Review: ISUZU D-max V-cross

Well here it is, the big bad boy from Isuzu model range, ISUZU D-max V-cross and we share our views on the beast.

Exterior looks of the vehicle give a heavy and bulky character, which in turn makes it an attention seeker and definitely a head turner.

EXTERIOR SHOTS.

The side look of ISUZU D-max V-cross gives the idea about the overall length of the car and how bulky and monstrous it is, as compared to other small cars. Those huge fender curves and wheel arches to accommodate the bigger size tyres enhance the overall look.
Don’t forget to look for that huge ground clearance, 225mm in this case.


The front view is identical to other ISUZU models, with that big ISUZU logo and chrome grille. Bumper has large air vents for better airflow. Headlights have an aero design with black reflector bezels to give some contrast to the overall look. The hood is missing the air scoop like it was on the earlier D-Max model. Fog lamps are positioned well and give an adequate throw in the dark.

The back is wide and simple, with those long taillights in the corners giving it some character. The chrome handlebar to open the lid of the truck is positioned in the center to give a symmetric look. The rear bumper is made of metal and it is sturdy and does the job well. Notice the HMSL positioned over the cabin, fairly visible from a distance.
The trunk is huge and it can easily accommodate small bikes or cycles. The ‘Best Liner’ protective layers make it more durable. The lid is supported by two traditional hinge joints and work well. After opening the lid, the overall length increases and makes it agiler to drive in city traffic. The rear windshield gives optimal view to the driver and comes with a rear defogger.
The underbelly of the V-Cross exposes the tough chassis built to take the abuse of off-roading. The spare wheel is steel rim, not an alloy with a full-size tyre. The exhaust tip is exposed on the right side. The leaf spring suspension is also visible from this angle.

This pickup truck has definitely got some character to its looks. Look at those beautifully designed wheel fenders. Notice the side view mirror which also gets chrome finishing and has turn indicators at its corners. This is my favorite angle to see this pickup.

INTERIOR SHOTS.

No fancy start button in this truck, just a simple ignition switch. Not even an illuminating ring around the key hole for the convenience in the dark.

Switches for adjustment of ORVM, The placement of headlight level makes it easy to operate.

The speedometer is simple and the needles are backlit, and they dim out giving fade effect when the vehicle is switched off.
Different modes in the MID display different parameters like Range, Average speed, Elapsed time, Trip modes, Different mode select, Temperature, Fuel level, Oil temperature, Time and other basic things.
The drive select lever is placed near the handbrake and has an aluminum finish to give that premium feel. There are three drive modes in ISUZU, unlike other SUVs where they have four modes.

The gear lever has the same aluminum finish as the drive mode select lever. Please note that there are only 5 gears, with short gear ratio the drivability in the city is now easy.

The different type of warning lights displayed, with that ISUZU logo in the MID when the key is positioned to ON.

The steering mounted audio controls are big enough to be operated easily. The volume button has the same aluminum finish and feels premium to operate, and it gives click sound when pressed either side.

The climate control unit is placed in the center of the dashboard and has some chrome accents to give a premium look. The small LCD display shows the fan speed, temperature and vent throw mode.
Auto climate control works well and makes the cabin cool in no time, all the buttons are backlit and feel premium in quality when pressed.

The AC vents are placed horizontally, the hazard light button is placed above the audio head unit and can be reached easily.
Surprisingly there is no OEM audio unit provided by the company, one has to look out for aftermarket options.

Interior cabin lights placed at angles to focus on passenger and driver side, along with sunglass holder placed right below.
The handbrake has not been given the aluminum finish the like drive mode selector gear knob has, instead it feels good to hold and the button also works perfectly without any rattling or movement.
Rear seats are fixed and can’t be reclined for the comfort of the rear passengers, but a center armrest has been provided to make the ride comfortable.

The beige interior of the car definitely looks eye candy, but it is more prone to get dirty and greasy. The beige interior looks good when kept with care.

The beige interior is definitely not a good option in an off-roading vehicle, as it gets dirty very easily and deep stains are hard to clean.

