|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#1|
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
The Isuzu D-Max V-Cross is on sale in India at a price of Rs. 12.80 lakhs (ex-Delhi).
What you'll like:
• Macho styling & incredible street presence. Turns heads wherever it goes
• Very solid, very robust. Build quality is the best among pickups in India
• Practical 2.5L diesel engine. Good driveability too
• Proper 4x4 system with low range transfer case. Ground clearance = 225 mm
• Excellent cargo capacity makes it a talented work truck
• User-friendly cabin can easily accommodate 5 adults. Rear legroom is sufficient
• We find the overall package to be well-priced
What you won't:
• Sheer length, heavy steering & 6.3m turning radius make it cumbersome in the city
• Bumpy ride quality, especially at the rear (due to leaf springs)
• Isuzu's wafer-thin dealership network
• Short 5,000 km service interval. Dealer visits will be frequent!
• Heavy kerb weight, long wheelbase & rear overhang limit its offroad credentials
• No audio head-unit in a car costing 14 - 15 lakhs on the road
• The same $$$ can buy you a proper 7-seater SUV
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:36.
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|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#2|
Re: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 16:01.
|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#3|
In India, pickup trucks have not been popular with private owners. Tata Motors and Mahindra have tried their hand at this segment with the Xenon XT and Scorpio Getaway, but neither managed to capture the imagination of private owners, except for a handful of enthusiasts. Basic pickups are popular with commercial owners though.
When Isuzu launched the D-Max in 2014, it generated a lot of interest among BHPians who wanted to own a tough, reliable and stylish lifestyle vehicle. Moderator TSK1979 had a go in one (link to review) and came away impressed. The D-Max was an old design, yet it was better than anything else in the market & had a quick engine too.
Come the 2016 Auto Expo, Isuzu displayed the new D-Max V-Cross which is aimed at the private segment (as well as the private cum commercial user). And yes, the V-Cross can be registered as a private vehicle. Where the D-Max was outdated, the V-Cross is contemporary. This can make it a good choice for enthusiasts, small business owners, rich farmers & land owners.
Isuzu body-on-frame diesels have the same reputation for durability as Toyota body-on-frame diesels do. These are incredibly robust trucks. The company is offering a warranty of 3 years / 1,00,000 km, which incidentally is the same as what Toyota offers on its UVs. Not to forget, Toyota is a minority shareholder in Isuzu.
The V-Cross is manufactured at Isuzu's new factory in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. The company has invested Rs. 3,000 crore in the facility. Production began with a 70% level of localisation.
It may be recalled that the old D-Max was built at Hindustan Motor's plant in Tiruvallur, Chennai. Isuzu has stopped using that facility from January 2016.
BHPian Kedarwalke broke the price of the V-Cross in April 2016 (link to post), even before Isuzu announced it! This pickup is a niche vehicle, but even then, the response seems to have been better than Isuzu's expectations. They've already increased the launch price by 63,000 bucks! The V-Cross is available in just one variant, with nothing above it and nothing below it.
Trivia: The V-Cross shares its platform with the Chevrolet Trailblazer, which we tested in 2015 (link to review).
The build quality is solid and the truck feels like it's built for abuse. There's no contest with the Tata & Mahindra pickups - this Isuzu is generations ahead. The V-Cross feels substantial and the doors, tail-gate & bonnet are all heavy. On the flip side, at 1,905 kg, the V-Cross is way too fat. To put things in perspective, the Fortuner's kerb weight starts below that! Isuzu should've gone on a diet and shaved some kilos off. As we all know, weight takes away performance & efficiency. It's the primary reason why the V-Cross isn't as quick as the D-Max (which has the same engine).
