Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Could a hardcore Isuzu D-Max take on the Ford Ranger Raptor? Brand officially monitoring market after Mazda confirmed "special" BT-50 is coming soon

Isuzu monitoring the market for hardcore D-Max variant

Isuzu is yet to rule out launching a flagship D-Max variant to take on vehicles like the Ford Ranger Raptor and upcoming Toyota GR HiLux, with the brand telling CarsGuide it's "monitoring the market".

Isuzu will soon be among the few mainstream ute brands without a special-edition flagship in Australia - whether one developed locally or overseas - with the Volkswagen Amarok, Nissan Navara, Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and - coming soon - the Mazda BT-50, all offering flagship models.

The news comes just days after Mazda confirmed it was working on "something special" for its own BT-50 - for which the D-Max is the donor vehicle.

And Isuzu isn't ruling out something similar for the D-Max, telling CarsGuide: "We are unable to comment on future model plans, but we will continue to monitor the market and consumer habits to best meet the needs of our customers.

As is stands, the D-Max X-Terrain 4X4 is the flagship in Isuzu's range, with the $62,900 ute packing the brand's 3.0-litre turbo-diesel good for 140kW and 450Nm.

And, initially at least, it seemed like Isuzu wouldn't walk the more hardcore Raptor path, telling CarsGuide ahead of the vehicle's launch that "This new D-Max (will be) close to Raptor in terms of toughness or off-road capability."

We do know that the D-Max's Mazda twin will offer a flagship variant in the near future, with development thought to be led in Australia.

While we don't expect an engine output increase - it is, after all, Isuzu's engine - we are expecting a visually more striking ute, and one that could include locally tuned suspension and off-road rubber.

"We’re also working on something special for BT-50 in the near future, but today is not the day to discuss those details, so please stayed tuned,” Mazda Australia managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, told CarsGuide this week.