Rear legroom is decent for a pickup truck, it can easily accommodate a 6ft person on rear seats with ample space to stretch the legs.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The ISUZU D-max V-Cross is powered by same BS-IV, 2.5L diesel engine as the D-Max and uses a variable geometry turbo. It gives a power output of 134 BHP (@3600 rpm) & 320NM torque (@1800-2800rpm). Because of the heavy kerb weight of 1,905 kilos, the power to weight (70BHP/ ton) & torque to weight ratio (168nm/ ton) of V-Cross is poorer than the old D-Max.
However, these power outputs are better than the Scorpio, somewhat comparable to Safari Storme, and lower than the XUV500.
The ISUZU D-max V-Cross is comfortable on the open road. The engine feels powerful once the turbo kicks in and pulls strongly. The 2.5L engine gives the best output in the 2,000 – 3,000 rpm range and you can easily maintain pace in the fast lane of the expressway. I must mention again that performance is adequate, but it’ll be left in the dust by SUVs like the Safari Varicor 400, XUV500 & Fortuner. The mid-range is punchy enough and anyone tailgating you is in for a surprise! Just press the accelerator and watch him get smaller in the rearview mirror. There is sufficient power at your end to overtake slower moving traffic. It’s only when you need to overtake very quickly or on steep inclines that you’ll feel the need to downshift. While the engine revs to 4,500 rpm, which is the start of the redline, it’s clearly not happy to see the higher end of the tachometer. When revved hard (over 3,500 rpm), the 2.5L diesel starts sounding harsh & strained. No point taking the rpm too high. Long-distance cruisability is competent. 100 km/h comes in at 2,100 rpm in 5th, while 120 km/h is seen at 2,500 rpm.
Noise levels inside the cabin are well-controlled. The engine starts with a typical diesel clatter, which is audible in the cabin. Once the motor warms up, the noise is lesser. With the window up and air-con running, engine noise won’t bother you, but it is audible. A little road noise is heard at speeds in excess of 80 km/h, this noise increases as the speedometer climbs. Wind noise can be heard in the cabin only after 110 km/h.
RIDE QUALITY AND HANDLING
ISUZU D-max V-Cross comes with an independent double wishbone suspension with coil springs at the front and leaf springs at the rear. The V-Cross’ ride is far from great. Things are still okay at the front, but on the back seat, it has that typical bumpiness experienced in UVs with leaf springs. At city speeds, the ride is wiggly, with even small road irregularities making themselves felt inside the cabin. At higher speeds, the bumpiness increases. On bad patches, the ride can get painful for those sitting on the rear seat. It can get bumpy on bad roads. There is simply no comparison with the ride comfort offered by same-price SUVs like the Safari & XUV500. This suspension is built to carry cargo, not passengers. You could improve comfort levels by adding weight to the loading bay. Just throw in a couple of sandbags and things should noticeably improve (weight will bring a performance + efficiency decrease, though). What’s nice about the suspension is its quietness. This is genuinely one of the most silent suspensions I have experienced. The large tyres allow the vehicle to tackle large potholes easily and that 225 mm of ground clearance ensures that you don’t scrape the undercarriage anywhere.
High-speed stability is strong thanks to those wide 245mm tyres. However, when it comes to cornering, there is a lot of body roll, which is expected from a tall body-on-frame vehicle. What regular drivers won’t like is the steering. It’s a hydraulic unit that feels heavy at parking & slow speeds. Due to this, the steering requires a fair deal of effort to operate in crowded city areas. Of course, as the speedometer climbs, things get easy. Still, those used to the super light EPS of modern cars won’t be able to live with such a heavy unit. On the open road, the steering offers sufficient weight. That helps the feeling of stability as well.
In the braking department, the V-Cross performs decently. Like the other UVs, you get discs at the front and drums at the rear. While they have enough power to bring the truck to a standstill from high speeds, I would have liked to see discs at the rear (considering the price of the vehicle). Unlike the old D-Max which ran on 215 section tyres, the V-Cross gets 245s which aid overall braking performance. ABS, EBD and Brake Assist are a part of standard equipment. Creating an emergency braking situation, I pressed hard on the pedal at 100 km/h and the vehicle had no trouble stopping in a straight line.

WHAT IT PACKS
• Big bulky looks. Strong road presence & definitely a head turner
• Robust build quality. Among the best pickup trucks in India
• Big 2.5L diesel engine
• Practical 4X4 with low power transfer system
• Ground clearance = 225mm
• Good cargo space for that extra load
• Accommodates 5 adults with ease. Plenty of rear legroom
• Well priced for overall package

WHAT IT LACKS
• Overall length is big for a pickup truck. Heavy feel in steering with large 6.3m turning radius
• Isuzu’s small dealership and after sales network in India
• Very frequent service interval. Every 5000kms and lot of dealer visits
• Bumpy ride. Leaf springs make it more bumpy at rear
• Heavy kerb weight & long wheelbase limits off-road capability
• No audio system considering a 14-15 lakhs car

AFTER SALES AND SERVICES
• Standard warranty of 3 years / 100,000 km.
• Service interval of merely 5,000 km is shocking! So inconvenient. An owner with high running will have to visit the workshop every 2 – 3 months.
• Oil change interval is 20,000 km. Indian road conditions are hot and dusty and with all these factors engine oil won’t survive that long.
• We will suggest changing engine oil at every 10,000kms if you care about your engine’s life and performance.
• Fuel tank capacity – 55 liters. In such a big truck, we’d have expected at least 65 liters of capacity.
• ARAI fuel efficiency rating is 12.4 km/l.
• Available in 5 colors [Orchid, Cosmic Black (our review vehicle), Titanium Silver, Obsidian Grey and Splash White]. Of all the colors, only white makes it look like a commercial vehicle.

VERDICT
There is a clear difference in positioning of the D-Max and V-Cross. The D-Max was priced lower than its competitors, whereas the V-Cross is priced the highest! Unlike the D-Max, which a lot of commercial owners bought, the V-Cross targets the more premium segment. For a pickup truck, ISUZU D-max V-Cross has generated a phenomenal amount of interest among the people.
Before buying a pickup, please think it through properly. Living with a pickup isn’t the same as an SUV. There is a fair share of disadvantages, Pickups are a different breed, but it’ll be relatively easier to convince your family as the V-Cross doesn’t look like a ‘goods carrier’ although it has a better fit, finish and quality than the Xenon & Getaway.
It is definitely a better option to go for if one is considering buying a pickup, but considering the price which is on a higher side, ISUZU should have given a more premium product.

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