The tough chassis that was on display at the Auto Expo:
The V-Cross has a tall stance like a proper SUV and awesome road presence. Seeing one in the rear view mirror makes other drivers give way immediately:
Unlike the utilitarian D-Max (link to image), the V-Cross gets a proper rear bumper. All that gawdy chrome (around the handle and on the sides) is thankfully optional. Tail-lamps appear to bulge out. Large mudflaps have been provided:
At 5,295 mm, it's damn l-o-n-g...longer than even an Audi A8L! Be sure that you have the required parking space for it (the truck wouldn't fit in my parking spot). B and C-pillars are thick. Styling is clean & butch. Rear overhang is too long though (a problem when 4-wheeling):
While the V-Cross is the longest pickup truck available for private buyers, it is not excessively wide. At 1,860 mm, its width is identical to that of the Tata Xenon XT:
Looks sweet in this angle, no? Very macho. Kerb weight is too heavy at 1,950 kg. That's the primary reason why the cheaper D-Max is quicker:
Headlamp cluster consists of halogen projector headlamps, with the pilot light located in the high beam (closest to the radiator). Turn indicators on top. The blinkers flash once on locking, twice on unlocking. Suffers from terrible headlamp condensation - just refused to go away. Chrome eyelashes are an optional extra:
Large chrome grille with prominent Isuzu branding. Don't miss the chrome lip on the bonnet too:
Front bumper houses a deep air dam with round foglamps on either side:
Strong metal bash plate with a tow hook on both sides . Ground clearance = 225 mm!
Foglamps have a black housing. Fact that they're recessed means lesser chances of damage. Throw is standard-fare:
Small mudflap located ahead of the front wheels:
Bonnet loses the air scoop that was seen on the ol' D-Max (link to image):
One washer on either side with two holes each:
V-Cross badging on both sides. Uniquely, they're on the doors (not fenders):
ORVMs are draped in chrome and have integrated blinkers. Electrically retractable, but no auto-folding on lock / unlock:
And even more chrome on the door handles!!! Seriously excessive. The chrome extension you see is an accessory (mass market will love it). Keyhole only on the driver's side, not the passenger:
6-spoke 16" rims shod with 245/70 tyres appear too small for the wheel wells. Sure is a lot of gap in there. MRF ZVRLs are a terrible choice by Isuzu. We'd recommend an upgrade to better A/T tyres:
Drum brakes at the rear. On a premium pickup truck, I'd have expected to see all-round discs:
Extremely beefy wheel arches give a muscular stance to the V-Cross:
Black side step is very sturdy and feels firmly attached. However…
…it isn't too wide, making it less convenient. Be sure to get a firm grip before putting your weight on it:
Roof rails are chunky & sturdy. Rear portion of the roof is ribbed for structural rigidity. Thin radio antenna sits at the front:
Rough-finish stickering at the start of the rear wheel arches and on the running board. Will protect the paint on bad roads:
4x4 decals on both sides of the loading bay:
HMSL is fixed just above the rear windshield:
Rear windshield is absolutely flat! Gets a useful defogger:
A close look at the tail-lamp cluster. Shockingly, there is no rear foglamp on the V-Cross:
The detailing in the parking lamp:
Large chrome handle with Isuzu branding. Its locking mechanism is connected to the central locking system:
Big Isuzu sticker on the tail gate! Notice the cavity (just above the bumper) to insert the rod for lowering the spare wheel:
More chrome, more Isuzu on the LHS. They must really love their name:
2.5 TD Intercooler stickers on the RHS:
Rear bumper is small but made of metal! When was the last time you saw that in a 2016 car?
Top portion gets a plastic cover:
No reversing camera and no parking sensors either. Trust me, you're going to miss them in such a long vehicle:
Sturdy tailgate? You bet. Can easily take the weight of someone standing on it. You can even stand on the metal bumper without worry (image link):
Gap between the cabin and cargo bay is needed:
Loading bay lining covers the top edges as well as the tail-gate:
The "bed" area gets full lining. Inner dimensions of 1,485 mm x 1,530 mm x 465 mm. It has a payload rating of 265 kg. Intentionally lowered so that the V-Cross can be registered as a private vehicle (if payload kg is more than passenger kg, then commercial registration only). International load rating is 1 ton which it will easily carry. You can be sure that you'll receive a lot of calls from friends looking to haul cargo:
Opening the tailgate increases the length of the vehicle even further! Be sure you have the clearance available:
Isuzu branding on the lining of the loading bay:
A closer look at the lining. Its quality is better than what we've seen on local pickups:
Lining is attached to the loading bay by a couple of bolts in each corner. A metal hook has been provided in each of the rear corners:
4 nifty chrome hooks with...you guessed it...Isuzu branding have been provided:
Tailgate opens flat for easy loading and is lined too. Attached with 4 bolts (neatly concealed by plastic covers). Don't miss the 4 cupholders, making it a useful table on an expedition:
Sturdy, old-fashioned hinges hold the tail gate in place. Lots of exposed bits on the sides. Heavy metal means you have to be careful not to hurt your wrist while opening it:
Slim gap between the loading bay and tail gate. However, only very small items are likely to slip through. This is FYI:
Spare wheel is carried below. The chain is loose, but you won't hear it banging against anything. It's a full-sized tyre on a steel wheel (not alloy). Short exhaust pipe to the right. Notice the leaf springs:
A really cool cut out of the V-Cross from the Auto Expo:
Even the tyre & wheel were cut!
