Isuzu D-Max facelift spotted testing in Chennai

Slowly but steadily, Isuzu is carving out a niche for itself in the Indian market. Despite having limited sales points compared to rivals Tata and Mahindra, the MU-7 premium SUV and D-Max pickup truck in its various configurations have been doing reasonably well in India to warrant setting up of a new manufacturing facility. Coming up at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, Isuzu is expected to soon start assembling vehicles at the new facility.

Internationally, the MU-7 has been replaced by MU-X while the D-Max received a significant facelift towards the end of 2015. While there is no news on the MU-X, Isuzu has already started testing the D-Max facelift in India. Caught testing by a regular reader of Anything On Wheels in Chennai, these camouflaged pickup trucks are proof that the D-Max is all set for a makeover very soon. Two variants of the truck were spotted, a Single Cab chassis and a Dual Cab (Isuzu calls this 'Crew Cab') variant with arched deck. In fact, the latter could be the Space Cab variant too but the cut-outs in the camouflage for rear door handles make us believe otherwise. While there are no frontal shots of the test vehicles, there are enough clues that helped in establishing the truck's identity. The prominent shoulder line that runs the full length of the profile cutting through the door handles, the vertical taillight clusters with clear lens indicators and reversing lamps and the cut across the rear deck opening are similar to the ones in the D-Max facelift currently on sale in Thailand.

The D-Max lineup in India currently include Single Cab, Single Cab chassis and Space Cab with flat and arched decks. When Isuzu launches the facelift, the lineup could expand to include the Crew Cab configuration as well. 4x4 versions are also rumored to be in the works. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder common-rail turbocharged diesel engine that powers the D-Max currently was replaced by a new 1.9-liter diesel mill that churns out 147 BHP and 350 Nm of torque when the facelift was launched. When the D-Max facelift is launched in India, this new engine is likely to make it here too. In addition to the new engine, the facelift gets significantly-revised front and rear bumpers, new wraparound headlights and sleeker taillights. The interiors have received a complete revamp too with improved aesthetics and better build quality.

Compared to Tata's Xenon and Mahindra's Imperio, the Isuzu D-Max stands out for its powerful engine and comfortable cabin that is well put together and loaded with all necessary features. With the impending facelift, these strengths are likely to be strengthened further. Bring it on Isuzu!

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