As Ford prepares to launch its Ranger Raptor
bakkie in South Africa this month, Isuzu has shown that it might also have
something to excite fans of the brand.
Demand for extravagantly styled and more
off-road capable bakkies show no sign of weakening and Isuzu has responded with
a special edition version of its D-Max double-cab 4×4.
This new derivative is aimed at those who are
committed to off-road adventure driving and enjoy attracting attention in a
vehicle which features some outlandish design elements.
Isuzu’s named it XTR and it adds a lot of black
plastic protective cladding to the conventional D-Max bodyshell. The wheel arch
extensions are detailed with green highlights and those are repeated on the
brake callipers too, which are lime in colour. Rolling the XTR along are
17-inch wheels, shod with Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tyres.
By far the most impressive bit of this XTR’s styling package is its radically remoulded front bumper, which features an integrated bash-guard and bonnet protector. Inside, XTR logos adorn the seats and green hued stitching can be seen on the steering wheel.
Capabilities to match the appearance
Isuzu’s XTR has a notably more aggressive
stance than the brand’s standard D-Max 4x4s, thanks to an off-road specific
suspension upgrade from Australian specialist supplier, Pedders. The new
suspension bits lift XTR’s ground clearance to 250mm, which is 11% higher than
a conventional D-Max and should improve ride quality and traction in
technically demanding off-road terrain.
What is most interesting about Isuzu’s XTR
evolution of the D-Max bakkie, is the engine, which is only 1.9-litres in
capacity. Despite its diminutive size, this turbodiesel does manage to peak
120kW of power and 360Nm of torque. Those numbers might be 10kW and 20Nm shy of
the 3-litre engines most South African Isuzu fans are familiar with in the
D-Max, but it is also much lighter on fuel.
The XTR will initially launch in Europe, with availability
into other markets as the year progresses.