Robust chassis & rear leaf springs are a must for a cargo-carrying workhorse:
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 16:00.
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|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#4|
Interior - Front
The doors are heavy and feel solid. They open and shut in a triple-stage action. As expected in a pickup truck, this isn't a low vehicle and you have to climb up into it. To make things easier, apart from the side step, a grab handle has been provided on the A-pillar. The side step is narrow and, coupled with the vehicle’s height, ingress and egress aren't easy for elderly folk.
On the inside, the V-Cross has a beige + black colour scheme. The pillars and roof liner are whitish grey, and the large glass area ensures that a healthy amount of light comes into the cabin. Additionally, the cabin is wide and front seat occupants won't feel too close to each other. No one will get claustrophobic in this truck’s cabin. On the flip side, the light colours are a poor choice for a 4x4 utility truck and the interiors are sure to get soiled easily when you go out trucking.
The dashboard is almost identical to that of the Chevrolet Trailblazer (link to image). Just like the Chevy, the top of the dashboard is black while the lower part is beige. The steering wheel is also the same as the Trailblazer’s (with small differences). Silver inserts are applied on the gear lever, 4WD knob, steering wheel and center fascia.
The dashboard is functional and very well put together. Fit and finish are good and all the switches feel durable. You just know they'll last a long time. However, while I couldn’t find any rough edges, all the plastics are hard and don't have any 'premium' feel. Overall, the quality is similar to that of the Toyota Fortuner. While the quality is good for a UV, it simply can't be compared to same-price sedans.
All controls are laid out logically and are easy to reach. Ergonomics are spot on. It's a user-friendly cabin:
Three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel is shared with the Trailblazer. Only Chevy bowtie & cruise control missing. No thumb contours, but it is perfectly sized and nice to hold. Horn pad is easy to use:
Audio + phone controls on the left spoke. Aluminium volume control button looks cool, but is a pain to clean (it's already dirty in our brand new test car). Pressing the phone button will pause the song that is being played on the infotainment system (even if there isn't any incoming call). The song will resume on pressing the button again. None of these switches is backlit:
Believe it or not, that is mud & muck in the steering's leather stitching (from offroading):
Sadly, tilt adjustment only (adjustment range is adequate). We would have expected reach adjustment in a premium pickup truck! If you are tall or drive in a laid-back position, you will certainly feel the steering to be too distant from you:
Instrument cluster is simple and easy to read. The dials and needles are backlit. When the car is switched off, these go out with a theatre dimming effect:
Proper MID features a digital fuel gauge, digital temperature gauge, outside temperature readout, clock and single trip meter. Other information includes distance to empty (range), distance covered, average speed, time travelled, average fuel consumption and instant fuel efficiency. Trivia - arrow next to the fuel gauge in any car shows which side the fuel flap is on:
The MID reminds you to fasten up your seatbelt. With the key in the ignition and the driver's door open, a 'key warning sign' comes up with an audible chime. The illumination intensity of the MID (only MID, not entire cluster) can be adjusted manually. There are five levels of illumination. On pressing the button on the wiper stalk, it goes down one step at a time and after it reaches level one, it goes back up to level 5. The average fuel consumption, average speed etc. can be reset by long pressing the button on the indicator stalk:
Various other settings can be adjusted through the select mode. Keep the button on the light stalk pressed for 3 seconds to select an option. To go to each setting, short press the same button and to select, long press it (about 3 seconds). You can switch off the buzzer / beeps and seatbelt warning messages if you so wish. You can also set service & maintenance reminders:
The different 4x4 drive modes. '4L engaged' light (bottom left corner) keeps flashing until you release the clutch:
Wiper & light stalks have a cheapish feel. Wipers' intermittent setting has adjustable speeds:
Button on the tip of the wiper stalk is for adjusting the MID's illumination level (not the entire instrument cluster). The same button on the RHS stalk is to access the MID's different options:
No fancy engine start button in this truck. Just a simple ignition switch. No illuminating ring around it!
