Isuzu’s next-generation seven seater SUV is unlikely to share any of its styling with the just-launched Holden Colorado 7, despite both cars being built atop a similar (although not identical) chassis.
Although a design has yet to be confirmed for the new SUV, word from Isuzu is that it will have its own unique identity that will mark it out as a more rugged offering than the Colorado 7.
Speaking to TMR in Thailand, an Isuzu spokesman said that it would be highly unlikely that the D-Max based SUV would share much at all with its Holden cousin.
“From what I’m told, it’s not going to simply be a Colorado 7 body with a D-Max nose,” he said.
What remains uncertain, however, is what will power the new Isuzu SUV.
The current-generation Isuzu SUV (badged MU-7 in the Thai market) utilises a 107kW 3.0 litre turbodiesel, which is only compliant with Euro III emissions legislation.
Its replacement will have to be considerably more environmentally-friendly.
European versions of the current D-Max ute are equipped with a Euro V compliant twin-turbocharged 2.5 litre turbodiesel, which produces 119kW at 3600rpm and 400Nm between 1400-2000rpm.
Although it’s less powerful than the 130kW Australian-market 3.0 turbodiesel, it has 20Nm more peak torque which is available 400rpm lower in the rev range.
The twin-turbo 2.5 litre also consumes less fuel and emits less CO2, with an average consumption of 7.3 l/100km (1 l/100km less than the 3.0 litre) and average CO2 emissions of 195g/km (25g/km less).
According to Isuzu Ute Australia, it’s unlikely that we’ll see the 2.5 litre engine in the D-Max before 2016, when Euro V emissions compliance becomes mandatory for all vehicles sold in the Australian market.
However, there’s a possibility that the 2.5 could find its way here before then.
According to Shinsuke Minima, Managing Director of Isuzu Motors International Operations, an Australian-market version of the upcoming second-generation MU-7 SUV will “probably” be equipped with the 2.5 litre twin-turbo diesel.
However, this is dependent on whether a solid business case can be made for the SUV, which may struggle to sell in Australia due to its more agricultural feel compared to more car-like competitors.
Vehicles of a similar truck-based configuration like the Nissan Pathfinder and Mitsubishi Challenger only sell about 215 and 330 units each month respectively, and even in the off-roader-mad Thai market, Isuzu only manages to shift between 5000-6000 a year - compared to over 200,000 domestic D-Max sales.
As for timing, Isuzu has yet to announce when - or where - its new SUV will make a debut. A 2013 motor show unveiling is likely, however.