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Can the Isuzu D-Max 2020 fight Ford? New ute benchmarked against Ranger and Toyota HiLux

More Isuzu D-Max secrets revealed.

We know already that Isuzu in Australia is targeting the dual-cab top three with its all-new D-Max, but now we know just where that confidence comes from, with the brand's Japanese executives confirming its new ute has been benchmarked against the two best-selling workhorses in the country.

Speaking on the floor of the of the Tokyo Motor Show, Isuzu spokesperson Eiji Mitsuhashi told CarsGuide the all-new D-Max was developed with the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger as the benchmark vehicles, as the brand attempts to out-gun the segment's biggest players. 

"The Toyota HiLux, and also Ford vehicles, were the benchmark for this car," says Eiji Mitsuhashi.

"The D-Max is now also widely demanded as a passenger vehicle use, so we also have to take that into consideration."

To better its chances, Isuzu says the requirements of Australian drivers were front of mind when developing the D-Max, though executives concede no local tuning or testing has been performed. 

They are referring more to safety systems, and the use of the car as a passenger vehicle, with Australia's ute market having long since evolved from providing simple workhorses.

"Australia is one of the advanced countries when it comes to things like safety features.  We can say that we took into considerations the demands and requirements for countries like Australia," Mr Mitsuhashi said through an interpreter.

While International cars get keyless entry, push-button start, voice recognition, auto headlights, dual-zone climate and front and rear parking sensors, it's thought Australia's focus on safety has seen things like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, round-body parking sensors, hill start assist and hill descent control to the standard safety kit.

It's understood AEB will also arrive as standard on Australian cars, with Isuzu in Australia targeting a five-star ANCAP safety rating

The new D-Max marks the ute's first full update in eight years. with a power boost, a tech overhaul and a new look chief among the changes. And the brand in Australia is hopeful those changes will elevate the D-Max onto the country's best-seller podium."At the moment we’re the fifth best-selling vehicle in the segment, and we are continually looking to improve on that," a company representative told CarsGuide.

The new D-Max has been launched in Thailand, but is though to be at least 12 months away from an Australian debut. It's understood the D-Max's 3.0-litre diesel will be the only engine offered localy, only now with a power boost to 140kW and 450Nm.