Air-con vents are symmetrical:
All vents can be shut by moving the slider down. However, they still let out a lot of air:
Small drawers on the driver + passenger side double up as cupholders. You can direct the airflow there to keep your can cool!
ORVM controls and headlight leveller. Economy-grade quality here. ORVMs are electrically-foldable:
Storage compartment below the mirror controls. Good place to dump miscellaneous stuff:
No need to bend down to reach the bonnet and fuel flap releases. They are conveniently placed:
Doorpads carry over the black & beige theme, with silver inserts. IMHO, the bottom area should have been black to prevent soiling from your shoes. The only material used here is plastic (no fabric). Door handles are finished in silver. To individually unlock only the driver's door, use the unlock switch (there's a separate central locking button). Just pulling the door handle doesn't unlock the door like it does in many other cars:
Simple controls for the power windows and central locking. One-touch-down functionality only for the driver's window. The letters "AUTO" (on the driver's window switch) light up in red when the parking lights are switched on. None of the others are illuminated. Sadly, there's no speed sensitive auto locking system. Doors auto-unlock when you pull the key out of the ignition though. The sound created isn't loud like the Mahindras:
All 4 doors can accommodate a 1L bottle. If you place a bottle here, the useable area for other items is limited:
Isuzu-branded scuff plates are part of the official accessory list:
Front seats are wide and even big adults will find them accommodating. They offer decent lateral & under-thigh support. Seats are on the softer side and thus, not very comfortable on long journeys. Lumbar adjustment isn't available and lower back support is mediocre. Headrests are soft:
Zooming in on the fabric upholstery. This beige colour isn't suitable for a truck that's going to rough it out. To make matters worse, even the carpet is beige! What was Isuzu thinking?
Long + sturdy metal bar for fore and aft adjustment. Front seats have a long travel range. 6+ footer? No problem:
Driver’s seat gets a rotary knob to adjust its height. Only the base is lowered / raised at the point that it meets the seatback - much like the old Figo. Because of this, you lose thigh support as you increase the seat height:
Notice the difference in seatbase height (on the seatback side). Even with the seat in the highest position, I had ~2.5" of headroom:
Black, plastic center armrest is wide. Convenient for my height (5'10"), but should have been adjustable for shorter folk. And yes, some padding would've been nice too:
Has a storage box underneath:
Finish of the handbrake is poor. In our test car, it wasn't functioning properly either, with the button getting stuck (in the depressed position) on a few occasions:
Seatbelts are height-adjustable:
ABC pedals are properly spaced out. Dead pedal looks w-e-i-r-d, yet it is wide & comfortable to use:
See what I mean? Beige is a poor choice of colour for the carpets. No hooks to keep a floor mat in place...even small cars have them these days!
OBD port is located in an open storage area below the steering wheel. Area has a lip to prevent things from sliding off:
Sturdy grab handles on the A-pillars are useful for ingress:
Commanding view from the driver's seat. This is a proper truck, not a wannabe. You can see a fair bit of the bonnet from the driver's seat (even at its lowest position). However, you cannot see the edges, as the bonnet slopes down:
ORVMs are wide and tall. They offer a satisfactory view of the happenings behind:
IRVM is wide enough to cover the entire rear windshield! The tailgate is also visible in it, so you know exactly where the truck ends. The IRVM gets manual adjustment for day / night modes! Come on Isuzu, at this price, we demand an auto-dimming IRVM:
The reversing view. All-round visibility is good as the glass area is quite large. The rear windshield is big enough and you can see the tailgate from the driver's seat. Nevertheless, keeping the car's sheer length in mind, you better be a parking champ. Parking sensors & a camera should've been standard:
Center fascia gets a silver border. Functional + straightforward design:
Solar sensor for the climate control system (on top of the dashboard):
Storage space doesn't get a lid like the Chevrolet Trailblazer (link to image):
Touchscreen head-unit with CD/MP3, USB, SD Card, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity. Its functions have been covered in a separate post. Vertical air-con vents flank the infotainment system. The performance of the air-con is very strong. Even on a hot day, the interiors of the truck were chilled quickly (no doubt, helped by the short cabin as there's no 3rd row / boot area):
Round air-con controls feel premium to use. When the pilot lights are turned on, all buttons get backlit in red (no hunting for the switches in the dark). The blower doesn't come on until the engine is turned on i.e. it will not start with the key in “ACC” or “ON” positions. Additionally, just pressing the A/C button doesn't start the system. You have to start it with either the auto button, or fan & then the A/C button.
