2021 Isuzu D-Max: Expectations and everything we know so far

Updated Oct 21, 2020
It’s more high-tech and more powerful. There are some caveats, though.

1. 2021 Isuzu D-Max Overview: What can we expect?

Editor’s Note: This is not a review of the Philippine-spec 2021 Isuzu D-Max, but more of a rundown of what will probably arrive here when Isuzu Philippines brings in the next-generation model. Expect variations in terms of specs and other details in the actual pickup truck.

When Isuzu revealed that it will be giving Isuzu D-Max an update, truck guys from all around the globe were understandably excited. Hyped up, even. This was a relatively expected reaction from everyone because as we know, the D-Max is one of the most beloved pick-up trucks in the market. Since its first-generation version came out in 2002, many fell in love with its utilitarian charm and robust characteristics.

Currently, other markets in Asia as well as Australia have already gotten their hands on the third-generation D-Max. And yes, it is inevitable that the new D-Max will get here to the Philippine market. The marque has a sizable and very loyal following here in the country after all.

So what can we expect from the Philippine-spec 2021 Isuzu D-Max? Well, a lot actually.

A picture of the Isuzu D-Max climbing a hill.

Let's talk about what we can expect from the 2021 Isuzu D-Max

2. 2021 Isuzu D-Max Exterior: It’ll be the best-looking one yet

For those who are deeply familiar with the D-Max’s previous-generation versions, you’ll know that it’s simple looking on the outside. As we’ve said, it has this utilitarian charm to it that a lot of pick-up truck people actually like a lot.

The new 2021 Isuzu D-Max however, takes it up a notch in terms of styling. It’s got more pronounced body lines, a more aggressive grille, and a more modern-looking rear end in general. So once it reaches the Philippines, there’s no doubt that the new D-Max will become one of the more attractive looking pickup trucks in the market.

A picture of the front of the 2021 Isuzu D-max parked in the city.

That grille looks particularly fierce

Of course, we’re still expecting the same old practicality and usability from this new version. It might even provide more space since its overall dimensions measure at 5,265mm in length, is 1,870 mm wide, and 1,785 mm in height. It’s a bit shorter in length than the old D-Max, but being wider and taller might mean more elbow room and more space for the truck bed.

We’re also expecting that more variants will come with new LED headlamps and daytime running lamps. Also, note that the current D-Max LS-A and the Boondock are the variants that have LED taillights so we’re hoping that even the lower-spec variants of the 2021 D-max will come with that feature.

3. 2021 Isuzu D-Max Interior: Plusher & more modern

As you might already know, the new D-Max’s interior is vastly superior to its competitors. It has a wealth of soft-touch surfaces, with some trims featuring leather upholstery. Dominating the dash aboard the top-spec variants is a 9-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay.

That’s something that the previous D-Max, even the top-of-the-line variants didn’t have. The new touchscreen aboard the 3rd-gen D-Max also comes with Satellite navigation. The driver’s seat even gets power-adjustable lumbar support and the steering wheel is also tilt and telescopic adjustable. Neat.

Apart from the new gadgets, the new 2021 D-Max also has more in the way of convenience. For starters, the cupholders located on both ends of the dash have A/C vents. There’s also the presence of a mobile phone tray, as well as a massive upper and lower glove box.

A picture of the interior of the 2021 Isuzu D-Max.

The very modern and very plush interior of the 2021 D-Max

>>> Related: Isuzu dealerships in the Philippines

The rear passenger cabin is also spruced up with a rear A/C vent and a rear USB port.

While the current D-Max we have in the Philippines is spacious, its interior is nowhere near the level of sophistication and usability of the new D-Max. So for the Philippine version of the new D-Max, we’re hoping that all of these features are available too.

These new features, along with the fancier interior, will definitely catch the attention of people who are looking for a pick-up truck with a family carrying purpose in mind.

Strangely enough, though, the new D-Max lacks a push to start button, which is currently available on-board the locally available Isuzu D-Max Boondock variants.

4. 2021 Isuzu D-Max Engine: More power

All variants of the new D-Max that are currently being sold in Australia are powered by a new 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-4. It’s called the 4JJ3-TXC and it can churn out 187 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque. The new Isuzu D-Max engine is then paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

The new engine makes 12 more horsepower and 20 Nm more torque than the currently available top-of-the-line D-Max Boondock 3.0 4x4 AT. As such, we can expect that the new D-Max is better at getting up to highway speeds, as well as dealing with off-road terrain. Like the current D-Max, the new one also has 4x2 variants and 4x4 variants.

