If you take a look at the rather varied landscapes and terrains that Australia has to offer, it should be no surprise that pickup trucks - or utes, as they are known over there - are a fairly huge market. Even models like the Ford Ranger Raptor were largely developed in conjunction with Australian tastes and expectations. But one company that hasn't quite pandered to the demand for an "expensive" pickup truck is Isuzu, which has stuck to their guns in building reliable workhorses.
That is, until now. The Concept X may be a concept for now, but depending on how consumers receive it, it could very well be a Ranger Wildtrak or top-spec Hilux competitor. The vehicle itself was built by EMG Pty Ltd, a company that runs the Isuzu D-Max precision driving team, and independently of Isuzu Ute Australia. Unveiled at the National 4x4 Outdoors Show, Fishing and Boating Expo in Melbourne, the concept was put out to both gain interest and attention from the crowd and to gauge demand.
The concept vehicles are based on the existing D-Max and MU-X models, with 7-inch lift kits and 38x5.5R20 Toyo Open Country Mud Terrain tyres at each corner. With the wider track and higher body, a lot of the bodywork has been changed to keep the wheels and tyres within the body, including new bumpers and beefier fenders. The brakes have also been improved with 6-piston pieces up front and 4-piston pieces at the rear. The powertrain, however, has remained unchanged.
The current Australian Isuzu D-Max line-up tops out at $54,700 (RM 164,398.12) before on-roads for the 4x4 automatic LS-T Crew, which sits in between the Ranger Wildtrak and top-spec Hilux in terms of pricing. While IUA is interested in such a program, they are also wary of alienating their existing customer base who are used to regarding Isuzu as a brand for reliable workhorses. In order to make such a high-end product exist, IUA would need to include a number of premium features and change the overall characteristics of the pickup, which isn't something that they feel would appeal to their customers.