Enter the new DMax. In my hands for a day or so, so this is a quick overview of this 3 litre turbo diesel that produces 140kW and 450Nm – which is almost exactly what everyone else is producing these days.
This is the extended cab and that means you have two side doors that allow you to access… tada! you guessed it! An extended ‘loading bay’ behind the two front seats. There aren’t actual seats there but for tool kits and loading the shopping it’s bloody marvelous from the practicality point of view.
And that’s pretty much where the good news ends. At R706k the D Max is up, hard, against the two best sellers Ford and Toyota in this bracket. The Toyota is slightly more at around R727k and the Ford at R688k looks cheap but you need to add in a maintenance plan cum warranty thingy that Ford will tailor for you (which I like and agree with, but always forget about when looking at the list price) that could in fact push it ahead of the Toyota in price.
Double cabs are not far off pricing wise either and all offer 4X4. This puts all ExtendaCabs in a tricky slot – you really need to want one to opt for it vs a double cab in my humble opinion. Still, they are made and they do sell so there is a niche.
The real trouble for Isuzu is that on the road it feels like a bakkie with a ride that needs a buffalo on the back to make it palatable in comparison to it’s rivals. The DMax is an unashamed out and out workhorse. And there is no escape.
To be fair, the others aren’t exactly built for the ‘runway airy fairy light dainty cocktail sipping canape nibbling decked out in a slim black frock’ brigade either. They’re pretty rugged and pretty determined to haul whatever payload you want them to haul from A to B.
Yet they’re more sophisticated to drive with better cabin insulation and ride quality is chalk and cheese apart. Toys in them are also better – in the case of the Ford – you’ll have to go and see for yourself rather than just take my word for it.
Sure, if you want to get into a power battle the DMax ought to leave them standing and it certainly will light up its rear tyres in 2H mode given a prod on the accelerator pedal but I don’t think bakkies are necessarily all about robot to robot drag racing.
I know what you’re thinking.
Forget about it.
This is about buying a new bakkie today out of the box and the DMax is selling pretty well as it happens. The reliability that the brand has is an enviable reputation and of course they’ve been around since the Rindepest. Probably most of their bakkies made back then are also still around.
Isuzu’s don’t expire or wear out. They die of unnatural causes only. This is sufficient in and of it’s own as motivation to part with just over R700k of hard earned cash.
It comes down to what you want and matching the vehicle to what you need it do most of the time. I think the DMax is wasted in city living – that’s the realm of the other two. I see the DMax for when it’s work time, all the time. Use it, load it and even if you don’t need to load it, load it anyway.
You’ll need a new spine otherwise.