7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

The new Isuzu D-Max has been priced and detailed for Australia. Here are the 7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max.

Proudly brought to you by Oricom: The new Isuzu D-Max was revealed overseas earlier this year and has finally been revealed for Australia. Indeed, Australia is the second market outside of Thailand to get the new D-Max. Pricing for the new D-Max runs from $32,200+ORC for the entry cab chassis SX up to $62,900+ORC for the top-spec X-Terrain variant. However, Isuzu is offering driveaway pricing on both those vehicles, starting at $29,990 for the entry cab chassis SX and $58,990 for the X-Terrain.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

Even the briefest of glances at the spec sheet reveals this new D-Max is a massive step ahead of the old car, with improved performance, safety, and capability.

“We’ve completely redesigned and modernised the Isuzu D-MAX from the ground up—with a new standard of premium features, blended with a suite of technological advancements and sharp, yet bold aesthetics,” said Isuzu Ute Australia Managing Director, Hiroyasu Sato. 

“I’m proud to say that the Australian specification of the All-New D-MAX was designed with feedback from Australian drivers, our Dealers and the media. We’ve refined the areas that traditional ute drivers need, introduced features that families want and improved its capability to make the All-New D-MAX the ultimate all-rounder for the modern working families.” 

The engine is the same but different

That’s right, the new D-Max carries on with a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine but Isuzu said the donk has been extensively reworked and is now what it calls a derivative of the 4JJ1-TC known as 4JJ1-TCX 3. The derivative engine boasts 10kW and 20Nm more than the old engine, with 140kW at 3600rpm and 450Nm of torque between 1600-2600rpm, although 400Nm is available from just 1400-3250rpm, and there’s 300Nm available at 1000rpm.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

So what makes this engine different from the old one? A lot. It runs a new engine block, cylinder-head, crankshaft and has lightweight aluminium pistons, and it breathes through a new intake system allowing the turbo to be tweaked for less lag. A new-design DPF has been installed which Isuzu said is more efficient than the old one. The exhaust pipe and muffler is lighter than the old one too, down by 26% to just 8.6kg.

The engine is matched to either Isuzu’s MVL-6S six-speed manual transmission or an Aisin-built AWE6B45 II six-Speed automatic transmission. The six-speed manual features a pull ring selector, and Isuzu claims “gear engagements are snappier, crisper and more enjoyable, with an optimised pivot point and shorter selector throw”. The six-speed automatic transmission has been tweaked too, with Isuzu claiming it’s improved “transmission efficiency, shifting speed and operating temperature regulation with a new Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) warmer and cooler and new pan design for improved ATF longevity. Gear shifts are smoother, more efficient and quicker than the preceding model, with an improvement of up to 0.2 sec in shift time between gears, with a more intuitive selection”.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

Quicker to shift into low-range

4×4 D-Max variants feature a revised transfer case with a new electronic actuator which improves shift time from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive (high-range) down to one second. And shifts can be made at up to 100km/h.

Shifting from four-wheel drive High to Low now takes a second too, it previously took around 2.5 seconds to engage. Transferring drive from the transmission to the rear differential is a new, one-piece aluminium tailshaft. Lighter than traditional steel tailshafts, the use of aluminium “boasts a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio and allows the powertrain to be more efficient through lowering rotational mass, which also improves response, harmonics, durability and performance,” said Isuzu.

2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain priced and detailed

Isuzu said it listened to customer feedback and has made a rear differential lock standard on 4×4 variants. It will automatically disengage at speeds above 28km/h and when used will disable traction control on the front axle which isn’t ideal.

And the front wheel hubs now feature maintenance-free sealed wheel bearings have reduced servicing costs which has been reflected in the reduced price of capped servicing on new D-Max.

Should be better on and off-road

Isuzu sent engineers to Australia to tweak ‘our’ D-Max for towing and load lugging performance, meaning our three-leaf suspension setup is different to other markets. Up front, new double wishbone suspension with new high-mounted upper-control arms and a thicker anti-roll bar have reduced body roll by 17%.

Isuzu’s three-leaf rear suspension setup is apparently stronger and lighter than before with new metals used. New rear dampers have been mounted seven-degrees closer to “being perpendicular with the chassis and spring”. For off-roading the main benefit is an extra 30mm of wheel travel.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

With the chassis beefed up, Isuzu has lifted the GVM to 3100kg on 4×4 models (3000 on 4×2). However the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) remains at 5850kg on 4×2 and 5950kg on 4×4 models. Front and rear axle capacities have also improved, Front: 1450kg (from 1350kg) and Rear: 1910kg (from 1870kg).

