Isuzu D-Max - NZ4WD Ute of the Year 2021

December 2021

A little over a year since it launched in New Zealand, the Isuzu D-Max has been a force to be reckoned with. It’s a serious Ute with broad appeal, equipped with a new 3-litre turbo-diesel engine and 3.5-tonne towing capacity. With four variants and fifteen configurations, no compromise is required, as it meets the needs of all.  

Starting the all-new D-Max range is the workhorse LX. In Single Cab Chassis, Space Cab Chassis and Double Cab Ute bodies, the LX is as utilitarian as they come. Stepping up to the LS-M—available in Double Cab only—gives drivers the LX’s hard-wearing characteristics, but adds a boot-full of upgrades.  

The popular LS Double Cab and Space Cab Ute represents excellent value for money, and is equipped with new levels of comfort and convenience, without compromising on its practicality and capability. And the new-flagship, D-Max X-Terrain, is bolstered with an array of additional inclusions inside and out giving it a ruggedly refined demeanour.

NZ4WD Editor and NZ4WD Car of the Year judge Mark Baker said the Isuzu D-Max came to the title fight fresh and equipped with exemplary driving dynamics on and off road.

“It took everything we dished out and came back for more,” said Mr Baker.

“The D-Max is truck-tough, but inside is refined and sophisticated. It’s spec-loaded and equipped with an inviting interior along with that willing engine and transmission, it was our Ute title winner by a clear margin.”

Isuzu Utes New Zealand General Manager, Sam Waller says, “To win the NZ4WD Ute of the Year award is an honour. It’s always an award one aspires to win given it’s the trusted publication of the 4WD community. We’re proud of this new generation of D-Max, and we need to acknowledge the Isuzu International factory for that.  

We were up against some tough competition, so we’re pleased our all-new D-Max has been recognised as the ultimate all-rounder with its cutting edge-technology, off-road ability, power and torque, improved driver comfort and extensive safety features.”

The Isuzu D-Max also retains its title of ‘safest Ute on the NZ market’. The D-Max was the first Ute to be subject to the new stringent testing and rating criteria introduced by Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety authority, ANCAP in 2020. Since then two other Ute brands have had their models tested, both of which fell short to the D-Max.

At the time, ANCAP Director of Communications and Advocacy, Rhianne Robson praised the Isuzu D-Max for re-establishing the safety benchmark for the competitive ute segment.

“The D-MAX rating has been highly anticipated by fleet and private buyers, and re-establishes the safety benchmark for the competitive ute segment which has traditionally tended to lag behind that of passenger cars and SUVs,” said Ms Robson.

In the official ANCAP statement announcing the maximum 5 star safety rating result, ANCAP commended Isuzu for democratising safety across the entire range, stating that “all variants in the D-Max range – single cab, space cab, double cab, and cab chassis – provide the same high level safety features, technologies and performance as standard.”

The Isuzu D-Max also made top three in the Light Commercial Vehicle category at the recent AA DRIVEN NZ Car of the Year 2021 awards.

Globally, the new generation D-Max has won numerous awards:

  • 2021 Drive Car of the Year – Dual Cab Ute (X-Terrain)
  • 2021 Business Vans Best Pick-up
  • 2021 Pick-Up Of The Year by 4×4 Magazine
  • Best-in-Class Pickup Truck in C! Magazine’s Awards

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