2012 ISUZU D-MAX
Isuzu's all-new 2012 D-Max pickup has made its international debut in Thailand this week, ahead of its Australian launch next year.
The reveal of the new D-Max follows the unveiling earlier this week of its development mate, the 2012 Holden Colorado pickup.
While the new D-Max shares much of its ladder-chassis platform and mechanical componentry with the 2012 Colorado, Isuzu's new ute gets its own unique face, with upswept headlights and a more conventional grille design.
Inside, the differences are less obvious, with the two pickups sharing a largely identical cabin. The dash, centre stack, steering wheel and doors all mirror the interior of the new Colorado.
Full details for the new D-Max are still to be revealed, although Isuzu has confirmed a pair of 2.5 litre diesel engines producing 85kW and 110kW.
An upgraded version of Isuzu's 3.0 litre diesel will also be offered, delivering 130kW and 380Nm of torque.
Transmissions will include the familiar five-speed manual and a new five-speed auto, replacing the four-speed auto currently offered in Australia.
The new D-Max will be offered in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations, along with a number of cab styles.
For 2012, Isuzu promises a D-Max that is 42 percent stiffer than the outgoing model, bringing a significant improvement to ride and handling.
“With growing competition in the dynamic light commercials marketplace we are excited to be bringing this brand new vehicle into showrooms next year”, Isuzu Ute Australia's new Managing Director, Yasuhiro Takeuchi, said.
“I am confident that this vehicle will be well received by the Australian marketplace and will live up to the core values that the Isuzu D-MAX is synonymous with; durability, reliability & economy”.
A sevent-seat SUV variant is also expected to debut in the near future (one already exists for the current model).
Speaking with TMR earlier this year, outgoing Isuzu Australia boss Hitoshi Kono confirmed that the company is waiting on a go-ahead from head office to bring the SUV here.
Exact timing for the new D-Max's launch in Australia has yet to be finalised. Speaking with TMR today, Isuzu Ute Australia's Cornelius Ionescu confirmed that a first-half 2012 local debut is scheduled.
Australian availability will depend on supply out of Thailand - the ute's biggest market - but with a new factory expected to open next year, a local launch should not be far off.
D-Max sales in Australia have been strong in 2011, with a number of special-edition offerings leading to 498 sales in September, and 4672 year-to-date.