The underdog’s last hurrah before an all-new model.
The Isuzu D-Max may not be nearly as popular as the Toyota Hilux or the Ford Ranger, but it doesn’t make it a bad proposition. It’s pretty sharp looking, decent to drive, and usually incredibly good value. We say ‘usually’ because this D-Max X-Runner is not some value-driven special variant – it’s more of a ‘best of the breed’ formula to mark the end of the current generation’s life cycle.
This may confuse some as the last time we saw the ‘X-Runner’ name on a D-Max, it was a value-focused model in the middle of the range. Now though, the X-Runner confidently sits at the top of the D-Max hierarchy with its $54,990 drive-away pricetag, showing absolutely no concern that it’s $4k dearer than the LS-T model on which it’s based.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the X-Runner is a sportier variant of the D-Max, given that it has ‘exciting’ things like perforated leather seats, red trim everywhere, red stitching, a sports-bar out back, tub-liner and reverse sensors, as well as the red Isuzu badges all over the place. Unfortunately this is a looky-look exercise only, so there’s no extra firepower under the bonnet (still 3.0L turbodiesel with a 6-speed auto), or more muscle in the wheel arches.
The X-Runner also gets a touchscreen infotainment unit that offers built-in navigation, but no smartphone mirroring. Colour choices are limited to metallic white and metallic red, with only 180 of the latter and 465 of the former to be made.
Model-year updates extend to the LS-T and LS-U models as well as the X-Runner, with all three now getting more road-biased tyres that have improved handling, grip, and feel. Isuzu’s also gone through the trouble of revising the steering to make it easier to handle at slow speeds, after coming to the earth-shattering realisation that the posher versions of their pickups very rarely see unsealed surfaces.
It’s unclear when a new generation D-Max will arrive, but we know that there will be one. The next generation should bridge the gap between the D-Max and the Hilux/Ranger duo, with more refinement, better safety, and perhaps a new powertrain to boot. Either way, stay locked on CarShowroom as we bring you more updates as they come.