Steering has changed with the addition of an electric power assistance which Isuzu said makes the steering lighter to use in general driving but is still feelsome…will judge that when we drive the thing in the next week or so. And the brakes are bigger too, indeed, Isuzu is claiming the new D-Max now boasts the largest front brakes on any one-tonne ute. The new front discs measure 320mm and 30mm thick, the rotors are vented and twin-piston floating calipers do the clamping. But, Isuzu has stuck with rear drum brakes for the D-Max…why won’t car makers switch to rear disc brakes because these are far safer on and off-road and when towing too.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

The new D-Max boasts a longer wheelbase than the old car (longer by 30mm) and 15mm less front overhang and 45mm less at the rear.

All 4×4 models feature a 2.482:1 dual-range transfer case. The engine air intake has been revised and now features a “labyrinth of sealed airways that allows the D-Max to wade through water of up to 800mm, at a constant pace of 7km/h”. Unique for Australian delivered D-Max 4x4s, a prefabricated pathway has been installed making it easier for the fitment of snorkels. And unlike other brands, the D-Max features raised diff breather hoses that vent above the 800mm wading depth, so, no need for aftermarket jobbies.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

And, underneath, Isuzu has fitted 1.5mm-thick steel and poly-composite underbody protection for key components. The 76-litre polyurethane fuel tank has also been given an additional layer of aluminium shielding.

The cabin floor is 20mm higher off the ground than the old model. And overall ground clearance has been improved with the SX and LS-M models claiming 235mm and the LS-U and X-Terrain claiming 240mm of ground clearance. Approach, Departure and Ramp-Over Angles are 30.5-degrees, 24.2-degrees and 23.8-degreexs respectively, on the range-topping X-Terrain. 

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

Despite retaining the same internal tray width of preceding D-Max at 1530mm, there is now more usable room; with 15mm more internal length and 30mm more internal depth. Cab Chassis models also benefit from increased load areas; with Crew Cab Chassis trays measuring in at 150mm longer than before at 1800mm in length and Space Cab Chassis trays also get an extra 150mm in length, measuring 2100mm.

Full range of factory accessories

From launch the new D-Max will be available with more than 50 factory accessories covering frontal protection to canopies. Speaking with Mark Harman, PR and Sponsorships Manager at Isuzu Ute Australia, MotoFomo was told Isuzu developed the accessories independently of third-party accessory makers. Other brands have occasionally collaborated.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

“Coinciding with the launch of the All-New D-MAX is a suite of over fifty genuine Isuzu accessories specifically developed for the All-New Isuzu D-MAX. With an extensive range of canopies, rear covers, frontal protection and dress-up accessories, all components have been tested and developed for local conditions, completely IDAS compatible and come backed by a comprehensive 3-year or 100,000km parts and accessory warranty,” Mark Harman told MotoFomo.

“Regarding bull bars, we will have available at time of launch, an alloy and black steel Genuine Accessory Bull Bar that is fully compatible with IDAS, with provisions to mount a UHF antenna at the dedicated mount spot on the front. The Bull Bar has been developed by ICL (the Isuzu accessories developer) in Japan and tested in both Japan and Thailand. With the importance of frontal protection on Australian utes, we’ve received a lot of support from Isuzu Motors, to ensure that we have the right accessories available for Australia.”

Safer than ever before

The new D-Max range comes standard with Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS). This is a binocular camera-based system that can precisely detect and measure distance, size, velocity and depth of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential obstacles around the D-Max, said Isuzu.

According to Isuzu, IDAS was tested locally allowing engineers to calibrate the Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) for Australian roads. TSR automatically scans the road ahead for traffic and speed signs—including overhead and digital speed signs—relaying the speed zone up ahead to the driver via the 4.2-inch Multi-Information Display (MID). If the Intelligent Speed Limiter (ISL) is currently active, that speed zone will automatically reset the ISL to that speed limit. There are only a handful of vehicles on the market in Australia that can do this, and Isuzu said the camera had been calibrated to work with Isuzu’s own bullbar and also with an antenna mounted on the bullbar.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

IDAS also features autonomous emergency braking with turn assist and forward collision warning. The Turn Assist functionality will intervene if it detects the driver is crossing the path of another oncoming vehicle. Misacceleration Mitigation (MAM) is standard across Automatic models and prevents the driver from unintentionally driving into the vehicle in front during slow speed situations, of up to 10km/h. 

To keep an eye on what’s going on around the D-Max there are 24-GHz radar sensors housed within the rear bumper. Isuzu said that housing the radar sensors in the bumpers allows the D-Max’s Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) system to detect other vehicles and motorcycles approaching from the rear. The radar system also supports the vehicle’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system, which monitors approaching vehicles when reversing from a parking space or driveway.

IDAS incorporates Lane Departure Prevention (LDP), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK) systems will either alert the driver when the D-Max is venturing out of the lane or gently nudge the vehicle back into the middle of the lane if it’s detected the vehicle has wandered across the line unintentionally. It works at speeds above 60km/h.

