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Friday / 14 June 2024
HomeFeaturesNew Isuzu D-Max Arctic – What makes it R241,000 better than the V-Cross

New Isuzu D-Max Arctic – What makes it R241,000 better than the V-Cross

The Isuzu D-Max is a fan-favourite in the South African automotive scene, racking up sales figures that all but guarantee it a spot in each month’s best-sellers lists.

Being such a popular vehicle, it’s no surprise that there are dozens of models to choose from, as the current-generation D-Max has no less than 24 derivatives to its name.

At the very top of this list is the V-Cross, the flagship of the series, but there’s also one more unit that recently joined the family – the Arctic AT35.

The AT35 is a halo-model vehicle developed in collaboration between Isuzu and Icelandic company Arctic Trucks to push the boundaries of what the D-Max is capable of.

The result is a vehicle that shares the same basic platform as the V-Cross, but has seen significant changes to its body and off-road characteristics.

These changes mean that, while the range-topping V-Cross has a starting price of R879,200, the Arctic clocks in at R1,120,620, making it one of the most expensive double cabs in the country.

This is what you can expect when paying R241,420 more for the Isuzu D-Max AT35 in South Africa.

Upping its game

The first thing you’ll notice about the Arctic is its altered body frame complete with much larger wheel arches – a necessary change to accomodate a set of enormous 35-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres mounted atop 17-inch black alloy rims.

The V-Cross, in contrast, actually has bigger 18-inch alloy rims, but comes with standard 265/60 road tires, with the option of adding highway terrain (HT) rubbers instead.

The other major change to the Arctic is its specially-developed suspension, which pairs with a set of Bilstein dampers.

These alterations mean the two bakkies, while ostensibly sharing the same platform, have slightly different dimensions, which you can see below:

Specification Isuzu D-Max 3.0TD double cab V-Cross 4×4 Isuzu D-Max 3.0TD double cab AT35 4×4
Length 5,333mm 5,333mm
Width 1,880mm 2,040mm
Height 1,810mm 1,875mm
Wheelbase 3,125mm 3,125mm
Ground clearance 232mm 266mm
Wading depth 800mm 865mm
Approach angle 30.0 degrees 33.0 degrees
Break-over angle 22.5 degrees 34.0 degrees
Departure angle 18.0 degrees 23.0 degrees
Load capacity 970kg 970kg
Towing capacity 3,500kg 3,500kg

The halo-model is slightly taller and wider on account of its tyres and flared arches, though the changes are minimal relative to the size of the vehicles.

More important, though, is the Arctic’s improved ground clearance and wading depth, as well as its vastly better off-road angles.

However, its towing and load figures are identical to the V-Cross for one important reason – they share the same 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine.

This means both models have access to 140kW and 450Nm, which is transmitted to the part-time 4WD system using the same six-speed automatic gearbox.

Their fuel consumption would also be the same, if not for the fact that the AT35’s modifications make it the heavier vehicle, thereby giving it a usage of 8.5l/100km compared to its sibling’s 8.1l/100km.

Styling and features

Hitting home the notion that the Arctic is a special vehicle are numerous cosmetic details, including a set of Arctic Truck-branded mud flaps, leather seats, and floor mats, as well as a gearstick with the AT35 logo.

Other than that, the two bakkies have an identically-generous equipment list, including a 9.0-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an eight-speaker stereo, a wireless charger, eight-way electronically adjustable front seats with lumbar support, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, climate control, keyless entry and start, tyre-pressure monitors, and a lockable rear differential.

They also come with assistance items like a stereo camera system with sonar and radar technologies, forward-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Included with every purchase is a 5-year/120,000km warranty and roadside assistance plan, and a 5-year/90,000km service plan,


Isuzu D-Max V-Cross


Isuzu D-Max AT35


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