At the Auto Expo 2016, Isuzu unveiled the all-new D-Max as well as a surprising concept, the V-Cross. Isuzu confirmed that the D-Max V-Cross will roll out in India very soon. It is indeed being launched and will be seen in Isuzu dealerships in a week's time. We got to drive this lifestyle pick-up at Isuzu's all-new 107-acre facility in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. Here are our first impressions.
The V-Cross features aggressive styling but gets a simple and smart face. Projector lamps and chrome detailing add to the styling. The increased ride-height and double-cab design are the highlights. The loading bay is smaller than the single-cab version. It looks a lot more premium and stylishcompared to the existing pick-up trucks like theMahindra Scorpio Getaway and the Tata Xenon. While lifestyle vehicles aren't a common sight in our market, the V-Cross has the potential to attract buyers and start a new trend in the country.Unlike the D-Max that's more a commercial vehicle, the V-Cross getsadditional detailing like roof-rails, alloy wheels and chrome door-handles. Likeits competitors, Isuzu also offers a host of customisation options for the V-Cross pickup.
The interior feels modern and there is also automatic climate control on offer
The Isuzu D-Max V-Cross interior is better built and finishedthan its competition. Its more car-like and the layout is in fact very similar to the Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV. This is becauseIsuzu and Chevroletshare the same platform for the D-Max and Colorado-based vehicles. The V-Cross will be available in only one trim and gets a long list of features for a pick-up. This includes automatic climate control with a pollen filter, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with USB, aux, DVD as well as Bluetoothcompatibility). There's also a 6-way adjustable driver seat, electrically adjustable ORVMs, audio controls on the steering wheel and lots of storage space. The rear seats also getIsofix points as well as a 60:40 split option. However,there are no AC vents for the rear passengers. The front air-vents however do a good job at cooling the cabin.
The regular D-Max can be had with a 78PS/136PS motor while the V-Cross can only be bought in the more powerful guise. The updated 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine produces 320Nm of torque. Theshort drive atIsuzu's temporary test track showcased that the engine has ample of low down pulling power with it being unstressed even when driven at 20kmph in third gear. The engine is also a silent unit compared to its rivals and the sound insulation inside the cabin was impressive. Isuzu's 5-speed gearbox unit offers smooth shifts but the throws are long.Given that the company projects this as a sporty lifestyle offering, the throws could have been shorter.
Ride and handling
While this will definitely be not a verdict on Isuzu's latest, it is an indication of what to expect. Our short drive showed that the power steering wheel is a tad on the heavier side and displays some strong steering kickback. Typical of ladder frame chassis, the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross displays some body-roll but is controlled and not a concern. Ride quality is slightly bumpy but is acceptable considering the size of the vehicle and the fact that the V-Cross feature leaf-springs at the rear.While there was no opportunity to test its off-road skills, Isuzu is offering the V-Cross with 4x4 that can be shifted on the fly by simply turning a knob.
While this is a pre-production model, there is a touchscreen unit in the model that we drove. Driver and passenger airbags are standard
The Isuzu D-Max V-Cross gets standard driver and passengerairbags, ABS, EBD and brake assist as standard. Isuzuclaimsthat the front bumper is impact absorbing and has been designed according to pedestrian safety norms.
Price and availability
TheIsuzu D-Max V-Cross is the company's first non-commercial pickup product, so you don't need a commercial vehicle license to drive one anymore. Isuzu is expected to make the price announcement within a week at the launch.We expect the V-Cross to be priced at an ex-showroom price betweenRs 14-15 lakh. At this price, it does seem more expensive than the rivals but then there's a lot more on offer.
Images by Amit Dwivedi