Motoring

Isuzu D-Max V-Cross gets an update

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This truck is now available with two engines and transmissions and gets an all-black theme on the inside

Pick-up trucks are looked at as utilitarian vehicles, but in India, this body style is rare; it caters to a rather niche set of buyers. Isuzu has refreshed its D-Max V-Cross pick-up truck and added several premium features to go well with its lifestyle image. This truck is now available with two engines and transmissions — the lower variants are still powered by the 2.5-litre diesel engine mated to the 5-speed manual, while there’s an all-new range-topping Z Prestige variant which gets an all-new 1.9-litre diesel engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, and that’s the variant reviewed here.

The Isuzu V-Cross is a typical ladder-frame pick-up truck that’s equipped with four-wheel drive. This massive truck towers over regular hatchbacks and sedans, and is even longer than a Mercedes S-class. With this facelift, it gets new bi-beam LED headlamps with DRLs, a massive chrome grille, and chrome inserts around the fog lamps.

This Isuzu now sits on large 18-inch alloys, and other new bits include a side-step and a shark-fin antenna. The tail-lamps get LED elements, and the rear sports several badges, massive ‘ISUZU’ lettering, and a chunky chrome bumper. As before, the cargo area remains uncovered and has a load-carrying capacity of 235kg.

On the inside is where most changes are — it gets an all-black theme, which goes well with its outdoorsy character, and there are many premium touches like some soft-touch bits on the dashboard fascia and over the hood of the instrument cluster. The large and comfy seats now wear new brown leatherette upholstery, which feels nice, and the driver’s seat also gets electric adjustment. Getting into the rear (like the front) is a bit of a trek, but, once in, you realise the space here is generous. The seat is low-set and backrest a bit upright, still, passengers will be quite comfy over long journeys.

The cabin retains its practical design with several storage areas, and all the buttons and switches are large and built to last. There are multiple charging provisions too — three USB slots and two 12V sockets. In terms of equipment, this range-topping Z Prestige variant gets cruise control, six airbags, ESP, traction control, hill-descent control, hill-start assist, reverse camera, a new MID, keyless entry and go, among other features.

The talking point of the V-Cross automatic is its new 150hp, 1,898cc, four-cylinder diesel engine, which makes 16hp more than the larger 2.5-litre diesel available in the lower variants. Curiously, this new 1.9-litre engine is only BS-IV compliant. Buyers will appreciate the fact that the core characteristic of this engine is very similar to the bigger capacity unit, and it feels smoother now. The bottom-end is almost as nice as the 2.5’s, and once the turbo is at full boost around 2,000rpm, performance feels strong and it remains so until about 3,000rpm, after which power begins to taper. It is this strong mid-range that makes the V-Cross an effortless cruiser. This 1.9-tonne truck sprints from 0-100kph in a respectable 13.22sec.

Mated to this engine is an all-new 6-speed automatic (torque converter), which brings some much-needed convenience while around. It works well and does its job smoothly, but put your foot down, and there is quite a pause before downshifting. What’s nice is that there’s a manual mode, and those who take it off the road will appreciate the fact that it holds on to gears in this mode — it will only downshift automatically if the revs fall too low. This motor is quite refined, but it does get clattery when under load, and from there on there’s no hiding from the fact that there’s a big diesel mill under the bonnet.

The V-Cross rides on massive 255/60 tyres, which iron out road imperfections and smaller potholes, and despite riding on 18-inch wheels, it filters road shocks from larger bumps well. The V-Cross is typically rear-wheel drive; however, it gets a 4-high and a 4-low mode to tackle some tricky situations, and reach places where few SUVs can. In terms of ride quality, there’s plenty of movement in the cabin at all speeds, and it feels rather bouncy, especially at the rear, particularly when the cargo bed isn’t loaded up. Its steering feels heavy at low speeds and, because of its large turning circle, it is a bit ponderous to drive. On the flip side, this heft infuses confidence in the driver at highway speeds.

The V-Cross is a tough four-wheel-drive vehicle that ranks high when it comes to utility and capability. The automatic transmission and other parking aids have made it a lot easier to live with than before. Still as a daily driver, the V-Cross isn’t ideal due to its massive dimensions, heavy steering, and large turning circle. At ₹19.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), this truck is too expensive. What you get for this price are several premium yet usable features, a four-wheel-drive system and the convenience of an automatic transmission, and if it is sheer road presence you seek, there’s simply nothing that comes close to the V-Cross.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 7:14:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/isuzu-d-max-v-cross-gets-an-update/article30026060.ece

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