Isuzu D-Max special edition has X-factor
THINGS are about to get X-rated at Isuzu Ute.
The car brand making serious inroads within the Australian market is about to launch a sexed-up version of its hardcore dual cab ute.
Starting from $46,990 drive-away ($2200 more for the automatic), the Isuzu D-Max X-Runner will be limited to 660 units.
Aimed a more metropolitan market, the X-Runner will be available in either black or white colour schemes, and equipped with a tray liner, roll bar, gun-metal grey five-spoke alloys, red badging, red inserts on the seats as well as stitching on the steering wheel, and exterior extras to give a lower looking stance.
The X-Runner is forecast to have greater appeal to a younger audience, with D-Max buyers typically coming from older tradies and grey nomads.
Yet there is nothing old or frail about the Isuzu Ute brand. It's going from strength to strength in the Australian market.
While still maintaining the "Ute" moniker, Isuzu has this year joined the passenger car vehicle realm with the seven-seat MU-X large sports utility vehicle.
After selling more than 10,000 vehicles in 2013, the new MU-X has only started to hit showrooms over the past two months and there are already signs that the marque will surpass this year's target of 15,800 units well ahead of year's end.
And it has been a rapid surge for Isuzu Ute.
First launching in 2008 when fewer than 300 vehicles were sold, Isuzu Ute has been on a steady sales incline over five years.
In the one-tonne ute market, the Isuzu product has gained a foothold in a segment dominated by the Toyota HiLux. With plans to improve the dealer footprint from 89 to 100 this year, with particular focus on filling gaps in mining-strong areas such as Mt Isa and the Pilbara in WA, Isuzu Ute has a focus on maintaining the sales trajectory.
Having a five-star safety rating is vital for success in the mining realm but there are a range of other factors, including on-site servicing technicalities, which have to be addressed before Isuzus will be commonplace in Australian mines.
Assistant general manager of Isuzu Ute marketing Dave Harding described the growth as a "fast moving train" and after moving to a bigger office in Brisbane last year, it's already nearing capacity.
There were 20 employees when the marque launched in 2008 and that figure will grow to 70 by the end of 2014.
You can also expect to see more of the brand out and about. While maintaining support of the Team D-Max precision driving team, Isuzu will also be active at about 90 major events this year.
Model: Isuzu D-Max X-Runner.
Special features: Grey alloy wheels and side steps, front and rear body kit, black sports bar and tub liner. While the interior receives red and black two-tone seat trim, red contrast steering wheel stitching and a high-gloss piano black dash trim.
Engine: 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 130kW @ 3600rpm and peak torque of 380Nm @ 1800-2800rpm.
Bottom line: From $46,990 drive-away (manual).