2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, from ordinary blue-collar worker to the big corporates, we’ve all felt the effects of Covid-19. Isuzu Motors South Africa is one of the many local car manufacturers affected by the sudden turn of events in March 2020. To keep the ship afloat they’ve been putting in the hours despite the circumstances and launching new products, albeit remotely with ample social distancing.

What’s important for you and I is that all of their efforts during these challenging times are for the benefit of the end consumer. Yes, that means you the South African buyer. The firm has spent some time upgrading and making improvements to its product range in recent months. Just a month ago they introduced the D-MAX 3.0 litre in X-Rider skin. In this format, the double cab is only available with a 6-speed auto. We’ve welcomed the spruced up D-MAX with open arms and it really looks the part with the X-Rider kit. It now boasts a blacked-out grille, black alloy wheels and side steps, and a few other bits to add to its bolder more aggressive appearance. Upgrades in the D-MAX range weren’t just limited to the X-Rider, the rest of the range has also benefited from the tidying up of things. As we’ve witnessed in the LX grade when we had it for review, little upgrades like a touch infotainment screen, a standard tow bar as well as a Brake Override system have made it a more enticing offering in this segment, not to mention its highly competitive price point.

On the SUV side of things, the mu-X has also gone under the knife to bring it up to speed with the rest of the Isuzu lineup. The 3.0-litre mu-X in both 4×4 and 4×2 trims has seen designers putting pen to pad to come up with a more robust looking seven-seater SUV. In its 2020 outfit, the mu-X now boasts piano black inserts from the grille and front bumper, all the way to the rear of the car. The updates give the new mu-X a visible edge over its predecessor. Tweaks and changes have found their way to the interior as well. Here you’ll find a touch TFT infotainment system paired with an 8-speaker audio system which can be operated through a multifunction steering wheel. Both the 4×4 and 4×2 are only available with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Finally, the news everyone has been patiently waiting to hear. The next generation D-MAX bakkie is officially on its way, with production in full swing as we speak. The current version of the Isuzu pickup is on its 6th generation and is nearly due for an update. Its replacement is currently undergoing research and development, and it’s all taking place on local soil. What’s more, is that once the brand is pleased with the product and ready to roll it out, the 7th generation D-MAX bakkie will be manufactured right here in SA, at Isuzu’s assembly plant in Port Elizabeth. It will be a uniquely South African product, solidifying Isuzu’s commitment to supporting the local economy. Other African regions will also be beneficiaries of the South African built D-MAX. Reliability and durability are the two main ingredients in Isuzu bakkies, and the company says the recipe will remain unchanged in the upcoming bakkie, which is forecasted for early 2022.

By Gugu Masuku