By Otsile Kadiege
Isuzu’s second-generation D-Max Arctic AT35 is on display at this year’s NAMPO event. Like its predecessor, the newcomer was designed in collaboration with Arctic Trucks – which is renowned for producing some of the most capable overlanding vehicles and it’s based on the range-topping D-Max V-Cross The D-Max Arctic AT35 is locally assembled at the Isuzu Motors South Africa plant in Struandale, Gqeberha. It is available on special order through Isuzu local dealer network, with limited production numbers guaranteeing exclusivity.
Big and bold
Some exterior highlights of the menacing D-Max Arctic AT35 include AT35 chrome badges on the front fenders and rear tailgate, wider profile side steps for easier access to the cabin and Arctic Trucks mudflaps. This is matched by brawny 35-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres mounted on distinctive 17×10-inch AT black alloy wheels. A standard 18-inch spare wheel is fitted beneath the loadbox, and a ResQ Puncture Repair Kit is provided to get you mobile again with the least amount of hassle.
Unique interior touches
To reinforce the unique status of this model, the leather-trimmed seats are embroidered with the AT35 logo, which is also featured on the gearshift shroud and floor mats. The premium appointments mirror that of the standard D-Max V-Cross, including piano black interior finishes and leather trim throughout, eight-way electric driver’s seat adjustment with lumbar support, a multi-display digital instrument cluster, the large 9-inch infotainment system with eight speakers, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, as well as wireless charging.
Safety and assistance systems
Befitting its top-spec status, the range of advanced driver assistance features include Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Attention Assist, Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), and Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK).
Additional safety features include front and rear parking sensors, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, rear radar, and the Multi Collision Brake (MCB) function that will automatically apply the brakes when the airbags are deployed. Along with the usual complement of airbags (dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee), the V-Cross also features the innovative far side airbag that prevents the front seat occupants’ heads from contacting each other.
The AT35 is powered by Isuzu’s 3.0-litre four-cylinder diesel that is used in the range-topping D-MAX models delivering a peak power output of 140 kW at 3 600 r/min and 450 Nm of torque from 1 800-2 800 r/min. It is mated to the latest-specification six-speed automatic transmission.
Under the skin, the AT35 is equipped with a specially developed suspension. A purpose-designed lift kit raises the ground clearance from 232 mm to 266 mm and increases the vehicle height from 1 810 mm to 1 875 mm. This is complemented by heavy-duty Bilstein dampers that provide the ideal balance between on-road composure and sure-footed off-road performance.
The standard vehicle’s wading depth of 800 mm climbs to 865 mm on the D-MAX Arctic AT35, while 4×4 obstacles can be negotiated with ease thanks to the steeper approach angle of 33 degrees (up from 30 degrees), an improved departure angle of 23 degrees (up from 18 degrees), and the greater break-over angle of 34 degrees (up from 22.5 degrees).
The D-Max’s part-time four-wheel drive system is retained, offering the choice of two-wheel drive for on-road use, as well as four-wheel drive high and low-range when venturing off-road. The electronically controlled system incorporates a new actuator design on the current D-MAX that offers one of the fastest engagement times of 0.61 seconds to ensure a seamless transition to the preferred drive mode. For the toughest terrain, the driver can engage the electronic rear differential lock.
Isuzu South Africa hasn’t announced the pricing yet but we do know it will come with a standard five-year/90 000 km service plan, 5-year/120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, and 5 year/unlimited distance anti-corrosion warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000 km or 12 months.
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