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Images of what appears to be the third-generation Isuzu D-Max have surfaced, with the pick-up truck here photographed running road tests in Europe. The development unit seen here is clad in some camouflage, though the shape of most of the extended cab body is visible. Its headlamps and tail lamps appear similar to those on the current model, with the front bumper likely to receive the most apparent changes.
The forthcoming D-Max will be powered by the RZ4E-TC 1.9 litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine for European markets, with other markets to continue receiving the 4JJ1-TCX 3.0 litre four-pot turbodiesel, though to be updated with variable geometry turbocharging. The current version of the 3.0 litre has been available in the Malaysian market in various D-Max trim variants, and the newer 1.9 litre made its debut in the 2nd-generation D-Max facelift towards the end of 2015.
The 1.9 litre unit in the current D-Max produces 150 hp at 3,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,800 rpm to 2,600 rpm, with a choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission for the downsized diesel unit. The current 3.0 litre turbodiesel produces 177 hp at 3,600 rpm and 380 Nm of torque from 1,800 rpm to 2,600 rpm, sent via either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic; both engine variants have been available with four-wheel drive and low range.
The full-model redesign is expected to bring an updated set of safety and driver assistance systems; the Malaysian-market D-Max is equipped with dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill-start assist and ISOFIX rear child seat anchors.
This forthcoming generation of the Isuzu D-Max will spawn a new platform sibling for the next-generation Mazda BT-50, which will depart from platform sharing with the T6 Ford Ranger, Mazda revealed at a business presentation in 2016. As such, the move will also see the next BT-50 move away from assembly at the AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) plant in Rayong, and instead to be made at an Isuzu facility in Thailand.
The all-new Isuzu D-Max is expected to make its debut in 2020, with the next Mazda BT-50 to follow suit after the third-generation D-Max has been launched.