Unveiling the all-new ISUZU D-MAX X-RIDER – Where Style Meets Substance

Itumeleng Garebatshabe
By Itumeleng Garebatshabe 323 Views 8 Min Read
8 Min Read

ISUZU Motors South Africa is launching the all-new D-MAX X-RIDER – the latest iteration of the exciting X-RIDER series that has been exceptionally popular with South African customers since it debuted in 2016.

Based on the latest seventh-generation D-MAX range, which is produced at ISUZU’s Struandale plant in Gqeberha, the all-new X-RIDER once again embodies the stand-out character, bold design and distinctive features that have made this unique model revered amongst pickup, or bakkie, owners in South Africa.

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The X-RIDER debuted in ISUZU’s D-MAX range as a limited-edition special-value model in 2016, and gained instant popularity. A year later, it was integrated into the standard line-up and has remained a top choice for bakkie enthusiasts wanting a capable vehicle that stands out from the crowd. The original X-RIDER was celebrated for its distinctive design elements and upscale features, and the all-new X-RIDER takes this legacy to new heights.

“The new D-MAX X-RIDER is all about image, style and capability, and is a great choice for discerning customers that want something special,” says Kevin Fouche, Department Executive: Product Planning and Programme Management at ISUZU Motors South Africa. “The X-RIDER will attract a lot of attention, but to offer value to our customer the new X-RIDER is based on the mid-range 1.9 Ddi LS models with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions in 4×2 form, and a 4×4 automatic for adventurous customers heading off the beaten track.”

Eye-catching exterior

The all-new D-MAX X-RIDER is a head-turner and will appeal to customers wanting something different from the norm. Its assertive character is clearly evident from the front with the sleek black gloss grille once again adorned with bold red ‘ISUZU’ lettering, which continues the distinctive theme that was started with the original X-RIDER model.

X-RIDER badges are featured on both front doors and the tailgate to reinforce its exclusive status, complemented by a black ISUZU tailgate decal. LED headlamps, LED fog lamps and LED taillamps enhance the upmarket appearance while ensuring optimal visibility, day or night.

Stylish black accents on the door handles, B-pillars, side-mirror covers, tailgate handle and curved sports bar behind the cab emphasize the X-RIDER’s dynamic aesthetics. In addition to enhancing the overall silhouette, the dark grey roof rails serve a practical purpose, accommodating roof racks if needed.

Sophisticated 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, featuring red ‘ISUZU’ lettering on black centre caps, provide a stylish yet grounding element to the rugged posture. A towbar is included as standard, with a 2.1-ton tow rating.

In keeping with its special status, the D-MAX X-RIDER is available in four striking colours, comprising Splash White, Mercury Silver (from April 2024), Red Spinel and Islay Gray.

The inner sanctum

Subtle red accents throughout the cabin emphasise the X-RIDER’s unique personality. The leather seats are given sporty flair with red contrast stitching and embroidered red ‘X’ logos on the headrests, the bold interior is finished off with PVC leather door trims with red stitching.

A striking red divider resplendent with the ‘X’ logo is positioned between the glove compartment and dashboard, further lifting the dynamic ambience, complemented by a leather-wrapped, red-stitched steering wheel featuring a red ISUZU badge.

Additional red accents, such as elements in the door materials, red stitching on gearshift boot and the park-brake sheath all contribute to a cohesive design that underscores the vehicle’s distinctiveness.

Setting it apart from other D-MAX models, the cabin features dark interior surfaces and a dark headliner, with unique X-RIDER floor mats completing the exclusive look.

The power within

Fuel efficiency is a hallmark of the D-MAX range, and particularly when it comes to ISUZU’s frugal 1.9-litre Ddi engine that’s a cornerstone of the seventh-generation model. This four-cylinder common-rail diesel engine received wide recognition earlier this year in ISUZU’s One Tank Challenge, achieving a remarkable fuel economy figure of 5.58 litres per 100 km over 1 452 km of varied terrain. The intercooled turbodiesel unit delivers a maximum 110 kW of power at 3 600 r/min and peak torque of 350 Nm from 1 800 to 2 600 r/min.

Power from the 1.9 Ddi engine is dispatched to the wheels through two transmission options: a six-speed manual, known for its precise and direct gear shifts, ensuring effortless gear selection; and a six-speed automatic, finely tuned for swift gear changes and enhanced fuel efficiency. Customers have the option of the manual or automatic transmissions on the 4×2 version, while the 4×4 model is equipped with the six-speed automatic as standard.

The X-RIDER’s performance is in sync with its rugged aesthetics. It maintains the same standards as the rest of the current D-MAX range, offering a maximum wading depth of 800 mm, improved underbody protection, enhanced aerodynamics for better airflow and cooling, and, on the 4×4 model, a quick-engaging shift-on-the-fly 4×4 drive system.

The X-RIDER incorporates an impressive set of standard safety features, including driver and front passenger airbags, front side airbags, curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.

Active safety features available to the driver include ABS brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control, Hill Start Assist (HSA), Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Trailer Sway Control.

Model line-up

The X-RIDER range consists of three models, all in LS trim grade and available only in double-cab configuration. The 1.9 Ddi D/Cab HR X-RIDER LS features a six-speed manual transmission, while the HR X-RIDER LS AT and 4×4 X-RIDER LS AT come equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission.

All come standard with cruise control, a seven-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a six-speaker audio system, Wi-Fi compatibility and a rear USB port. Additionally, rear park assist and a rear-view camera are included as standard features.

The new X-RIDER retains its focus on the same target audience as its predecessor: customers wanting a double cab with distinctive looks, heightened refinement, notable safety and comfort features, as well as unwavering performance and reliability. While style and image hold significance, accessibility is a top priority, and it’s here where the X-RIDER excels.

The development of the all-new D-MAX X-RIDER formed part of ISUZU’s substantial R1.2-billion investment in the company’s Struandale operations to produce the seventh-generation D-MAX range.

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Itumeleng is the Managing Editor of The Auto Magazine. He is a tech and car enthusiast