We’ve been behind the wheel of Isuzu’s new, updated MU-X and D-Max for a first look and drive of the new MY18 year model. The new MY18 D-MAX & MU-X models have a few additions over their MY17 counterparts, which, according to the folks at Isuzu have come from Australian feedback received across the range.

Colours

The most aesthetically noticeable addition has been the paint – With the addition of a deep “Magnetic Red”, “Cobalt Blue” and “Graphite Grey” being made available across the whole D-MAX range. The MU-X has received only the Magnetic Red colour at this stage. The colours are quite a big change, offering a more refined look to the humble Isuzus.

Top of the Range

The LS-T model has been added to the D-MAX line-up. It will now be included as a permanent addition to the range, whereas the LS-Terrain was a “limited special edition ” in previous model years. The now permanent LS-T adds a new leather interior, 18-inch wheels, roof rails, SatNav, reversing camera, climate control and PESS (Passive Entry and Start System).

Interior upgrades

There have been material upgrades to the interior trim across the LS-M, LS-U & LS-T models, however, for the most part, the interior remains the same. They’ve added chrome handles to the doors, gloss black hard plastic vents and trimming to the doors and dashboard, as well as soft-touch coverings to the glove box, centre console, door trims and steering wheel. Isuzu has also added upgraded USB ports across the entire range, from a standard 1.0A capacity to 2.1A, which will charge smartphones and tablets just that much faster.

Suspension

Possibly the greatest and most noticeable upgrade is to the suspension in the rear of the dual cab D-MAX’s. The cab chassis models retain the proven 5-leaf design, however, all High-Ride Crew Cabs receive a new 3-leaf design. They’ve utilised an increased strength steel with less weight, whilst still retaining payload capacity, and an increase in the GVM across the range by 100 kg. With progressive spring rates, this equates to improved loaded and unloaded ride quality, and indeed better off-road behaviour across wombat holes and rutted tracks.

Safety and Servicing

On the safety front for the 2018 ISUZU D-MAX & MU-X, a rear-view camera and rear bumper are now standard across the whole ute range (optional on the Cab Chassis). A TSC system has also been added as standard on all D-MAX & MU-X models (excluding the low-ride SX manual single cab chassis). The TSC (Trailer Sway Control) system detects and minimises any excess trailer sway, reducing the risk of a jack-knife event with an improperly loaded trailer. The service intervals have also been pushed out to 15,000km (up from the original 10,000km), plus they’ve also included warranty, fixed price servicing and roadside assist for a full 5 years as standard across the range.

Our thoughts

Overall the new 2018 ISUZU D-MAX & MU-X range has quite a few slight upgrades and a rather large one with the suspension change. Driving it you feel a lot more grounded, as opposed to the typical bounce and skip we’ve all come to know and love (read: hate) about any unladen dual cab ute with a decent GVM. All in all, some rather well thought out upgrades that have come from Isuzu listening to the Australian punters and their requirements, instead of just throwing things in from other domestic markets that we Aussies scratch our heads about.