‘Isuzu wins Zim Car of the Year’

Andrew Mhizamhindo: Analyst

CONGRATULATIONS to Isuzu DMax for winning the Zimbabwean car of the year online votes category.

The multi award-winning Isuzu D-Max has been picking up awards in other countries. This therefore is no fluke. It shows that locally readers know their vehicles. Autoworld the local Isuzu dealership are really proud to win this prestigious award. It clearly demonstrates the Isuzu D-Max’s position as the most capable and durable working vehicle in the sector. Who are we to dispute online voters.

In the United Kingdom, it has been picking awards too. It has already had a successful 2019 picking up its 6th Award after being crowned “Pick-Up of The Year” at the 2019 by WhatVan? Awards and in the Pick-up & 4×4 Pro Awards 2019, not to mention being voted “Best Model” in the 2019 4×4 Magazine awards.

Also winning Best Working Pick-up in the 2019 Professional Pick-up & 4×4 awards and the 2019 Best Workhorse Pick-up Award from Trade Van Driver. In Australia, the Isuzu D-MAX has been awarded with one of the industry’s most coveted accolades, winning the “Best Work Ute” category in the Delivery Magazine’s Best LCV Awards for 2020.

These awards speak for themselves. They praise Isuzu for both style, substance and durability. It is clear Isuzu D-Max is the ultimate all-rounder.

We have had to forego the other categories due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as it was proving difficult to test drive the participating vehicles due to the ever-changing movement requirements.

The Isuzu D-MAX won 56% of the votes. The Mercedes GLE Coupe was second with 7%. The results were verified by Deloitte, a leading international audit firm.

We now shift our focus to the 2021 Zimbabwean car of the year. We will now work with and around Covid-19 because the pandemic is with us for the long run.

Close to a decade of presence in Zimbabwe (spanning six generations), Isuzu KB trucks, remained a key player in creating and fostering Zimbabwe’s love affair with the “pick-up truck” — both as a workhorse and, as an all-encompassing day-to-day leisure and lifestyle vehicle. But, a change was needed.

The new D-MAX nameplate originated in Thailand, with the “D” originally referring to the 2000 model year Isuzu bakkie that boasted the flush “Dragon Eyes” headlamp design. It also represents Isuzu’s legacy in producing diesel engines, the use of direct injection, as well as design and durability.

The “MAX”? Well, that is said to signify the company’s maximum approach to design, size, comfort, performance, safety and durability.

So, now known as the Isuzu D-MAX, in line with international markets, the range spans a wide portfolio comprising 30 models for South Africa and 13 models for export markets.

Visually, the biggest styling changes for the refreshed Isuzu D-MAX make their debut on the range-topping three-litre LX models, available in single, extended and double-cab body styles.

Central to the new look is a striking, chrome radiator grille that dominates the front end, along with tapered chromed accents extending across the full length of the sleeker L-shaped headlight clusters.

In addition to the new projector-type Bi-LED headlamps and LED DRLs introduced on the extended and double cabs, there are restyled fog lamp bezels framed by chromed vertical accents that give the LX a distinctive and aggressive look.

It is different to the KB that it replaces, but not re-styled in a way that it becomes unrecognisable as an Isuzu pick-up truck.

When you climb into the cabin, you will immediately notice a more upmarket look and feel in the LX models courtesy of soft-touch materials for key touchpoints around the cockpit.

You also get a new, more attractive, high-quality grain for the dashboard and door trims, along with a piano black finish on the air vent grilles and window switches. In contrast, the door handles, locking knob, and air vent knobs are picked out in chrome.

Occupants also benefit from the inclusion of a decent infotainment system, incorporating a full colour touch screen with rear-view camera support, Bluetooth connectivity, and media streaming capability.

Featuring a slick-shifting six-speed auto transmission, the 3.0TD LX we test drove swopped cogs like a large premium sedan; smooth, without hunting, and quickly too.

There is also a manual shift position for off-roading, or when you need to hold onto a gear during overtaking.

The three-litre, four-cylinder, intercooled, turbodiesel engine, which produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque is “grunty” low down, and if you are not careful in wet weather, you will easily light up the rear tyres when unladed.

andrew@muzamhindo.com