Isuzu D-Max vs Toyota Hilux: Who will win the pickup fight?
Pickups are as essential in our markets as oxygen. Perhaps we exaggerated a bit about the oxygen bit. However, there is no running away from the fact that we all love our pickups. They come in handy when you need to carry a lot of stuff around, give a lofty driving position, are reliable, and most of all stylish too. While they may be a bit too big for some streets or garages, that’s a one-off. So, enter two stalwarts who have been in this game for time immemorial - Isuzu D-Max and the Toyota Hilux. Out of these two, the Hilux has the most versatile platform or let’s say Toyota has milked it for its worth. This platform spawns the Innova MPV, Fortuner SUV, and the Hilux pickup.
In contrast, the Isuzu only has the mu-X SUV as well as the D-Max pickup. There is also the lifestyle vehicle, the V-Cross in other parts of the world. But it is largely the pickup variant. So, which one of the Hilux and D-Max should you choose?
Looks a necessity given that you’re buying a pickup. That “get out of the path” attitude seems to go with an aggressive face. Both are equally adept at doing this job. The Toyota Hilux has a frown up its face that says it isn’t too happy with others crossing its path. The Isuzu D-Max in the meanwhile tells other road users that it means business. Both hosts LED projector headlights while the Isuzu also gets LED tail lights as well. If the dimensions of the vehicle interest you, then you should be impressed by the Toyota Hilux specs. It measures 5,335 x 1,855 x 1,815 mm in length, width and height respectively. In contrast, the Isuzu D-Max measures 5,295 x 1860 x 1,795 mm for the same dimensions. If you look at the wheel size, then the Isuzu has 18-inche while the Toyota gets 17 as standard with an option to upgrade to size 18.
Not really. Both the vehicles have evolved with time, and while the Toyota Hilux doesn’t get the same benevolence as its more costly cousin, the Isuzu more or less is similar to the mu-X inside. This means one can opt for a touchscreen infotainment system that is AUX, USB as well as MP3 compatible. Navigation is also provided. There is also automatic climate control, and Isuzu will be happy to provide you with a video screen should you need one. The seats are done in leather with the driver getting a 6-way power adjustable option. Push button start and door request sensors too are given.
A sneak peek at the Toyota’s spec sheet says that it isn’t as badly specced either. There is a manually adjustable driver's seat, auto climate control, 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system as well as auto headlights.
As far as comfort goes, both can seat five without any crunch, but as per the D-Max specifications, it has less seating comfort. Build quality is nearly the same with the Isuzu having an absolute upper hand in proportion with the body panels.
Engines and transmission
Toyota offers the Hilux with a choice of two engines. The smaller 2.4-litre turbodiesel units pump out 147 PS and 400 Nm. One can option this engine with 5-, 6-speed manuals and automatic transmissions.
There is also the slightly detuned version of the same engine that brings in 343 Nm of torque when it comes to the base trims. As far as the bigger motor is concerned, it measures 2,800cc in capacity and the power output is 174 PS. Again, depending on the trim selected, Toyota offers 420 Nm of torque or 450 Nm. This engine can be optioned with a 6-speed manual or automatic. The bigger motor, irrespective of the transmission or torque, will give one the option of 4 wheel drive. The smaller engine only has one trim that comes with 4x4.
If you look at the Isuzu D-Max specs, then you will realise that there is a lone 3.0-litre engine that offers 177 PS of power and 380 Nm of torque. The torque as is apparent, are far lower than what even the 2.4-litre engine of the Hilux offers. Isuzu will give customers the option to choose between 5-speed manual or automatic transmissions. 2-wheel, as well as 4x4 options, are available as well. The difference here is that the Isuzu has rotary dials in the cabin and the Toyota has a proper manual lever.
The Toyota engines sound gruff whereas the Isuzu unit is a very smooth operator. While the Toyota is good at lugging speeds, the Isuzu is better at higher rpm.
Chassis, suspension, and brakes
If you were looking at a pickup, it is obvious that it will be a ladder frame unit. The leaf springs and MacPhersons at the back and front respectively comprise the suspension components for both vehicles here. Both the manufacturers offer ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear. Power assisted steering wheel too is common to the pickups here. Ground clearance of 235 mm vs 215 mm for the Isuzu and Hilux respectively shows that the D-Max has got the better view.
Variants and price
If you go for the Isuzu D-Max, you’re in for less confusion. There are only four trims on offer - LS 4x2 MT, LS 4x2 AT, LS 4x4 MT, LS 4x4 AT. Isuzu D-max price starts from Php 1,360,000.
As far as the Toyota pickup is concerned, the number of variants runs into 12 and the Hilux price starts from Php 924,000 going up to Php 1,491,000.
As much as we tell you that the Hilux is the better car overall, there is no issues with you choosing the D-Max either. It is just that the Hilux does things better and has that Toyota badge on the nose. That seals the deal, doesn’t it?