Tow Like You've Never Towed Before

WRITTEN BY: David Wilson

Hauling your van, boat or trailer has never been simpler—or safer—than with the new-generation Isuzu D-MAX: the ultimate towing machine.

Never before has towing been as easy as it is with the new-generation D-MAX. The new super-beaut super ute is a cut above everything else in its class thanks to a more refined and powerful turbo-diesel engine—and the highest level of standardised safety and convenience equipment seen in a ute.

The D-MAX has always been a willing performer. Isuzu’s truck heritage is a huge advantage when it comes to durability. The latest iteration of the renowned 3.0-litre engine, 4JJ3-TCX takes diesel refinement to new levels, being both quieter and more powerful. Gorgeous torque oozes from the powertrain: 450Nm-worth and governed by a six-speed auto or manual gearbox, recalibrated in the case of the auto to be a sweet shifter. Accordingly, that 4JJ3 stays ‘in the zone’ at all times. 

The genuine Isuzu towbar for D-MAX now has the capacity to incorporate a genuine weight distribution hitch (WDH) if and when required. Like a young Skywalker, the idea of a WDH is about restoring balance to the force. In short, when you load a van or trailer on the back of a vehicle you want both to be sitting level, ideally with the original mass over the front wheels. That way neither steering nor braking is compromised. The tow package includes an intelligent wiring loom. It’s so smart that it can detect when a trailer plug is inserted and whether you’ve left the hitch in-situ, preventing the rear parking and proximity sensors alerting you to a problem that doesn’t exist. Even better, the genuine article can come with a genuine electric brake controller, so whether you’re lugging a large or a light one, if your tow is braked, you’ll be able to stop it. You can dial up its sensitivity from inside the cab with the controller and I can vouch for its effectiveness.

One of the towing world’s challenges is reversing, but Isuzu has that licked, too. You’ll find ClearView mirrors in the Isuzu accessory range and these beautiful, two-stage extendable mirrors provide a panorama of the world behind. They retain full function for power folding and LED indicators on LS-M, LS-U, LS-U+ and X-TERRAIN models, whilst incorporating the Blind-Spot Monitoring (BSM) alert light. Nifty. BSM is essentially a second pair of eyes in the back of your head, constantly scanning your blind-spot for other motorists. You should, however, disable BSM when towing via the on-board Multi-Information Display in the dash, because some larger trailers may be picked up by the sensors. It’s also worth flicking off the Lane-Keep Systems, such as Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP). Around town these systems can keep your D-MAX safely in the centre of the lane, but when towing you might need a wider turning arc to navigate tighter bends. It can be toggled off via the same process.
When it comes to the driving, say ta-ta to dangerous sway because the D-MAX has Trailer Sway Control (TSC), a function allied to the Anti-Lock Braking system (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). There’s nothing more harrowing than dropping a wheel into the dirt and having the whole load come unstuck as a dangerous weave takes over, potentially taking you off the road and upside down. At the first hint of a death-wobble the D-MAX’s lateral, steering and yaw-rate sensors dive in, tickling the brakes and proportioning torque to the wheels, and all the while talking to the trailer, because if you’ve got an ESC-equipped van you’ll restore safe forward passage even faster.

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