On the inside, there are eight airbags including a segment-first centre airbag. And, standard across the range are things like rain-sensing wipers and automatic high-beam which can detect a vehicle and dip the high-beam at up to 600m. And the windscreen boasts an IR (Infrared) Cut film, which “blocks harmful ultraviolet rays from entering the cabin and reduces the internal cabin temperature—particularly when parked in full sunlight”.

More comfortable inside the new D-Max

The new D-Max boasts a more premium looking interior and depending on the variant will feature either a nine-inch or seven-inch infotainment screen. The LS-U and X-Terrain get the bigger screen which Isuzu claims is the highest-definition screen in the segment. SX and LS-M get the smaller screen but it boasts the same high-definition picture.

2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain priced and detailed

Wireless Apple Carplay is standard across the range although Android phones need to be connected via USB. Only LS-U and X-Terrain get standard sat-nav, so you’ll need to use your phone in the other variants. All models get digital radio and up to 8-speaker surround sound audio on Crew Cab models, up to 6-speakers on Space Cab models and 4-speakers on single cab models. 

Top-spec models boast dual-zone climate control and all crew cab models get rear air vents. All models boast a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) cabin air filter, with a PM2.5 (particulate matter under 2.5 micrometres) rating to significantly filter our 99.95% of airborne fine-particulate matter from entering the cabin through the air vents.

There’s more storage inside the D-Max too, with door bins now able to hold a 1.5L bottle with a staggering 10 cup holders. All models feature a large glove box, centre console storage, a coin and card box on the driver’s side and door storage pockets—with LS and X-Terrain models featuring an additional top glove box.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

To improve entry and exit into the back of the D-Max, the rear doors feature new hinges that allow the door to open up wider than before. And they require just one-fifth the effort to open or close now. The rear seats are 70:30 split allowing them to be folded completely flat to accommodate items like a 12V fridge.

What’s in the range?

The new D-Max range has been cut back to 20 variants with the entry-level single cab chassis SX 4×2 boasting more features than ever before.  The SX can be had as a single cab chassis, crew cab or space cab. The single cab chassis boasts a 2550mm-long alloy or steel tray and a payload capacity of more than 1.3-tonnes. The SX Space Cab features more room on the inside and an 1835mm-long style cab ute tray or a 2100mm-long alloy or steel tray in cab chassis guise, with up to 1250kg of payload capacity.

Safety hasn’t been forgotten about with Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) standard across its entire lineup. IDAS employs an Hitachi 3D Stereo Camera that “actively detects other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists” and includes autonomous emergency braking with turn assist (meaning it’ll stop you from trying to turn in front of someone), Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, 8-airbags including a knee and first-in-class, centre airbag (which deploys from the roof forming a cushion in the middle of the cabin).

D-MAX SX range highlights:

  • 3 litre Turbo diesel engine (4JJ3-TCX) with 140kW and 450Nm, 6-speed auto or manual, 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain with rear diff-lock
  • 3-leaf standard rear suspension on ute model (3-leaf heavy-duty on Cab Chassis and Space Cab 4×2 ute)
  • Heavy-duty urethane steering wheel, gear knob, and handbrake
  • Vinyl floor
  • Cloth trim upholstery
  • Power windows, mirrors, electric power steering and air-conditioning with rear air vents on Crew Cab models
  • 7” infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Android Auto™ and wireless Apple CarPlay®, with 4-speakers
  • Isuzu signature matt grey metallic front grille
  • 17” steel wheels with 255/65R17 Dunlop AT25

The LS-M variant continues with its hose-out interior and is available in Crew Cab body style only, and features upgrades in the form of 17×7-inch alloy wheels wrapped in All-Terrain rubber, Bi-LED headlights with daytime running lights (DRL) and premium high-grade cloth pews.

D-MAX LS-M highlights:

  • 3 litre Turbo diesel engine (4JJ3-TCX) with 140kW and 450Nm, 6-speed auto or manual, 4×4 drivetrain with rear diff-lock
  • 3-leaf heavy-duty rear suspension
  • 2x additional cup holders and 1x additional 2.1-Amp USB port
  • Vinyl floor
  • High-grade cloth trim upholstery
  • 7” infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Android Auto™ and wireless Apple CarPlay®, with 6-speakers
  • Bi-LED headlights with LED daytime running lights (DRL), with auto-levelling
  • LED fog lights
  • Body coloured mirrors, handles
  • Isuzu signature matt grey metallic front grille
  • 17” alloy wheels with 255/65R17 Dunlop AT25

The D-MAX LS-U is available in either space cab or crew cab and is aimed at, according to Isuzu Ute “travellers, caravaners and families who sought increased levels of convenience and comfort without compromise on towing or payload capacity”.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