The blower has 5 levels of adjustment. It starts getting audible at level 2 itself! At level 3, it's loud but bearable. On 4 and 5, the flow is very loud. The temperature range you can set is between 18 and 32. The blower speed, temperature and mode are displayed on the circular screen (in the center). Nice one = the climate control system remembers the recirculation / fresh air setting you chose, even after the car is restarted.
For the recirculation mode, a red indicator lights up on the switch. For fresh air mode, there is a green light:
Small storage spots & a cigarette lighter at the base of the center fascia:
5-speed gear lever. Far from contemporary design and doesn't feel particularly good to hold either. Not in line with the current times:
Faux leather boot at its base:
The magic knob that can take you places! Rotary knob for engaging 4x4 sits on the center console (to the left of the handbrake). To engage 4L, push the knob down and turn to shift. You can switch between 2H <-> 4H without pushing it down:
The cupholders & a removable ashtray:
The V-Cross comes with dual airbags and ABS as standard:
The upper glovebox is of a decent size:
12V power outlet located inside:
Lower glovebox isn't as accommodating as the upper one. No cooling, no lock:
Roof console has a sunglass holder and twin map lights:
Sunglass holder has a lining inside to protect your sunglasses, but it's not soft. The holder itself feels loose & cheap:
Sunvisors feel terribly budget grade - at best, a level above the Alto. Driver’s sunvisor has a ticket holder at the front…
…and printed instructions for operating the 4x4 system on the back:
Your gal gets a vanity mirror with a cover, but no illumination:
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:40.
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|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#5|
Interior - Rear
Like the front doors, the rear doors open and close in a triple stage action (rear doors are usually dual-stage). The door is smaller than what we are used to. Additionally, there are no grab handles provided on the B-pillars. Ingress & egress are even more difficult than at the front. You can forget about your aged folks ever getting into the back:
While there is adequate space to move your feet in & out…
…the door sill is damn wide. This further hampers ingress & egress. Isuzu-branded scuff plates here as well. Notice how little of the side step is visible:
Doorpads house the rear speakers. Can hold a 1L bottle, with a little space left over:
Rear power window switches are weirdly styled. At first, I thought they were broken. Will be a dust magnet + pain to clean too. In this image, check out the design texture of the plastic armrest:
Rear seat is large enough to accommodate 3 adults. That said, the cushioning is thin:
Soft headrests & 3-point seatbelts for those on the side. While the seatback has some contours, the seatbase is rather flat:
Legroom is impressive and a 6-footer can easily sit behind another one in the front:
The maximum & minimum legroom available:
Because the seat is set low, under-thigh support is lacking. The backrest is a little too upright. Headroom is good though; at 5'10", I had ~2" of clearance. While overall space is nice, rear seat comfort is certainly not as good as same-price SUVs (e.g. Safari, XUV500). And we haven't even spoken about the ride quality from the rear leaf springs yet :
With the driver's seat in my position, I have about 4 inches of knee room to spare. Even with the front seat in full back position, I can fit in:
There is enough space below the front seats to slide your feet under:
A center armrest has been provided. It's thin, but has sufficient cushioning:
The seatback, however, is way too thin! It needs more cushioning. As you can see, there is no scope for reclining it anymore:
Both front seats get useful storage pockets:
The rear windows don't roll down fully. They are well-sized and allow a sufficient amount of light inside:
ISOFIX child seat anchors have been provided on both sides :
The seatbase is split in a 60:40 ratio. Both sides can be folded upwards. Simply pull this strap to unlock the seat…
…and hook it up here:
Here's a look at the seatbase folded up:
Both up. Located on the floor (under the seats) are storage compartments. Fold up the seats to access them or if you need some cargo flexibility inside:
The storage compartment on the right is deep and holds the jack, tools & safety triangle:
The one on the left is smaller and shallower. Bare metal though, no lining at all. If you place something metallic here, it'll cause rattles:
Floor hump is ~3.5 inches high; it's wide and intrusive. The passenger in the center has to put his feet on either side of it. Good thing that the cabin has enough width. If the folding rear cupholders located on the center console are in use, it'll be even more inconvenient for him. The center armrest & seat padding mean he'll be sitting in a slightly higher and more forward position (compared to the side passengers):
No rear air-con vents...