A picture of the 2021 Isuzu D-Max's engine.

The 4JJ3-TCX is the latest in its series. It features Isuzu's "Blue Power" system and a VGS-turbo

As we’ve said earlier, Isuzu didn’t bother giving the Australian entry-level variants a smaller engine. It might be that the company is streamlining its production and some of you might want Isuzu Philippines will follow suit. As gear heads, we of course like more power.

Do note though that the Isuzu Thailand also utilizes a 1.9-liter turbo-diesel inline-4 for its more affordable, more utilitarian versions of the new 2021 D-Max. Being smaller, it makes less at 150 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. That’s a bit more powerful than the currently available Philippine-spec 1.9-liter 2020 D-Max.

5. 2021 Isuzu D-Max: It has a lot of high-tech features

One big improvement on the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max is its wide array of new active safety features. For lane related driving nannies alone, it has a lane departure warning system, lane departure prevention, lane keep assist, and emergency lane keeping.

Apart from those, Isuzu also gave the 3rd-gen 2021 D-Max the IDAS safety suite. This package includes forward-collision warning, autonomous braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive high-beams.

Unlike the old D-Max, the new 2021 D-Max also has more airbags. In fact, it’s top variants in the Thai market have a total of seven.

While this is all well and good, some D-Max purists might not like the idea of having this amount of driving nannies. On top of that, there’s no doubt that a D-Max variant equipped with all of the above will no doubt become significantly pricier.  

>>> Related: Next-gen Isuzu D-Max is the best-selling pickup truck in Thailand so far

6. 2021 Isuzu D-Max: Conclusion

Overall, we’re anticipating that the 2021 Isuzu D-Max will become one of the most attractive and high-tech pickup trucks in the Philippine market. Note though that even the new D-Max won’t become the most powerful since the Nissan Navara VL, Ford Ranger Raptor and Bi-Turbo Ranger exist. However, it’ll definitely be ranked high when it comes to interior build quality and on-board safety.

With that in mind, there is a caveat when it comes to this new pick-up truck. The high-tech and very extensive safety features found on the 2021 Isuzu D-Max might also drive its price up. In Australia, the D-Max Crew Cab Ute LS-U variant is priced at AUD 48,900 or Php 1,747,312, and that’s only the mid-range variant.

A picture of the 2-Door D-Max.

We also doubt that we'll be getting our own 2-door version of the D-Max.

To remain competitive, we’re expecting that the Philippine-spec 2021 D-Max might lack all those driving nannies although it might be offered on a new top-of-the-line variant. Our market might even do well to follow the Thailand-spec D-Max route by using the 1.9-liter turbo-diesel, though we doubt that Isuzu Philippine will introduce a single cab version locally.

Overall though, regardless of whether Isuzu Philippines will still use the 1.9-liter engine or not, the new D-Max will become more expensive than the old one. Its exterior alone features a more intricate build with more styling elements, and the interior, even on the most basic trim is a cut above the current D-Max.

>>> Related: Check out hot promos of Isuzu D-Max

A picture of the rear of the new 2021 D-Max.

The 2021 D-Max is definitely more "sculpted" than its predecessor.

Is this a good or bad thing for the Isuzu pickup truck model? Sure, it might mean that the new D-Max might lose a bit of accessibility, but that’s just the price we have to pay for improvements. To sum it all up though, only time will tell.

Regardless, we’re excited about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max and we can’t wait to see it in the metal.

For more automotive news, car reviews, and useful car-related tips, keep reading here on Philkotse.com.



Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar is a graduate of AB English with previous experience working as a freelance writer for varied internet publications in-between his former stints in the Pharmaceutical Industry, and later as a First Aid Provider and Training Staff at the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Since childhood, Cesar has been keenly interested in cars. He has learned the ins and outs of these marvelous vehicles and is a competent amateur mechanic who is keen on sharing his knowledge.

Cesar is perceptive of car culture in general – not only in the Philippines but in global regard, as well. His knowledge ranges from the prevalent stories and trends among car enthusiasts around the world, to closely following the latest local and international developments in the automotive industry.

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