Isuzu: driving to the top of their game

By Ardie O. Lopez Philippine Daily Inquirer July 25,2018

The Isuzu mu-X SUV and two D-Max pickups delivered astounding mileage for this economy run to La Union.

If there’s an automaker in the industry with a reputation among motoring media for having this penchant for long-distance drives across the country, and holding intensely extensive fuel economy runs, it’d have to be Isuzu.

Hands down, Isuzu remains the byword when it comes to manufacturing the most hardy, reliable, and fuel-efficient diesel engines in the industry.

A solid and steady following especially outside of Metro Manila has always been the brand’s claim to fame. Isuzu—more popular for their commercial line of vehicles—has been the businessman’s ever-dependable partner.

For quite a long while though, Isuzu’s core strength ironically became its waterloo with regard to wooing the more sophisticated and younger segments in the market, which of course make up a significant chunk of any manufacturer’s annual sales target.

Isuzu’s rough n’ tumble go-anywhere image seemed to overshadow what it could otherwise be … until now.

More than a makeover

The flagship nameplates of Isuzu, the mu-X and D-Max, now come in premium edition variants: the mu-X Luxe and D-Max X-Series.

Both have swapped the brand’s “rough around the edges” rep with convincingly stylish and sleek looks that exude tastefully stylish personas.

It’s as if they’ve hired a top notch image consultant, but without losing all the good stuff that Isuzu’s been known for.

The premium mu-X and D-Max are tighter inside-out in terms of design and choice of aesthetic accessories, quality control in the smallest of details are now in check, and actually look and feel more premium to the touch.

The ergonomics of the dashboard controls, the driver’s interface to vehicle controls, entertainment, and comfort, have been brought up a notch to contribute to what seems to have amounted to a brand upgrade.

Acid test in style

Grouped into small teams, we motoring media peeps headed off for the starting point of our fuel economy run, a 248-km drive to La Union.

There was a little contest among the teams, and each participating vehicle was fitted with a black box known as an IDSS unit (Isuzu Diagnostic Service System) that very accurately measured the vehicle’s mileage and fuel consumption, as well as its driver’s every input on the brakes, throttle and shifter.

Although some members of the media were already determined experts at fuel economy runs, there was always room for improvement that the actual data from the IDSS could show at the end of the run.

As expected, the mighty Isuzus delivered astounding mileage. For the D-Max 4×2 LS A/T with the RZ4E engine, it yielded 22.59 kpl of fuel.

On the other hand, the mu-X 4×2 LS-A A/T, also with the RZ4E engine, yielded 23.28 kpl.

These figures are more than impressive due to the fact that these were done on regular expressways, with the air-conditioners on, and following the minimum to average speed posted.

Warm up’s over

So after proving what we had known all along—that Isuzus have some of the most powerful and fuel-efficient pickups and SUVs in the market, we set off for the Thunderbird Resort, where the awarding of winners of the fuel economy run took place, and where some real nice bonding with our gracious and generous hosts followed next.

The drive back to Manila the following day was actually the bigger adventure, as our mighty convoy went head on against torrential rains brought about by inclement weather.

Funny enough, we all welcomed it, secure in the fact that we’d be warm ‘n toasty in the safety of our rides and that our ride can take on almost anything that the monsoons would throw.

After spending a couple of hours more in Manila’s streets crossing a few heavy flooded streets, albeit with ease, I finally got home.

I gave my 4×4 Isuzu D-Max X-Series unit a pat for a job well done before pressing the lock button on its key fob.

Once again, Isuzu’s got it together, and it’s evident that they’re still at the top of their game.

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