From purpose-built workhorses, pickup trucks have evolved into stylish lifestyle vehicles that many owners buy just to look cool. In fact, some manufacturers have even released official statements saying that their pickup truck is now a “lifestyle vehicle”.
Although these 4x4s are more capable than ever before in terms of off-roading and functioning as a workhorse, a lot of emphasis is being given to things like styling, comfort, refinement nowadays in line with the changing trend.
That being said, it would not be an exaggeration to say that a current-day pickup truck is just as refined, comfortable, and well-equipped as a car, and among the best in the market out there right now is this model right here – the Isuzu D-Max 3.0L 4×4 A/T X-Terrain.
Priced at RM142,438 on the road without insurance, the D-Max 3.0L X-Terrain is the model that sits right on top of the D-Max model range, powered by a 3.0-litre, 4-Cylinder turbocharged DOHC 16-valve diesel engine producing 190 PS and 450 Nm of maximum torque.
Paired with the engine is a 6-speed automatic gearbox, a Terrain Command 4×4 system, a Rear Differential Lock, as well as a Rack and Pinion Hydraulic Power Steering System.
On the exterior, the D-Max 3.0L X-Terrain features 18-inch All-Terrain tyres with funky Dark Grey alloy wheels, Automatic Bi-LED Projector headlights with “Follow Me Home” lights, LED Daytime Running Lights, LED fog lamps in front and at the rear, power-adjustable side mirrors, LED rear combination lamps, Tailgate Assist, an Infra-Red Cut windscreen as well as Dark Grey Over Fenders, and body-coloured side-steps.
Inside, the flagship variant of the D-Max features a generous dose of Brown combination leather upholstery, an e-Lumax instrument panel with Illumination Control and Satin Chrome Ornament, a 4.2 inch TFT LCD Colour Display, a 9-inch Touch Screen Infotainment system with USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, MirrorLink, Miracast, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity with 8 speakers, and an 8-way Power Adjustable driver’s seat with Lumbar Support.
This model also comes with Remote Engine Start, Passive Entry & Start System (PESS), Walk Away Door Lock, and a rear-view mirror with Auto Dimming.
Safety features include 7 airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, ESC, Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, Brake Override System, Emergency Stop Signal, Seat Belt Reminder for all seats, Parking Sensors, a Reverse Camera, and an Anti-Theft system.
And then we have the suite of Advance Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which comprises Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Turn Assist, AT Pedal Misapplication Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Auto High Beam, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).
Unlike the previous-gen model which looked rather conservative, the new D-Max looks much more youthful and stylish. The LED DRLs, the right amount of body colour and contrasting Dark Grey bits and the “out of the box” rim design actually make it handsome enough to turn heads towards it.
As good looking as the exterior is, the party piece is actually the D-Max X-Terrain’s cabin. Taking centre-stage is the “high class” brown leather upholstery that is wrapped around the seats which feel super comfortable and plush.
Moving to the rear, we have air-cond vents for the rear occupants, a power outlet to charge mobile devices and what not, as well as 60:40 split-folding seats. The level of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) is also impressive as engine noise is barely audible in the cabin while idling.
What I like the most about the D-Max 3.0L X-Terrain though, is how nice the steering wheels. Despite its size, the D-Max X-Terrain could be manoeuvred effortlessly with just one hand, unlike some of its rivals which come with much heavier steering that require more effort to turn.
Further complementing the overall experience in the D-Max X-Terrain are the buttons and levers that are all made of high quality materials. The sound system is also mighty impressive for a 4×4.
Compared to the Triton Athlete and Hilux Rogue which I sampled recently, the D-Max X-Terrain here took me the least amount of time to get used to, mainly due to how nice the steering felt and how comfortable and supportive the seats were, which translated into a very relaxing driving experience.
Simply put, the D-Max X-Terrain was the model that felt the most “car-like” to me, compared to the Hilux Rogue and Triton Athlete. Truth be told, I actually enjoyed driving this thing all day long and didn’t feel any fatigue or body ache at all.
With things like the long list of ADAS systems, the user-friendly infotainment system, and the impressive fuel consumption of 8.5 litres per 100km thrown into the mix, the D-Max X-Terrain actually felt like I was in an SUV.
Last but not least, the 240mm ground clearance enables the D-Max X-Terrain to wade 800 mm of water, which is 100 mm more than the Hilux and the Triton.
The 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine powering the D-Max X-Terrain has the highest output in its segment at the moment along the new Mazda BT-50, which means that it has the highest road-tax price compared to most of its rivals that are powered by 2.5-, 2.8-, and 2.0-litre engines.
Despite being powered by a 3.0-litre engine, power output is still less than models like the Toyota Hilux Rogue by a small margin. So, even though there is still a lot of power available on tap, more output would make you feel a bit better while paying for the road tax, wouldn’t it?
Another area in which the D-Max X-Terrain could use some improvement is the 4.2-inch Multi Info Display and the instrument panel itself. While it looks futuristic and what not, it took some time and a lot of pressing of the buttons on the steering wheel before I was familiar with the menu and the settings.
Last but not least, the wheel design is not for everyone. Although I think it looks cool and absolutely love it, many people who I met during my stint with the D-Max X-Terrain told me that they would prefer something more rugged.
From being an unattractive workhorse that appealed only to Taukays, the D-Max has evolved into a handsome urbanite that is stylish enough to attract a wider spectrum of buyers who are looking for a full-spec pickup truck.
On top of the good looks, it also has a cabin that is among the most refined and most comfortable in the segment at the moment. Adding more value to the whole package is an extensive list of safety, driver assistance, and convenience features which make it so much more desirable than it once was.
The icing on the cake is of course how relaxing and nice it is to drive, even though it is an absolute beast when it comes to off-roading or moving things around.
So, if money is not an issue and you don’t mind paying the road tax that is priced slightly higher than some of its competitors, you’ve got an absolute winner here.
Isuzu D-Max 3.0L 4×4 AT X-Terrain specifications
- Engine: In-Line 4-Cylinder VGS Turbo Intercooler Diesel DOHC 16V
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Max power: 190PS at 3,600 rpm
- Max torque: 450Nm from 1,600 to 2,600 rpm
- Fuel consumption: 8.3L/100km
- Price: RM142,438 otr without insurance