The X-Terrain also features the ability to shut off rear cross traffic, the parking sensors and blind spot monitoring when a trailer is connected.

We came to realise that the 12-pin plug was the vehicle’s control unit for this, and the bike rack we put on it caused the rear parking sensors to beep like a reversing Woolies truck trying to get out of a car park at Christmas time.

That aside, there’s also ABS, electronic stability and traction control, rollover mitigation, hill start assist, hill descent control and trailer sway control to keep you on the straight and narrow, whether you’re towing or not.

The 2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute is available in Basalt Black mica, Granite Grey mica, Magnetic Red mica, Mercury Silver metallic, Mineral White, Moonstone White Pearl, Neptune Blue mica, Obsidian Grey mica and Volcanic Amber metallic.

You can jump into one for $67,219 drive away, and it comes with a 6-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 7-years roadside assistance and 7-years capped price servicing. You can find out more on the Isuzu Ute website.

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2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute

If you’re keen on one and need finance, visit CreditOne.

Our test vehicle was supplied by Isuzu Ute Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4×4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute, contact your local Isuzu Ute dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
8
Exterior styling
8
Interior look and feel
7.5
Technology and connectivity
7.5
Family friendliness
8.5
Value for money
8

SUMMARY

Pros - loads of storage; family friendly; reliable and dependable package.
Cons - no wireless phone charging; minor model update; temperamental safety tech.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> loads of storage; family friendly; reliable and dependable package.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> no wireless phone charging; minor model update; temperamental safety tech.2023 Isuzu D-MAX 4x4 X-Terrain Crew Cab Ute (car review)