Manila, 18 April 2015–Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) has launched the D-Max line-up for 2015 at the Clark International Speedway with events that ran yesterday to today featuring a precision driving exhibition and on-track and rough-trail test drives to demonstrate the truck’s selling points both on and off the road. A team of precision drivers thrilled on-lookers with spirited formation driving on the main speedway’s turns and straightaways—an impressive sight when done in high-riding trucks. Afterwards, dealer and media representatives were given the chance to get behind the wheel on all four variants (4×2 or 4×4, AT or MT) in the D-Max’s top LS range.

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New Pricing, New Mid-Range Variant

Model 4×2 Drivetrain 4×4 Drivetrain
Line MT variant AT variant MT variant AT variant
LS P1,154,000 * P1,206,000 * P1,428,000 * P1,487,000 *
LT-X P935,000 **
LT P872,000 ** P1,178,000 *
Single cab P712,000

*   Features new top-spec 133hp 2.5L 4JK1-TCX with CRDi and VGS turbo
** Features standard 107hp 2.5L 4JK1-TC direct injection turbo-diesel

The 4x2 Single Cab variant introduced last year as a bare chassis option for numerous truck applications.
The 4×2 Single Cab variant introduced last year as a bare chassis option for numerous truck applications.

IPC’s 2015 pricelist widens the difference between their 4×2 and 4×4 offerings. While list prices increased by P10,000 to P15,000 on the 4×2 LS, LT and Single Cab, there were greater P25,000 to P30,000 increases on the 4×4 LT and LS variants, respectively. The pricing shows Isuzu as defending its position more in the 4×2 truck segment—a sensible move in a market where the demand for pick-ups rides more on their high ground clearance and robust diesels than on their all-terrain capabilities. And a move that goes hand-in-hand with Isuzu’s again adding another variant to its 4×2 line up, bringing their total selection up to eight variants—five 4×2’s and three 4×4’s.

Last year they introduced the base 4×2 single cab and chassis variant, this year they add the upper mid-range 4×2 LT-X that features the custom bedliner like that on the top-end LS, and 15” alloy wheels. IPC President Nobuo Izumina said of the new variant: “Our new Isuzu D-MAX LT-X MT 2.5L variant is fit not just to withstand the usual capabilities of the current pick-up trucks in the market but to go beyond the borders of stereotypes.”

New Top-End Engine

New 4JK1-TCX top-end engine with VGS turbo and CRDi feed.
New 133hp 4JK1-TCX top-end engine with VGS turbo and CRDi feed.
Standard 107hp 4JK1-TC turbodiesel with direct injection.
Standard 107hp 4JK1-TC turbodiesel with direct injection.

On the 4×4 LT and all four LS variants, the top-spec 4JJI-TC 3.0L diesel with turbocharger and CRDi fuel feed, has been replaced with the more economical but harder pulling 4JK1-TCX 2.5L diesel with its VGS turbocharger and CRDi fuel feed.   Though specs show the 2.5L VGS and CRDi turbodiesel to have nominally less horsepower than the 3.0L CRDi turbo (133hp versus 146hp), the new engine delivers higher torque at lower RPMs (236lb-ft@2,200rpm versus 217lb-ft@3,400rpm) and at much improved fuel economy.

Worth noting is the fact that the new 4JK1-TCX is built on the same engine core as the standard 2.5L 4JK1-TC still used on the 4×2 Single Cab, LT and new LT-X variants. The 14% gain in torque of the TCX comes mainly from its CRDi fuel feed and the VGS turbine on its turbocharger—both of which replace modular counterparts on the base TC engine which has a direct injection feed and a conventional turbo.

Strategic Moves

While the D-Max’s engine choices still offer distinctly different performance options, these now have more parts in common, possibly easing the logistics behind the spare parts inventories that need to be carried by Isuzu and their service centers—a definite advantage after the parts crunch that motorists and vehicle maintenance providers experienced under the recent Port Crisis. And, with the D-Max’s line up that both widens and deepens its intended market with numerous variants, this could prove to be sublimely strategic for bolstering the truck’s strong reputation as an ever reliable workhorse.

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