I ’ ll be honest : I have always wanted a ute . When it was time to buy a new 4WD a few years ago , I had my eye firmly on the D- MAX . However , with a young family , the seven-seat MU-X made more sense and I have been very pleased with this decision .
In the meantime , Isuzu has overhauled the D-MAX since 2018 , when I nearly bought one . A revised turbo-diesel engine and transmission , along with a suite of electronic safety features , were among the key changes .
This year , Isuzu UTE Australia ( IUA ) launched the LS-U + variant . This model sits between the LS-U and the flagship X-TERRAIN and comes with a few extra features over and above what you ’ ll find as standard in the LS-U . We ’ ve secured this vehicle for long-term testing and intend to use it to tow vans of all shapes and sizes over the next six months .
ENGINE AND TOWING
The updates to the D-MAX in 2020 represented the first time the vehicle had received major revisions since it was launched in Australia in October 2008 . The new 3L 4JJ3-TCX engine produces 140kW at 3600rpm and a peak torque figure of 450Nm between 1600 and 2600rpm , a modestbut-useful 10kW / 20Nm increase over the old engine , which was shared between the previousgeneration D-MAX and MU-X .
A healthy 300Nm of torque is available at 1000rpm , giving decent torque from a virtual standstill – ideal for starting up an incline and especially when towing a heavy van .