The Isuzu D-MAX is a worthy competitor in the tough South African bakkie market.
The company has had their bakkies on sale since 1972, which speaks to the quality of the vehicles.
Their newest offering is the Isuzu D-MAX range in single, extended, and double cab configurations – with a starting price of just over R300,000 for the cheapest model in the line-up.
As double cabs are so popular in South Africa, there is a good chance that this will be the body style which runs off showroom floors quickest.
And, in the Isuzu double cab, there is a lot to love – whether it be at the low or high end.
In this comparison, the entry-level Isuzu D-MAX 250 HO Double Cab Hi-Ride will be compared against the range-topping Isuzu D-MAX 300 Double Cab LX 4X4 Auto to see if the extra R250,000 is worth the spend.
The R900,000 “ARCTIC” model had not been considered as it is a special edition vehicle.
As these are bakkies which are meant to carry cargo and equipment, it would only be right to start with power figures.
The D-MAX 250 is fitted with a 2.5-litre diesel engine which produces 100kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
This engine allows a claimed combined fuel consumption of 7.7l/100km, a maximum payload of 1,074kg, and a braked towing capacity of 2,100kg.
In the D-MAX 300 you will find a larger 3.0-litre engine, which generates 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque.
This model has a lower maximum payload of 945kg, however, along with a claimed combined fuel consumption of 7.8l/100km and a braked towing capacity of up to 2,900kg.
The transmissions in the bakkies also differ.
The 250 model receives a 5-speed manual, whereas the 300 gets one extra gear and an automatic system.
One extra step was then taken to improve the 300 even more, and a low gear has been installed for those challenging off-road situations.
This is combined with a 4×4 drive system with a front and rear differential lock, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The entry-level 250 model only receives rear wheel drive, a rear differential lock, and smaller 16-inch steel wheels.
These mechanical differences extend to the exterior, too.
The 300 is once again distinguished from the lower ranks as it gets a chrome grille, chrome bumpers and detailing, a sports bar in the loadbox, and appropriate model designations.
The 250, on the other hand, has a grey plastic grille, black bumpers, no chrome detailing, no sports bar, fewer model designations, and less-attractive steel wheels.
As bakkie interiors go, the D-MAX doesn’t have the worst – but it’s not the best we’ve ever seen.
It is decently equipped with most of the features anyone would need, but looks somewhat outdated compared ti its rivals.
This section is where the 300 firmly pulls ahead, however, as partial leather seats, a leather multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, and a multi information display are all fitted as standard – whereas none of those options are available on the entry-level 250.
Moreover, the 300 receives automatic climate control, it gets a power adjustable driver’s, and has a sliding rear window.
To bring them back in line again, both bakkies then get all-round electric windows and electrically-adjustable wing mirrors.
The fair treatment didn’t last long, and the 300 again takes another huge leap ahead with an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system and a rear-view camera installed.
At the other end, the 250 only gets an AM/FM radio – while both bakkies feature Bluetooth, USB, and aux connectivity.
Driver assist systems are plenty, and you would be happy to know that Isuzu has followed the recent trend of not differentiating between models when it comes to passive and active safety.
Both vehicles receive
- Brake assist
- Central locking
- Traction control
- Dual front Airbags
- Alarm and immobiliser
- Electronic stability control
- Hill start and descent assist
As these are fundamental safety systems we see from almost every manufacturer, Isuzu added extra features to the 300 to cement its superiority.
These come in the form of two more sets of airbags – side and curtain – trailer sway control, and automatic door unlock in case of an accident.
As it is now clear what these bakkies offer, it’s time to reveal pricing.
The entry-level Isuzu D-MAX 250 HO Double Cab Hi-Ride has a starting price of R461,100.
The high-end Isuzu D-MAX 300 Double Cab LX 4X4 Auto has a starting price of R713,900.
With both you will receive 5-year/120,000km warranty and roadside assistance, and a 5-year/90,000km service plan.