Not only did we get to do a hot lap in an Isuzu 4×4 D-MAX on two wheels, then ride up and down the 45° ramp at the October Boat, Fishing and 4WD show but also, last month, Gunnings Automotive Group in Kadina made this LS-T Crew Cab available for us to test in November.
Several interested associates, on learning of this up-coming test, asked that we address some specific aspects of the D-MAX LS-T, their interest being, in the main, focussed on towing either fishing boats or caravans.
First among these was the fuel capacity, which turned out to be a slightly miserly 76 litres. However, Gunning’s sales manager Ray Faulkner pointed out that many buyers, Gunnings being the nation’s leading D-MAX dealership, overcame this by having their nearest ARB dealer instal a 133 litre “ARB Long Ranger” tank.
Next came the inevitable trio of towing capacity (3.5 tonnes with trailer brakes), power (130kW) and torque (380Nm @ 1800rpm). In fact, the D-MAX LS-T torque curve was very flat from 1800 to around 2,700 rpm.
We noted, while towing a 7.10m Trailcraft from Kadina to Alford on a 40km round trip, that despite having to tackle strong side and head winds over a series of small hills, the D-MAX LS-T settled easily into its stride.
Running at 2,500 rpm, we travelled at 95kph (100 indicated), with the Isuzu’s five-speed “Rev-Tronic” automatic transmission staying comfortably in 4th gear. Later, without the boat, we ran at 100kph (103 indicated) in 5th gear, into and with the wind, getting 8L/100km.
The test vehicle had around 90km on the clock before we got hold of it, so the engine and running gear were still fairly tight, but having covered over 170km of combined town, country and towing duties, the D-MAX LS-T returned a very commendable overall average of 13.6L/100km.
In answer to the remaining string of serious questions, we can report that the Isuzu D-MAX LS-T has a wading depth of 500mm, a general ground clearance of 235mm. 240V/12V power outlets in both the rear of the cab. and in the tray can be retro-fitted, as can a dual battery system. Rear seat space we deemed to be on average, but can confirm that air-conditioning is delivered here via. ducts under the front seats.
The stylish canopy fitted to our test vehicle was lockable and a generous seal was provided to the base of the rear hatch. Ray did point out however that, as the tailgate was designed to get rid of any accumulated water, most buyers made their own arrangements when trying to better seal the tray. Both side windows of the canopy opened out and all were nicely tinted for further security.
Now, with all that out of the way, we in turn would care to focus on the brilliant Isuzu D-MAX LS-T’s reversing camera. Mounted in the tailgate handle frame, the camera, angled to clearly show the tow-ball and a very helpful perspective grid, displayed on the big 7” central dash. screen which, when reverse was not engaged, served as the screen for the D-MAX LS-T GPS mapping feature.
Particularly for those who have to work alone, this single aspect of the Isuzu D-MAX LS-T would make for far safer, more efficient and less stressful time spent on the job.
There is no shortage of technical data available on the web for those so inclined, but here in the real world we were more interested in the experiential areas of ride, handling and safety.
The driver’s seat squab and back adjusted electrically with a simple double lever, while the steering wheel adjusted up and down about 5cm. In seconds, we were perfectly set up for the road, with a clear view of the dash as well as the road both ahead and behind.
Around town the D-MAX LS-T was comfortable, easy to manoeuvre and had a surprisingly small turning circle. Out on the road, we were impressed with the LS-T’s smooth acceleration, low levels of wind noise and overall stability, particularly when pushed through corners.
Excellent visibility combined with very efficient power-assisted, ABS brakes (disc in front, drums at rear) promoted driving confidence. Passive safety was well represented with six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), side anti-intrusion bars in all doors, electronic stability control, traction control and emergency brake assist.
However, the Isuzu D-MAX LS-T’s primary roles as both a work vehicle and business investment were reflected in its truck-like construction, based on a seven cross-membered rail chassis. Put under stress on less than perfect road surfaces it did tend to buck, but would not stray off-line.
We came away from the test fully convinced that the Isuzu D-MAX LS-T convincingly made the inevitable compromise between high task demand and acceptable operator comfort. No wonder it’s selling so well.