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2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain review (video)

With dual-cab ute popularity sky-high, every manufacturer has a ‘halo’ flagship up their sleeve, and you’re looking at Isuzu’s range-topper for the D-Max; the X-Terrain.

It packs a hefty list of visual and interior upgrades, making for Isuzu’s ultimate family platform with all the bells and whistles. But, is spending the extra money for the X-Terrain worth the upgrade over a mid-spec D-Max? Let’s find out.

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Specifications

Engine: 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder
Output: 140kW@3600rpm / 450Nm@1600-2600rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed auto
Drive type: Part-time RWD/4WD
Wheels: F & R: 18×7.5, 265/60
ANCAP: Five stars
Kerb weight: 2175kg
Power-to-weight: 15.53:1 (kg:kW)
Official consumption: 8.0L/100km
Our consumption: 8.6L/100km
Fuel tank/Fuel type: 76L/Diesel
Power efficiency: 17.5kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 4.15 seconds*
0-100km/h: 9.95 seconds*
60-110km/h: 7.75 seconds*
1/4 mile: 17.04 seconds at 133.1km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.738g*
100-0km/h braking: 41.79m in 3.29 seconds*
Max deceleration: -1.093g*
Decibel at idle: 48*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 79*
Starting price: $67,500

*Figures as tested by Driving Enthusiast on the day. Manufacturers’ claims may be different

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: How much does it cost?

The X-Terrain is priced from $67,500 before on-road costs which, for reference, is a $4000 premium over its lesser sibling, the LS-U+ variant, and a serious chunk more than the $52,200 starting point for the SX 4×4 dual-cab with the same 3.0-litre donk and auto transmission.

In terms of major rivals, the D-Max lines up against the likes of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak ($71,190), the range-topping Toyota HiLux Rogue ($70,200), the Mazda BT-50 Thunder ($73,410) and the Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior ($70,590).

ABN holders have access to some special drive-away pricing for the X-Terrain, which depends largely on where you’re located.

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Interior & packaging

Over the LS-U+, the X-Terrain picks up a set of 18-inch dark grey alloys wrapped in 265/60 Bridgestone highway-terrain tyres, a roller tonneau cover, dark grey finish for the sports bar, sidesteps, roof rails and wheel arches, a revised two-tone front grille, and some added underbody protection.

Inside, X-Terrain picks up leather upholstery with red contrast stitching, which extends to the door surrounds and even atop the dashboard, though there are few other upgrades inside the cabin. Does it feel like a flagship? It does, but we’re certainly not blown away.

The leather touches are nice, so too is the slight indentation on the centre armrest that makes for perfect real estate for a lazy elbow on long drives.

Other than that, though, the X-Terrain’s cabin is a familiar affair, with the exterior picking up the lion’s share of the upgrades rather than the cabin.

There is ample storage in the front, combined with some healthy legroom in the second row, means you won’t feel guilty driving around with tall passengers in the back. It’s also great on long road trips.

The second row includes amenities like USB charging ports, a set of climate vents, a folding armrest with cup holders, and a pair of ISOFIX anchors for child seats, making it genuinely family-friendly. Though this is on the merit of the D-Max platform rather than anything unique to the X-Terrain.

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Powertrain & handling

The X-Terrain comes packing Isuzu’s 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that pushes out 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, paired with a six-speed automatic and a part-time 4×4 system with dual-range, and a locking rear differential.

As a reference, the X-Terrain is down slightly on the HiLux Rouge’s 150kW/500Nm output, and quite significantly down on the Ranger Wildtrak V6’s 184kW/500Nm grunt.

For what it lacks on paper, the unit makes up for it when it comes to eagerness and a nice thick torque band that helps sling you up to speed without breaking a sweat. We timed 0-100km/h in 9.95 seconds, which is actually decent for this class.

The six-speed automatic is far from the snappiest in the segment, and curiously likes to hold onto gears far longer than you’d expect for a diesel. Though, it’s well-behaved around town.

The handling feels ready to be loaded up right out of the gate, with the firm suspension begging to be softened down with some extra kgs in the back. It is a bit jittery at low speed, but it seems to improve as you pick up the pace. It’s also more comfortable than a great deal of its rivals.

You’ll be quickly reminded of its 2175kg heft when you hit a curve quickly, even though this is one of the lighter weight utes on the market. The X-Terrain feels stable and confident enough on the road, while remaining easy to pilot around town.

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Key attractions/reasons to buy

The X-Terrain is by far the most pumped-up and aggressive D-Max variant to look at, which is a must-have for buyers opting for a flagship with some show-off value. And it provides some tangible benefits over lesser variants.

The ladder-frame platform and hefty suspension gear makes no apologies for wanting to get straight to work, which will come as welcomed news for buyers putting their X-Terrain to use as it offers 3500kg of braked towing allowance and a 6000kg gross combination mass.

The D-Max is also one of the most spacious dual-cabs for rear occupant legroom, giving it some serious appeal for families, while remaining very user-friendly for drivers new to the 4×4 ute segment.

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Key considerations before you buy

If you’re looking for some hardware upgrades that add to its versatility, you won’t find them in the X-Terrain. Frankly, there’s no need to upgrade if you’re looking to enhance the driving or off-roading experience.

Having said that, the stock D-Max platform is rock-solid and doesn’t need much of a helping hand, though even a token power or torque upgrade might give it a stronger leg to stand on against the more powerful rivals.

While the infotainment display is beefed-up to 9.0-inches in the LS-U and the X-Terrain, it’s not the most attractive with its chunky bezels, nor the most responsive unit on the market. It also locks you out of some functions while driving, annoyingly.

Safety seems to be a very high priority with all D-Max variants. All come fitted with a wide range of active and pro-active systems. However, some of these can seem over-the-top and more of a distraction. Fortunately, you can turn most systems off.

2023 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Video

How does it rate against its rivals?
  • Price
  • Quality look & feel
  • Interior tech
  • Powertrain performance
  • Ride & handling
  • X-factor (does it stand out in its class?)

Final word

While it lacks any mechanical upgrades, the X-Terrain is a fitting range-topper for the D-Max lineup. It holds its own against more powerful rivals in terms of performance, and in spite of rising prices, it remains relatively well-priced for a versatile, work-ready, go-anywhere flagship 4×4 ute. It’s also a great family vehicle.

Alexi Falson

Alexi is a road tester and automotive journalist with a decade of experience, having worked for PerformanceDrive for eight years. He's got a deep love for the automotive world and enjoys industry analysis, as well as driver's cars and crazy exotics. He also enjoys the freedom of two wheels, and has a passion for mountaineering and surfing.

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