2020 Isuzu D-Max SX Review: The Rural Favourite
Price & Specs8
Interior & Practicality8
Performance & Economy7
Ride & Handling7.5
Running Costs & Warranty9
What we like
  • Good Value
  • Dependable
  • Resale value
What we don't like
  • Noisy engine
  • Ageing infotainment
  • Lack of active safety
7.9DiscoverAuto Rating

In Australia, Isuzu Ute has become a byword for durability, strength and reliability and have a strong base of loyal owners.

A brand new version of the brand’s D-Max ute is due locally within a few months, but before that arrives, we decided to test the last of the current model – a 2020 Isuzu D-Max SX 4×4 King Cab – to see what it’s brought to the competition since its 2012 release.

Price & Specs: 8.0/10

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max is one of the more bare bones utes in the segment –  it’s not focused so much on luxury as much as the competition, but more focused on the job at hand.

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max SX 4×4 King Cab starts off at $41,000 plus on-road coats for the six-speed manual and $43,100 for the six-speed automatic that we tested.

The equivalent 2020 Ford Ranger XL 4×4 King Cab will set buyers back $48,790 excluding government charges, that’s a price increase of a bit over $5,500. 

As standard with the 2020 Isuzu D-Max SX you get a six-speaker stereo, a 7.0-inch touch screen with Bluetooth, trailer sway control, a rear-view camera, air-conditioning, power windows, central locking and a trip computer. Our test car is painted in Splash White, which a no cost colour choice while metallic options come at a $500 premium. 

Although the SX is the base model D-Max, there’s still not much equipment here. Safety kit like auto emergency braking? Nope. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Nope! Auto headlights? Not even that.

Buyers wanting more kit will have to wait for the new model, or shop elsewhere. 

Performance & Economy: 7.0/10

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max comes as standard with a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel that makes 130kW of power and 430Nm of torque.

Although the engine can get quite noisy at times, it’s a solid and very capable unit. The claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.7L/100km is also reasonable considering the aforementioned Ford Ranger can only manage 8.7L/100km. Expect to get roughly 900km of range out of the 76-litre fuel tank.

The six-speed automatic transmission of our test car is smooth and effortless, though its indecisiveness can be frustrating at times.

Ride & Handling: 7.5/10

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max is an easy ute to drive on the road as the steering, although quite heavy, is fluid and precise – as are the brakes. The suspension soaks up pot holes and other road bumps while not being too bouncy. 

Being nearly 1.8 metres tall and not being performance focused there is some body roll around corners, but this is to be expected from a ute.

The 4×4 system is easy to engage with a twist knob near the gear lever and is quick to engage – once engaged, the 2020 Isuzu D-Max has a different feeling, it’s grippy and eager to get dirty.

The braked towing capacity of the 2020 Isuzu D-Max is 3.5 tonnes, which is enough to tow a decent sized caravan or boat.

Interior & Practicality: 8.0/10

The interior of the 2020 Isuzu D-Max SX Space Cab is simple and well set out. The air conditioning controls are easy to find and use and the steering wheel mounted controls for the radio and cruise control are close in reach.

The front seats are comfortable for long trips and the light filled cabin due to the amount of window real estate is good and can make passengers feel less claustrophobic, especially those sitting in the back.

Rear room in the Space Cab is minimal but enough for short trips, smaller occupants, or man’s best friend. The rear suicide doors make ingress and egress easy with little effort, though the seats themselves are quite hard and uncomfortable, with no back rest.

Forget to call “shotgun” and you’ll be leaning on the rear wall of the ute. 

Underneath the rear seats are handy storage bins that can be hidden from sight when the seats are down.

Running Costs & Warranty: 9.0/10

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max gets the brand’s six-year/150,000km warranty and six years of roadside assistance, should you need it. As standard with a 2020 Isuzu D-Max you get seven years of capped price servicing, which means that there are no surprises when paying for a service.

The intervals for the 2020 Isuzu D-Max are 12 months or 15,000km, which is pretty standard for the class. 

The cost of servicing the D-Max over three years is $1,377, an average of $459 per service. In comparison, servicing a Ford Ranger over the same three-year period will set owners back $1,012, which is due to Fords $299 service cost for the first four years.

The overall cost of owning a 2020 Isuzu D-Max SX 4×4 Space Cab for three years including servicing and fuel ($1.35 a litre) is $6,055. Compared to the Ford Ranger at $6,297 for the same three-year period, the D-Max stacks up well.

2020 Isuzu D-MAX SX DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.9/10

The 2020 Isuzu D-Max SX 4×4 Space Cab is one of the most capable work utes. Its dependability and off-road capability make it an all-round star but its lack of a modern infotainment system and noisy engine may keep some buyers away.

We here at DiscoverAuto love the flexibility of the D-Max and it’s no surprise why it’s so popular in Australia. 

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