D-MAX LS-U highlights:

  • 3 litre Turbo diesel engine (4JJ3-TCX) with 140kW and 450Nm, 6-speed auto or manual, 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain with rear diff-lock
  • 3-leaf standard rear suspension
  • Carpet floor
  • Premium leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • 9” infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Sat-Nav, Android Auto™ and wireless Apple CarPlay®, with 8-speakers (6-speakers – Space Cab)
  • Power adjustable lumbar support on driver’s seat
  • Dual zone air conditioning with rear air vents on Crew Cab
  • Smart wet wiper blades
  • Signature Isuzu top glove box
  • Chrome Door handles, tailgate handle, handbrake button, side mirrors and front grille
  • LED combination tail lights
  • Rear Park Sensors
  • Available in Marble White pearl and Magnetic Red mica in addition to the standard range of paint finishes
  • 18-inch machined-face alloy wheels with 265/60R18 Bridgestone 684II HT

The top-spec D-Max X-Terrain is the brand’s flagship boasting creature comforts never before offered on a D-Max. It offers remote engine start, walk-away auto-locking, wireless Apple CarPlay, Isuzu’s IDAS and a piano black and leather-accented interior.

7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max

D-MAX X-TERRAIN highlights:

  • 3 litre Turbo diesel engine (4JJ3-TCX) with 140kW and 450Nm, 6-speed auto, 4×4 drivetrain with rear diff-lock 
  • 3-leaf standard rear suspension
  • Leather-accented upholstery with leatherette across interior trims
  • Premium leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support
  • 9” infotainment display with Voice Recognition, DAB+ radio, Sat-Nav, Android Auto™ and wireless Apple CarPlay®, with 8-speakers
  • Remote engine start – embedded with security measures to prevent unauthorised entry and theft
  • Smart Entry and Start – smart proximity key allows for true, keyless entry and start/stop at a push of a button
  • Walk Away Door Lock – automatically locks when it senses the driver is away from the D-MAX
  • Piano black interior trims with satin silver highlights
  • Dark grey metallic treatment throughout: side steps, mirrors, door and tailgate handles, roof rails and fender flares
  • Under rail tub liner
  • Matt black roller tonneau cover
  • Aero sports bar
  • Front and rear underbody spoilers
  • Front and Rear Park Sensors
  • Exclusive Isuzu gunmetal grey metallic front grille
  • Exclusive ‘X’ badging
  • Available in Marble White pearl, Magnetic Red mica and Volcanic Amber metallic in addition to the standard range of paint finishes
  • 18” dark grey metallic alloy wheels with 265/60R18 Bridgestone 684II HT
7 things you need to know about the new 2021 Isuzu D-Max


  1. Done 32000ks in my new DMAX and thought I would mention that generally the utes is great. Unfortunately the IDAS systems is so intrusive it makes driving a less than pleasurable. It is also extremely dangerous in certain situations. I realise certain aspects of it can be disabled and adjusted but it resets to default every time you turn the key on!!! Page 277 of the manual states you must turn off Lane Keeping if towing. I tow and stop all the time and for me to press the buttons 22 times to disable it every time I start the car is a absolutely nuts. You also have to be completely stationary when adjusting this! Anyone with half a brain would make it easier to access.

  2. Couldnt agree more.
    I have a 2 week old BT50 and have found the safety systems far to sensitive and intrusive. You simply have to disable them but unfortunately they reset each time you turn the car off.
    I would recommend against purchaing one until this is sorted which is a shame because it is otherwise a good car.

  3. Yes I got a new dmax xterrain in February 2021.1 week later it broke down dpf took it into limp mode 4 days later got it back 2000klm later broke down again this time 40klm from home had it towed back to dealer they said Japan sent though new computer format this won’t happen again well low and behold 2500 klm it happenEd again this time 40klm from home had it towed once again same thing it took me 3hrs to get home waited 6months for this car. I should have looked at different makes

  4. i have recently brought a dmax have got used to the bell and whistles buuut am struggling with the dpf . 5000k twice been in for a forced reburn . needs a different system or different paraminters with its procedure . seriously needs looking at

  5. PURCHASED a oct 20 dmax, which i am trading in due to safety sytems, they cannot be deleted unless u spend time before a trip to turn them off, emergancy brake is far to dangerous.
    lane change is to harsh when towing large boats. will look at a new vw.

  6. My 2022 X terrain has only done 340 k’s and I’m over it already. Just came back from a 150 k trip and i was fighting with the thing all afternoon. This is not what i expected and driving this beast it not what i would call a pleasant experience at all. The last thing i want to do is go through a pre-flight check every time i hit the ignition key, I’m so disappointed. The so called safety features on the Dmax cant be turned off permanently which also frustrates the hell out of me-thanks Isuzu.

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