D-Max: Ready for any adventure


My definition of adventure is driving to a place 400 kilometers away from Manila, during a heavy downpour, and at some point traversing steep and muddy paths while thinking about the breathtaking views of mountains and pine trees that would soon unfold when the sun starts shining. Or, simply put, going to Sagada while driving the all-new Isuzu D-Max.

It’s a fact that many people love the outdoors and pickup trucks are their vehicle of choice. But with the many pickup trucks available in the market—each boasting of their sturdiness and brand reliability—what could possibly make the buying public pick a particular brand and part with their hard-earned money?

And last July 10, via an invite to Sagada, Mountain Province, Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) showed 14 Motoring reporters why its D-Max pickup should be the public’s top choice. “Since IPC introduced the D-Max in 2003, we have regularly invited the Motoring media to join us in some of the country’s hard-to-reach but exciting destinations. In each of these events, we have proven the toughness and versatility of this pickup and showed how it can be a perfect partner for any outdoor adventure,” said IPC senior vice president Arthur Balmadrid who also joined the three-day event.

Six D-Max pickup trucks were used for the Sagada trip. IPC chose the Banaue route which meant going through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Maharlika Highway and Nueva Vizcaya-Ifugao-Mountain Province Road. “This is more or less a 12-hour trip so participants would surely appreciate the D-Max’s ‘soft ride,’ thanks to its Flex ride MOVE suspension system. It also has a portable AVT navigation system that features a 5.4-inch high-definition touchscreen with multimedia functions and voice-prompt technology which is available in the LX 4×2, LT 4×2 and LT 4×4 variants. Apart from being able to display 2D or 3D renderings of highway structures and landmarks along the way, it could also play your iPod,” enthused Balmadrid.

The D-Max’s ground clearance of 22.5 cm (23.5 cm in the 4×4 edition) could drive through any challenges—like this sinking and very uneven portion of the road near Sagada. PHOTO BY CHARLES E. BUBAN

Sagada is a gorgeous and soul-soothing place. Tourists and adventure-seekers have found a haven in Sagada and not a few city-dwellers vowed to visit the place again despite the long hours of travel one has to endure. But who would ever get enough of Sagada? It has the mysterious Echo Valley where one can find the famous hanging coffins. One can stay at  the tranquil grounds of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church for a little reflection. The different dishes offered in Sagada’s restaurants are superb (until now I can’t forget the delicious dish I had at the Log Cabin). And adventures are limitless at the Kiltipan viewpoint, Bomod-ok Falls, and in the caves of Lumiang and Sumaguing.


The D-Max successfully showed what it is capable of doing on rough and muddy terrain, and on Day 2 of the Sagada event, it was the turn of the Motoring reporters to show what kind of stuff they’re made of. With the help of Frederick Farr and his son Jerich (both mountain-biking experts), the group was able to participate in a mini-mountain bike competition that tested their biking skills and threshold for competition pressure. And though the participants weren’t sure if they dished out a good performance, it was nevertheless a lucky day for them to be with Frederick Farr, the team captain and coach of the Isuzu D-Max Multisport Team, who incidentally is also one of the most accomplished downhill/gravity riders in the country who led the Philippine Cycling Team to a gold-medal finish in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand.

After the mountain-biking competition, Balmadrid reminded the group of the reliability and versatility of the D-Max. “I believe there was no problem in the loading and unloading of your mountain bikes, right? The D-Max’s capability to negotiate tough terrain while carrying people and other gears is just amazing.”


Going back to Manila, the group took the Halsema Highway route where the highest point in the Philippine’s national highway system is located.  PHOTO BY CHARLES E. BUBAN

And for those who want a detailed description of the D-Max’s specifications, Joseph Bautista, IPC’s assistant division head for sales, had this to say: “The D-Max has a 24.26 kpl fuel-efficiency rating, limited slip differential [for 4×4 variants], antilock braking system with electronic brake distribution, airbag, side impact beams, large high mount stop lamp and a reverse sensor and camera. It is perhaps one of the most capable and safest rides in the market. In this particular event, we were able to negotiate the steepest mountain road, uneven terrain while carrying people, mountain bikes and other stuff.” Adding that apart from the LT 4×4 M/T variant, the manual variants of the LX and LT 4×2 are now fitted with a D-Max logo embossed, scratch- and scuff-resistant high-density polyethylene plastic bedliner.

While on the way home, I realized that the Sagada trip taught me two things. One, make sure to invite many of your friends and loved ones and bring lots of stuff (especially your mountain bike) whenever you want to go on long road trips to make your stay a happy, wacky and adventure-filled one. And two, go to your destination in a sturdy, spacious and safe ride like the D-Max, to make your trip a worry-free reality.

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