Perdeberg is really getting excited with the prospect of the new Isuzu D-Max arriving in 2022. The plan is that the new D-Max will be built right here in South Africa for release into the local market. Isuzu is committed to this market, as shown by its decision to acquire light commercial vehicle operations in South Africa, as well as the remaining shareholding in the trucks industry, making it the company’s first wholly-owned subsidiary outside of Japan. The news follows the brand’s R1.2 billion investment in its Port Elizabeth plant last year, which will manufacture the D-Max for both the South African and Sub-Saharan African markets.

The latest D-Max – which, of course, was once known as the KB here in South Africa – was unveiled in Thailand in October 2019 and is already being manufactured for export in that region as well as New Zealand and Australia. The Isuzu bakkie range now includes 30 models for South Africa as well as 13 models for export markets, with both the top-spec versions getting a more luxurious treatment to reflect the more sophisticated specs of top-end customers in this segment.

The new look on the Top-End models is defined by a muscular new chromed radiator grille that covers the front fascia, and also new tapered chromed accents that span the length of the sleeker L-shaped headlight units. The utility box lid now bears the ‘Isuzu D-MAX emblem,’ and the dashboard and door trims have been given a new, higher-quality grain, as well as a piano black coating on the air vent grilles and window controls. The door handles, locking lever, and air vent knobs, on the other side, are all chrome.

What’s it feels like to be behind the wheel?

The electronic steering system in the new D-Max is light and precise on the road while being tractable off-road. Furthermore, when it comes to treating bumps and lumps, the suspension is even on, well, considered It’s now possible to assume you’re driving a vehicle with even a 1-tonne payload and towing capability of up to 3 500 kg (braked capacity), which is a significant change over its predecessor’s rural foundations. When driving the Isuzu at highway speeds with little to no freight on the load bed, the more supple ride quality is especially noticeable. There is significantly better suspension stability over uneven tarred surfaces, and it arguably still leads the Ford Ranger in terms of total refinement (wind- and engine noise suppression), but only by a small margin, and it matches its other rivals in this instance.

Here’s looking forward to Isuzu D-Max Gen 7.