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JOINING the legion of hard-working Isuzu D-Max is a new variant with a 4×2 drivetrain; the new Auto Plus 4×2 1.9L, which is the sole 4×2 offering in its class that comes with an automatic transmission.

With only 28% of Malaysian pick-up truck users frequently engaging their vehicle’s 4×4 system, the 4×2 variant is an ideal variant that offers lower rolling resistance from its less-complex drivetrain, fewer items that require maintenance and a lower kerb weight, making this model a boon for urban-based traders, high-mileage drivers and owners who predominantly ply asphalt surfaces.

By omitting the transfer case, front differential and ancillary drive system, the D-Max Auto Plus 4×2 1.9L tips the scales at 1,830kg, shaving 85kg or the weight of an average adult off the 4×4’s kerb weight.

Based on similar specifications as the D-Max Standard 4×4 1.9L Auto variant, the D-Max Auto Plus 4×2 1.9L is powered by the new 1.9-litre RZ4E-TC engine, that produces 148hp at 3,600rpm, 350Nm of torque available from between 1,800 and 2,600rpm and transmits its power to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Its ratios that are identical to the 4×4 variant and have been carefully matched to exploit the engine’s dynamic performance characteristics. In particular, its flat torque delivery and flexible throttle response offers confident performance be it for cruising on highways or negotiating hilly terrain.

To afford the variant with superior payload capability, the standard suspension rating is specified for the double wishbone set-up up front and three-leaf semi-elliptical springs in the rear.

For further dynamic performance and sure-footedness, the D-Max Auto Plus 4×2 1.9L is endowed with a host of electronic driving aids including anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control system (TCS), hill start assist (HSA), hill descent control (HDC) and brake override system (BOS).

This superior combination of advanced electronic aids and a well-engineered body structure has earned the entire D-Max range with a five-star Asean NCAP safety rating, making it one of the safest pick-up trucks on the market today.

Externally, the D-Max Auto Plus 4×2 1.9L inherits the bold and dynamic looks of the third-generation D-Max double cab.

Its other standard features include a matte grey grille, bi-LED projector headlamps with LED DRLs, inset fog lamps integrated into the flanks of the bumper, 17-inch alloy wheels, 255/65 R17 HT radials, body-coloured door handles, side steps, bed liner, a reverse camera mounted in the tailgate handle, seven-inch multimedia screen inside, four reverse sensors with four-zone graphic display, woven-texture fabric seats that are both hard-wearing and easy to clean, six-way driver’s seat adjustment, Isofix child seat mounts for the rear seats, seatbelts with audible and visual reminder, leather-wrapped steering wheel adjustable for rake and distance, a 4.2-inch colour display with multi-information views in the instrument panel, a 12-volt 120W power socket up front and a USB port each for front and rear users.

In the centre console is a seven-inch, touchscreen multimedia syste, offering a host of connectivity options including USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, MirrorLink, Miracast, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, complemented by six speakers.

The new D-Max Auto Plus 4×2 1.9L, priced at RM100,999.20 (on-the-road, without insurance), will be available for booking immediately with deliveries beginning early next month.

There are five body colour choices – Splash White Solid, Mercury Silver Metallic, Onyx Black Mica, Sapphire Blue Mica and Valencia Orange Metallic.

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