Isuzu graciously lent me a D-Max SX SC High Ride 2WD Ute for a couple of weeks to evaluate.
We have had a few 2 door Utes of late so the comparison was well timed.
The Isuzu D-Max SX 2WD Ute High Ride is the work horse of the Isuzu range and has widespread acceptance as a hard working robust Ute.
The D-Max was updated early in 2017 with a Euro 5 compliant engine and some other improvements. Over the years I have been a fan of the D-Max range and my time with the SX 2WD did nothing to reduce that enthusiasm.
I have always liked the look of the D Max. In some ways the single cab versions are even better looking, as all you really see of the front two doors and bonnet.
The front has halogen multi reflector headlights, no fog lights and bold wheel arches. The particular vehicle we had was fitted with a robust genuine Isuzu aluminium tray, steel wheels, under front skid/splash plate, under tray spare wheel carrier and tow bar.
The D-Max SX rides on 16 inch steel wheels and 245/70 R16 tyres.
Let’s state the obvious. Single Cab Utes designed for work aren’t a place of luxury or space.
One thing I like is that the High Ride structure allows easy entry and exit for the old bones. The doors open wide and with the grab handles it’s easy.
Inside, Isuzu has made concessions to some softer touch points, on the dash and console lid, but overall it’s a work Ute.
The front seat is relatively comfortable, but for drivers with long legs there isn’t quite enough seat slide. There is however plenty of head room, adequate shoulder and hip room.
The dash is typical Isuzu with two outer dials and a MFD in between. However the red graphics on the MFD are extremely hard to read in daylight.
The steering wheel is thick and houses controls for the stereo and cruise control. It is however only height adjustable.
The central stack is simple but effective. I disliked the fact that there was no Sat Nav. and the screen again was difficult to read in direct sunlight.
Storage is pretty good, with a decent sized glove box, a second on top and large centre console bin. Good door pockets with bottle holders, central cup holders and the clever feature of slide out cup holders on the dash.
The almost hose out interior and simple features are a nod to the practicality and functionality of the Isuzu D-Max SX.
This could be a short section as the D-Max SX isn’t exactly laden with features.
Recent improvements have seen some important features added such as:
- Electric windows (auto for driver)
- 7″ Touchscreen DVD/CD/MP3/FM/AM/AUX audio unit with USB, iPod® input and Bluetooth® audio streaming
- Central locking with keyless entry
- Steering wheel controls for Cruise Control and sound system
- Power external mirrors.
- Hose out rubber flooring
- Plenty of storage
- ‘A’ pillar grab handles
However the story here is also about what the D-Max SX doesn’t have as features that are really missed.
- No Sat-Nav. Probably essential for delivery drivers or trades people.
- No additional lumbar support.
- Height adjustable steering wheel only
- No reverse camera
Drive and Engine
The D-Max was upgraded early 2017 and is powered by a Euro 5 compliant 3.0L 4 Cyl. Intercooled turbo-diesel engine with double overhead cam.
The D-Max engine produces 130kW/430Nm running through a 6 speed sports automatic transmission.
The flat torque curve allows easy driving and also assistance with fuel economy, my real fuel usage was about 10.5L/100K over the 1000km.
Like a lot of work Utes, the Isuzu SX is a little bumpy with no load on. However it is more compliant than a few recent Utes we have tested.
With a load on, the ride becomes even more car like. With the 3.0L engine, we never experienced a problem with power either.
On the freeway, the 6 speed transmission proved relaxed and rarely hunted between gears. It cruised at a relaxed rpm at the speed limit. There was little road noise, or wind noise.
Cruising in the suburbs, the D-Max was easy to drive, however reversing anywhere without the aid of a reversing camera proved a pain in the ass. Ours wasn’t hooked up for some reason, but they should be mandatory and standard.
Around town the turning circle is not as bad as the Toyota LC70 we tested a few weeks back though.
Overall visibility is pretty good.
The D-Max has always has been a good tow vehicle. Remember to factor the tow ball download rating into your payload capacity calculations.
Safety is an ever moving feature on cars and more importantly Utes. The Isuzu D-Max SX Single Cab High Ride 2WD has a 4 star ANCAP safety rating but the dual cab Utes have 5 Star.
It does however have improved safety features. These include:
- Anti-skid Brake System (ABS)
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
- Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
- Trailer Sway Control (TSC)
- Hill Start Assist (HSA)
- Hill Descent Control (HDC)
- 6 Airbags: dual front, curtain and side
- Reversing Camera OPT
- Side anti-intrusion bars inside all doors
- Engine immobilizer
- Towing ability
- Robust reliability
Not so good Bits
- No Reverse Camera as standard
- No Sat Nav.
- Red dash graphics difficult to read in daylight
A single cab chassis 4X2 Ute is a workhorse with no pretensions at a family vehicle or a recreational vehicle.
In light of this they should be able to tow heavy trailers and have a big payload, as well as repeat the tasks asked of it over many years.
The Isuzu D-Max SX Single Cab High Ride 4X2 is definitely up for the task. It is singularly designed to fit this purpose.
It is a little cramped for the longer legged amongst us, but for most drivers there is enough room. The tray is huge at 2.6m x 1.8m and has convenient internal tie down points. The 1294kg payload is excellent.
As a workhorse Ute for a trade person or delivery driver, you will be hard pressed to find a better Ute.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Isuzu D Max SX Single Cab High Ride 2WD
- Engine: 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder producing 130kW/430Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto only
- Safety: Four-stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Warranty: 5 years/130,000km
- Price: from $36,503