…but the center console houses two foldout cupholders:
Both rear grab handles have useful coat / bag hooks:
3-point seatbelts are positioned perfectly (in terms of height):
The second cabin lamp is located right in the middle - it lights up the rear footwells. The light switch is flimsy and ill-fitting. On our test car, even after the doors were shut, the cabin lamps stayed on (in "door" mode)!! When the car is locked, they go off with a theatre dimming effect:
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:31.
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|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#6|
While the V-Cross comes with steering-mounted audio controls & 4 speakers as standard, this touchscreen head-unit isn't part of the equipment list! It's a 40,000 rupee option. How strange - a vehicle costing 15 lakhs without a head-unit? Isuzu well & truly messed up in this department. Luckily, it's easy to fix in the after-market. You can get decent head-units in the 10-20k range too.
The infotainment system sports a 7-inch touchscreen, with CD, USB, AUX, Bluetooth and telephony. It doesn't have navigation or a reversing camera though. The head-unit definitely isn't high quality, and certainly not worth the 40k price. It's good enough only to keep the average user happy. The touchscreen has no noticeable lag and the interface is nice to use. On the flip side, visibility under direct sunlight is poor:
The USB & Aux ports are integrated in the head unit and have a nice fitting rubber cover:
Bluetooth mic is located in the lower right corner:
Music is played through 4 speakers - one on each door. The front speakers are average, while the rear ones are very poor. Rear passengers aren't going to get a satisfactory sound stage. Sitting in the front, the regular Joe won't complain. If you want to upgrade your ICE, here are some measurements from BHPian Mani that might help you. BHPian Hondaism has also put up useful pictures here:
The system comes with the usual set of adjustments. The bass is very boomy and even on neutral equalizer settings, you feel a lot of reverb and a few parts in the car shake. The boomy bass isn't likeable:
Switching off the SE (sound enhancement) feature helps to reduce that unpleasant boominess. From this menu, you can also set the level of speed-sensitive volume adjustment:
Nice graphics for the fader / balance adjustment:
Other settings include day / night views - in headlight mode, if you start the headlamps or pilot lamps, the touchscreen dims. Guide tone refers to confirmation beeps (on touching the screen):
Smartphone pairing is very easy and can be done on the move as well. Even if you switch the car off, the Bluetooth connection is remembered by the system. When you start the truck again, it continues with the same track (which was playing when you switched off):
Transferring the call from the system to the phone (for privacy) and vice versa is carried out instantly:
Lists include speed dial, phone book, outgoing calls & incoming calls:
The volume settings. Phone clarity is excellent:
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:30.
|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#7|
Driving the 2.5L Diesel
The V-Cross is powered by the same BSIV-compliant, 2.5L diesel engine as the D-Max and uses a variable geometry turbocharger. Power ratings are 134 BHP (@ 3,600 rpm) & 320 Nm (@ 1,800-2,800 rpm). That said, because of its hefty kerb weight of 1,905 kilos, the V-Cross' power to weight (70 BHP / ton) & torque to weight (168 Nm / ton) ratios are poorer than the ol' D-Max. They are better than the Scorpio, comparable to the Safari Storme, and lower than the XUV500 (just to put things into perspective). Performance is adequate, but it's not a fast UV like the XUV500 or Fortuner.
