Exterior & Design
:- What Design ? This is a truck no such thing as aesthetics and aerodynamics - this thing weighs 2 tons! It does scream attitude though, nothing on the road matches for its sheer brute presence and hold on we haven't even given it a lift kit yet. Its an absolute head turner everywhere it goes and best part is how some people ask what this is and how they end up pronouncing it . Build quality is phenomenal and smack in the 25-35L territory, paint quality is probably better than the Pajero Sport. Plenty of chrome given already and i didn't opt for any chrome accessories per se - the bed liner is a minimum must have and the dealer threw it in at a discount along with seat covers and some basic matting. The truck is nearly 5.3 metres long - something that puts a entry level tempo traveller to shame! Careful when reversing and negotiating tight areas! Interior
:- The interiors are very nicely laid out and have all the basic functions - well built interiors that would last and will not rattle ! Black and beige to suit the indian taste. Power Windows on the driver side only have a auto down but not an auto up function. However astonishingly it misses out on a Audio head unit as a standard accessory though steering controls are provided - this is a sore miss on a 15L+ vehicle. I had to research for a after market unit which gels well with the steering controls. More on this later.
The AC comes with climate control and is an absolute chiller, the rear only gets foot vents on either sides of the central arm rest - these rear vents will only work with the AC mode in any of foot position. Driver and passenger seats are very comfortable with a commanding view. The rear seats were surprisingly decent for a dual cab - i was expecting this to be a deal breaker initially - but the clever contours done for the door side seats make it adequately comfortable - though people used to luxury will miss the recliner. The centre seat is a bit upright due to arm rest and also the centre hump makes it a tad uncomfortable - but definitely not a deal breaker. Overall the cabin feels extremely airy with plenty of leg space , fit and finish and importantly durability matches a segment above though luxuries are limited. Entry in to the vehicle is especially fun, if you have a grandmother who travels with you regularly make sure you invest in a small custom built lift Suspension/Ride/Handling
:- Well a truck is a truck is a truck afterall, the suspension is built to last , front being double wishbone and rear is leaf - some might debate why leaf, but then remember this is a bare bones truck meant to carry the occasional ton! Plenty of after market options are available to suit different purposes from comfort to loading to overloading to offroading! Practically though the ride is very decent, i have always believed different vehicle show very different suspension characteristics right from a XUV to a Storme to a PS and on different surface type each have a pro or a con ! Finding the right balance for the purpose is the key - the isuzu for that matter does extremely well when laden - it can simply smash potholes and you can rally offroad, its built to take extreme abuse. On tarred road, its smooth as silk, however on our concrete expressways it does tend to be bit bouncy/wobbly especially with no passengers, you can clearly feel the concrete undulations - nothing alarming but thats how it is. Abrupt speed breakers when taken on with speed can bounce the rear, the leaf springs love pot holes but hate bad speed breakers for obvious physics reasons on how torsion works on a curved metal! The front DWB can handle anything thrown at it and so does the rear with some after effects! Handling is surprise factor here - body roll is very well managed, steering is precise, after the pajero any steering feels so light. However as its a very long vehicle and tail is light, be careful as tail can spit and bark in fast or abrupt fast turns. Engine/ Gearbox
:- The engine is a peach given its a Isuzu diesel that's expected, its under tuned for India though - a 2.5 can produce a lot more, but then that gives the tuners and chip makers business a big boost! NVH wise this is one of the best i have seen, at idle you can barely hear the engine inside, put the music system on and you wont realize its a diesel. The engine just feels a tad slow if you are coming from a XUV or a fortuner - the gearbox feels very mushy(especially first to second), but i hear with running in it gets better. The clutch is a show piece, absolutely astonishingly light, it can put some small cars to shame, the pajero clutch is an elephant in comparison. Steering is adequately balanced too not as light as Rexton but at the same time not as heavy as Pajero. The engine is happy to run at 100-120 all day. at 90kmph its just under 2000rpm. The brakes even though rear is drum has adequate stopping power. You have to be in the right gears or the engine can lose steam in a steep incline. City driving is a breeze though thanks to the light clutch - however mind that size. U turns can be fun! 4WD
:- The Isuzu comes with the shift on the fly 4WD, but no centre differential, so you can't drive with 4H on normal roads(unlike the old fortuner or pajero sport) - you can use them on low traction surfaces only, say gravel roads or wet slippery surfaces. 4L is also provided for that extra grunt and crawl power. Too early for me to comment on the effectiveness of the 4WD, but initial impression of the crawl is very good and slow though probably not slow enough for extreme rock crawling - but then you wouldnt use such a long wheel base vehicle for extreme stuff. It engages very easily too. A rear diff locker would have done wonders for this, i wish Isuzu provided the the traction control feature in India - its available abroad and the brake traction control gives it much more capability than the LSD. However nothing can beat a diff lock, wish we had Eaton selling the e locker for the isuzu in India. ARB options are available in India already. Approach angle is very decent, departure angle might not be that great thanks to the long rear, break-over is tricky due to the wheel base. In my books what works for the Isuzu is :-
1) Build quality and ability to take extreme abuse - build quality on par with a segment above.
2) Phenomenal durability and reliability - very well proven pedigreed.
3) Absolute head turner and unmatched road presence.
4) An ideal expedition/adventure vehicle
5) Refined engine for a truck at cruising speeds!
6) Super light clutch and well balanced steering, though steering personally i would prefer it to be more taut
7) Surprisingly comfortable for a dual cab as a 5 seater.
8) Infinite Mod options and for a relatively new car a great set of accessories available in india already! What could have been better :-
1) Traction control should have been provided, UK has a twin turbo version on the same engine which could have been provided as a higher model, right now just one model with 4x4 available as default.
2) Cruise control should have been provided or should have been an option atleast
3) Not even a audio head unit in a 15+ lakh vehicle is not good!
4) Rear diff lock should have been optionally available.
5) Service and Spare availability can be a pain - 6 month/5k service interval is a pain - even though its minor and check up only. EDIT :-
This has now been changed to 10k service interval (irrespective of time) after the first 5k service i.e 5,10,20,30,40...
6) Rear bounciness as its leaf spring needs to be factored in
7) 55 litre Diesel tank is a joke!
8) Stock low end becomes tricky in steep inclines as there is no anti stall, but solved largely through remaps.