An automatic choice: D-Max 250 models acquire better commuting convenience.
An automatic choice: D-Max 250 models acquire better commuting convenience.
Image: Supplied

REM’s 1992 Automatic For The People album was one of the rock band’s biggest successes, and Isuzu may be hoping for similar feats from its newly-enhanced D-Max line up of bakkies.

The brand’s high-spec LX 3.0 turbodiesel models have been available in automatic guise for some time, but now buyers of the more affordable 2.5 turbo diesels get two-pedalled convenience for the first time.

The range has been expanded in SA with five new automatic models, complementing the existing five-speed manual derivatives available in two- and four-wheel drive.

Variants that get the new five-speed auto transmission are the lifestyle-oriented D-Max 250 X-Rider Double Cab, the mid-range D-Max 250 LE, the workhorse-oriented D-Max 250 Hi-Ride, and the D-Max 250 Hi-Ride 4x2 Extended Cab.

Also new to the Double Cab range is a 3.0l turbodiesel Hi-Ride derivative with a  six-speed automatic gearbox, as a cheaper alternative to the existing high-spec D-Max 3.0 LX versions.

The new auto models reflects an upswing in demand for two-pedalled bakkies in recent years, says Dominic Rimmer, Senior Vice President, Technical Operations at Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAf).

The D-MAX 250 turbodiesel engine produces 100kW of power and 320Nm of torque, with claimed fuel consumption of 8.1l/100km for the automatic models. Outputs of the 3.0l four-cylinder turbodiesel are 130kW and 380Nm.

As with the five-speed manual derivatives, the D-Max 250 auto's towing capacity is 2,100kg for a braked trailer and the load capacity is just over one ton.

Hi-Ride is Isuzu’s entry-level spec with basic and durable trim finishes and 16-inch steel rims in line with its workhorse role.

LE is the mid-range offering with the addition of front fog lamps with chrome bezels, colour-coded mirrors and door handles, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

X-Rider is the top spec in the D-Max 250 line-up with a cosmetic package that adds striking black exterior finishes, projector-style headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and diamond-cut two-tone 18-inch alloys for a more aggressive look. Inside the cabin, the sporty X-Rider theme continues with contrasting red stitching, high-gloss black door trim, and black leather bucket seats.

Isuzu is gearing up its Port Elizabeth plant for the production of the new, seventh-generation D-Max. In a R1.2bn investment, the first units are set to roll of the production line in the second half of next year.

New automatic Isuzu D-Max models:

D-Max 250 Extended Cab Hi-Ride auto — R403,200

D-Max 250 Double Cab Hi-Ride auto — R435,300

D-Max 250 Double Cab LE auto — R459,000

D-Max 300 Double Cab Hi-Ride auto — R464,100

D-Max 250 Double Cab X-Rider auto — R474,700

Prices include a five-year/120,000km warranty and roadside assistance, and a five-year/90,000km service plan