THE Isuzu D-MAX LS-T Crew Cab. It, or another variant from across the range, is a common sight on Australian roads, and even more so, doing its thing on some of the harder, more challenging 4WD and off road tracks our country has to offer.
Having first turned up on our shores in 2008, it’s since proved itself worthy of its growing fan base, and its place among the vehicles of choice in Australia’s fastest growing automotive sales category – light commercial vehicles.
We’ll call them utes for the sake of a proper definition about just the type of vehicle we’re talking about here, but you can call them pickups or even trucks if you want. Aside from its off-road credentials though, the D-MAX is a bit of a crew cab dark horse.
In a space dominated by major players Toyota, Ford and Mitsubishi (the the Hilux, Ranger and Triton respectively), the 2019 Isuzu D-MAX LS-T Crew Cab offers a solid alternative to the big kids in the playground.
From a driving point of view, the LS-T we tested has a 4-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo diesel power plant, coupled to a 6-speed dual range automatic transmission. The combination is a good one, that drives really well.
Now, if you’re a dedicated petrol head who believes the only type of engine that works properly is a petrol driven, internal combustion engine, then we heartily recommend that you go to your nearest Isuzu dealer and take one for a drive.
It might just change your mind. Because it’s a diesel, it wont be whisper quiet. It sounds like a diesel – funny that. Although it does feel a little extra agricultural against some of its quieter rivals. Isuzu claims 9.5-litres/100km fuel economy. We managed 9.1.
On the highway at 110km/h though, the D-MAX feels civilised and offers a smooth ‘on-road’ ride. It’s mighty capable off road too, making it a great all-round vehicle for weekends away, as a tradie ute, or just as your daily drive.
It can tow 3,500kg braked, which is 300kg more than the Hilux, and the same as arch rival Ford’s Ranger (although the Ranger has 150kg better GVM), which means you won’t even notice the big boat or caravan you’re pulling up the freeway.
The driving experience, enhanced by locally tuned suspension, is let down by the seating position. It takes a little getting used to and the steering column would benefit greatly from telescoping adjustment, rather than simply up and down.
For a taller driver, the overall comfort experience might detract from driving for extended periods. That said, we loaded it up with passengers and hit the road to get some feel about what it’s like to drive, full of people.
Overall the experience was a positive one, with seat comfort the highlight. The driver’s seat gets electric adjustment and our rear seat passengers loved how much leg and head room there was in the back.
We might go so far as to call the rear leg room class leading. It’s a big call we know, but we’re going there. The leather accented seats and the leather-bound steering wheel are nice touches too.
The only addition we would make to the seating would be to add warming for those cold mornings. That might sound a little soft, but a ute is a pretty damn cold beast to climb into in the middle of winter.
The technology in the 2019 Isuzu D-MAX LS-T is solid, but it’s also pretty basic. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which you might expect in a top-of-the-line model, and while the touch screen infotainment system is easy to use, it feels a little dated.
It does have a solid sound system, SatNav and Bluetooth though, and there’s a HDMI port in the front that allows movies to be played on the infotainment system. There’s also two USB ports in the front and one in the back, and a 5v power outlet in the top glove box.
Yes we did say top glove box, because there’s a bottom one as well. There’s storage compartments everywhere in the D-MAX, so much so we reckon you’d have a hard time having something to put in all of them.
The dash looks particularly paired back and sparse. Not necessarily a bad thing if you don’t like busy dashes, but some will find it a little bare.
On the outside, there’s a bucket load of cool colours, including the Cobalt Blue we tested, plus Cosmic Black, Graphite and Obsidian Grey, Magnetic Red, Titanium Silver and Splash White.
Our test vehicle came with a double locking roller shutter style tonneau cover, alloy wheels, a full-sized alloy spare, tow bar, side steps and LED driving lights. There’s plenty of safety kit too.
You’ll find a reversing camera, emergency brake assist, electronic stability control, ABS, hill decent control, trailer sway control, daytime running lights, hill start assist, traction control and electronic brake-force distribution on board. There’s also six airbags.
Pricing starts from $54,800 plus on-roads for the 2019 Isuzu D-MAX LS-T Crew Cab and it comes with a 6-year 150,000km warranty, and six years roadside assist. The D-MAX has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Our test vehicle was provided by Isuzu Ute Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Isuzu D-MAX LS-T Crew Cab, contact your local Isuzu Ute dealer.