Safety, Value and Features
IIt’s no secret that Isuzu has lightly updated its MU-X and D-Max vehicle ranges for 2023 so far. We published our first drive impressions of the 2023 Isuzu MU-X earlier in the week, but as we got the chance. Take the 2023 Isuzu D-Max for a long drive to the media launch in perfect Queensland conditions, it would be remiss not to also take a closer look at the D-Max and discuss updates for 2023.
For the most part, these updates are based on the ute’s cosmetics, featuring new wheels, updated grilles and new colours. But the 2023 D-Max has some useful additions that we’re excited to see.
We’re talking about Tailgate Assist that works in conjunction with the tailgate opening and closing, interior enhancements, and the optional 1.9L Turbo Diesel engine in the SX Spec Crew Cab 4×4 paired with an automatic transmission.
We haven’t had a chance to pilot the 1.9L motor yet (though The wheels has driven it in MY22 guise, see here ), but we’ll keep you updated when we get to drive it early in the new year.
New additions to the 2023 Isuzu D-Max range
|2023 SX D-Max updates|
|Tailgate Assist (Ute only)|
|BSM and RCTA auto off when towing|
|Second row 2.1amp USB port on Crew Cab models|
|The RZ4E-TC turbo diesel engine is available as an option on single cab chassis and crew cab utes and chassis.|
|Redesigned two-tone black grille.|
|2023 LS-M D-Max updates|
|Tailgate Assist (Ute only)||Newly designed cloth seat upholstery|
|BSM and RCTA auto off when towing||New 17-inch wheels in light grey|
|Dark gray metallic fog light trim||Redesigned two-tone black grille.|
|2023 LS-U and LS-U+ D-Max upgrade|
|Tailgate Assist (Ute only)||Heated door mirrors|
|BSM and RCTA auto off when towing||Newly designed leather-accented seat upholstery (LS-U gets cloth)|
|The LED rear combination lights are trimmed in dark gray metallic.||New 18-inch machined alloy wheels with tire pressure monitoring system|
|Dark gray metallic fog light trim||Redesigned grille in two-tone gray and chrome|
|2023 X-TERRAIN D-Max|
|Redesigned grille in two-tone dark grey||The LED rear combination lights are trimmed in dark gray metallic.|
|New 18-inch alloy wheels in dark gray with tire pressure monitoring system||Dark gray metallic side steps, mirrors, door and tailgate handles, roof rails, sports bar and fender flares|
|Redesigned leather-accented seat upholstery with red stitching.||BSM and RCTA auto off when towing|
How is it to drive?
My first observation from driving the 2023 Isuzu D-Max is that the rear end rides firmly with no weight behind it. That’s not bad for an unladen ute, but not class-leading, either I Will have to ditch the stock suspension for the aftermarket lift kit though – because that’s how I roll.
Much like the MU-X, there’s plenty of understated noise we got to pilot during this drive event, and it makes the D-Max easy to drive on technical terrain. However, I would have liked to see a bit more power – as I know this engine is capable of – to help keep up with the competition.
Braking performance is solid, and steering feel is well-weighted, and over the course of a few days of on- and off-road driving, Fuel economy seems to hover around the 8L/100km mark.which is on the money for a vehicle of this size.
On the shores of Double Island Point, the D-Max felt right at home. In soft sand patches, the low-down grunt of the 3.0L engine allowed us to pass the tractor without issue. When you open the engine, you find that it is running fast. This doesn’t bother me, as I have plenty of older diesel four-wheel drives, but it is notable.
I also wish that this D-MAX update for 2023 would have included the Rough Terrain mode feature found in the 2023 Isuzu MU-X.
This magic button actually offers a solid improvement in off-road ability in the MU-X thanks to a more aggressive traction control calibration when selected, and brings the D-MAX closer to the HiLux and Ranger in terms of off-road capability. will go Come on Isuzu, you know you want to do this.
As we reported in our recent 2023 Isuzu MU-X first drive article, Isuzu tells us that about half of all Isuzu owners use their vehicle for towing.
To offer a simple experience, The 2023 Isuzu D-Max now automatically disables blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. When a trailer is connected and detected by the actual trailer wiring harness.
Earlier, Isuzu introduced a lane support system switch that allowed drivers to turn lane keeping functions on or off.
1.9L turbo diesel engine option
Isuzu now offers its 1.9L RZ4E-TC engine in 4×4, specifically the SX Crew Cab 4×4 Auto. This model is priced at $50,200, a savings of $2000 if you choose this motor over the 3.0L 4JJ3-TCX in similar trim, previously the only motor offered in the D-Max and MU-X range.
The RZ4E-TC produces a claimed 110kW and 350Nm, with Isuzu telling us that up to 80 per cent of power is generated between 1550rpm-3700rpm. In comparison, the 4JJ3 makes 140kW and 450Nm.
While we haven’t driven the 1.9L, and are eagerly awaiting our chance – is the $2000 savings enough to get you to step up to the smaller engine?
I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this, 4X4 Australia readers, so please let us know what you think.
The 2023 D-Max lineup is now available in nine colors, including three new colors. Every color except Mineral White carries an additional $650 paint premium.
|2023 Isuzu D-Max Color Options|
|Mineral White||Granite gray mica|
|Basalt black mica||Granite Gray Metallic (new and exclusive to LS-U, LS-U+, and X-Terrain)|
|Neptune Blue Mica (New)||Magnetic Red Mica (LS-U, LS-U+ and X-Terrain only)|
|Mercury Silver Metallic||Volcanic Amber Metallic (X-Terrain only)|
|Obsidian gray mica|
Pricing in the 4×4 range
As this is a 4X4 publication, we will focus solely on 4X4 prices in the 2023 Isuzu D-Max range. If you want the full range of prices, including the 4×2 range, they can be found at the link below.
|4×4 cab chassis price|
|SX Single Cab 4×4 Manual (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $42,200|
|SX Single Cab 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $44,200|
|SX Space Cab 4×4 Manual (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $45,700|
|SX Space Cab 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $47,700|
|SX Crew Cab 4×4 Manual (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $48,700|
|SX Crew Cab 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $50,700|
|LS-M Crew Cab 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $53,800|
|LS-U Crew Cab 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $59,500|
|4×4 Ute Pricing|
|SX Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Auto (1.9L Turbo Diesel) $50,200|
|SX Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $52,200|
|LS-M Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Manual (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $53,300|
|LS-M Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $55,300|
|LS-U Space Cab 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $58,000|
|LS-U Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Manual (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $59,000|
|LS-U Crew Cab Ute 4×4 Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $61,000|
|LS-U+ Crew Cab Ute Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $63,500|
|X-Terrain 4×4 Ute Auto (3.0L Turbo Diesel) $67,500 ($64,990 Special – Driveway)|
I have put many kilometers into this generation D-Max, in the form of the 4X4 Australia D-Max project we did earlier this year. So, stepping back into the D-Max with these updates feels like wearing an old pair of your favorite shoes.
That’s a good thing, and I like the fact that it’s still a relatively simple vehicle in a technology-crazy world.
I’d love to see a rough terrain mode added, and some more power would be great to keep up with the competition.
With the release of the 2023 MU-X, there are some nice additions to the lineup that freshen up the look of the D-Max range, and once again we’re not even paying for the privilege. Because the prices for the 2023 Isuzu D-Max have not increased.
Safety, Value and Features
Things we like.
- The motor and gearbox combo pulls well.
- The exterior is a welcome addition.
- New wheels look the part.
Not so much
- Diesel engine noise
- Ride a ted firm in the rear end.
- No mechanical upgrades for 2023.