By Sala Masindane
The festive season is a time to relax, let your hair down and be with family or close friends. The cross over from 2018 into 2019 was no different, well there was a difference we had an additional family member joining the festivities in the form of the Isuzu 3.0 litre 4×4 D-Max LX Double cab. The recently updated bakkie was my companion for all the adventures that I had in store for December break.
Overall look and exterior
Before we go deep into this, what has been updated in the D-Max LX from the outgoing KB other than the name change? This is probably what turned most eyes during the month-long review period with the D-Max, is the chrome detailing, that is standard by the ways. The detailing is on the large radiator grille, door handles, the roof rails and the electrical side mirrors. The chrome continues at the rear, with the rear step bumper bar and the side steps that are made of aluminium. The rugged look of the D-Max is finished off with underside protection from humps and bumps that include steel plate guards. This came in handy when travelling to attend a Zulu traditional wedding in the mountainous and misty Ixopo. The fog lights (that have restyled bezels framed chromed vertical accents) also played their part. I must also mention that most of the time I had the D-Max, I relied on the LED headlights without flicking them to bright as they provide really good lighting. The new touches from the update make the exterior very appealing which is key these days as looks matter a lot now as bakkies are seen more and more as leisure vehicles.
Space and entertainment
Since this was the “family/festive season”, most of time was spent on road visiting relatives or friends. I could easily fit three adults at the back, who sat comfortably and there was enough legroom. Not only that, but they also had access to four medium-sized cupholders and the foldable armrest at the back could be used if traveling with two passengers. Storage is also ample in the front, with two gloveboxes (one lockable), four cupholders and more decent space inside the arm rest.
Although the cabin has decent interior room, my travels across the KwaZulu-Natal province never required more space for passengers, but it was the load bay that did most of the work as was often filled with luggage, items needed for the wedding I attend at the KZN south coast and camera equipment, and décor items for our sister company’s annual picnic event that is attended by over 300 guests. At no point was I found wanting for extra space, also all the items were safely locked up under the secure-lid that had been installed as an extra. This is a great security feature but it compromises some of the space at the back.
Not only was the exterior updated but also the interior and the Alpine infotainment system with a nine-inch full colour touchscreen is one of the updates. It is good, easy to use and intuitive after a while. It also seamlessly integrated my smartphone via the Apple CarPlay which made navigating via the Waze app, fortunately for non-tech savvy drivers the D-Max also comes with a navigation system. The infotainment system is also Bluetooth ready, while there are two USB, AUX and HDMI input are also available. The sound which is blasted through eight speakers that are spread between the dashboard, doors and the roof made me the life of the party wherever I was. Who would have thought that could be said about a bakkie?
On the road, the 3.0 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel is eager once it gets warm with a bit of noise but nothing you can’t handle. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission which has made the bakkie more fuel efficient but can make you caught for power if cruising and you want to overtake. Those moves need to be timed perfectly and you may need the odd shift down which the automatic transmission allows. The other plus side of the automatic is that the driving of the D-Max is less strenuous when traveling for longer distances or in peak hour traffic in Sandton. However, the comfort is not limited to that, but the leather seats are great for the long road. I drove the D-Max to Ixopo, Mhlabatshane to be exact, and the road was not the best but the D-Max felt at home. I also got the opportunity to test the off-roading capabilities of the D-Max. To my disappoint the four-high or 4-low was never used as the bakkie made light work of the unforgiving road. The fuel consumption of 8.4l/100km made the D-Max as a daily vehicle less of a burden on the pocket, it is also not a far cry from the claimed 8.0l/100km. The D-Max is not out of place in the concrete jungle as the rear park distance camera and sensors made manoeuvring in tight spots at malls easy which was welcome for a vehicle of its length.
The D-Max has been built to appeal to those that require more in comfort and looks in a bakkie than just the ruggedness, while still maintaining its workhorse nature.
The Isuzu 3.0 litre 4×4 D- Max LX Double Cab is priced from R522,100
Leave a comment