The starter cranks rather slowly. The 2.5L engine fires up with a typical UV-like diesel clatter, and there is noticeable cabin + gear lever shake too. At idle, the gear lever keeps dancing around & continues to do so as you drive.
Press the clutch and you'll find it to have a long travel, yet it is light to operate. Starting off is easy for this behemoth. Low end torque is excellent, the gearing is short and the truck can move forward even in 2nd gear without accelerator input. Heck, you can pull away from 0 km/h in 3rd gear with a li'l accelerator input. In-city driveability is a strong point of the V-Cross. In most situations, you can pull along in the same gear itself, without needing a downshift. As an example, in 3rd gear at just 1,000 rpm and the speedometer reading 21 - 22 km/h, press the accelerator and this truck pulls ahead without any hesitation. One can potter around in town in 4th at 40 km/h or 5th gear at 50 km/h, with the engine spinning at just over 1,000 rpm. Power delivery is linear in nature and there is no "turbo kick" felt at any time.
The V-Cross weighs 210 kg more than the D-Max (1,695 kg). This means that performance isn't as impressive as the older truck. Off the block, the V-Cross isn't an urgent performer. Equally, there is nothing to complain about.
The V-Cross is comfortable on the open road. The engine feels nice once the needle crosses 1,500 rpm and pulls strongly (it's not a free-revving motor though). The 2.5L is at its best in the 2,000 - 3,000 rpm range and you can easily maintain pace in the fast lane of the expressway. I must mention again that performance is adequate, but it'll be left in the dust by SUVs like the Safari Varicor 400, XUV500 & Fortuner. The mid-range is punchy enough and anyone tailgating you is in for a surprise! Just press the accelerator and watch him get smaller in the rear view mirror. There is sufficient power at your disposal to overtake slower moving traffic. It's only when you need to overtake very quickly or on steep inclines that you'll feel the need to downshift. While the engine revvs to 4,500 rpm, which is the start of the redline, it's clearly not happy to see the higher end of the tachometer. When revved hard (over 3,500 rpm), the 2.5L diesel starts sounding harsh & strained. No point taking the rpms too high. Long-distance cruisability is competent. 100 km/h comes in at 2,100 rpm in 5th, while 120 km/h is seen at 2,500 rpm.
Those used to modern cars will find the gearshift rather vague and notchy. It has long throws and the gates aren't well defined. However, this is still a better gearbox to operate than the Tata Xenon's. Together with the light clutch, changing gears isn't a tiring process (it's not effortless either).
In terms of NVH, as mentioned earlier, the cabin & gear lever shake noticeably on start up. When idling, press the accelerator and the body tilts to the driver's side!! The gear lever dances about while driving and whenever any gear is engaged, a jerk is felt on it as the accelerator is pressed. The V-Cross is very UV-like in this area.
Noise levels inside the cabin are well-controlled. The engine starts with a typical diesel clatter, which is audible in the cabin. Once the motor warms up, the noise is lesser. With the window up and air-con running, engine noise won't bother you, but it is audible. A little road noise is heard at speeds in excess of 80 km/h; this noise increases as the speedometer climbs. Wind noise starts creeping into the cabin only after 110 km/h.
Ride & Handling
The RWD V-Cross comes with an independent double wishbone suspension with coil springs at the front and leaf springs at the rear. Leaf-springs are a must for robust load-carrying applications. The V-Cross' ride is far from plush. Things are still okay at the front, but on the back seat, it has that typical bumpiness experienced in UVs with leaf springs (especially when the loading bay is empty). At city speeds, the ride is jiggly, with even small road irregularities making themselves felt inside the cabin. At higher speeds, the bumpiness increases. On bad patches, the ride can get painful for those sitting on the rear seat. It can get jumpy on bad roads. There is simply no comparison with the ride comfort offered by same-price SUVs like the Safari & XUV500. This suspension is built to carry cargo, not passengers. You could improve comfort levels by adding weight to the loading bay. Just throw in a couple of sandbags and things should noticeably improve (weight will bring a performance + efficiency penalty though). What's nice about the suspension is its quietness. This is genuinely one of the most silent suspensions I have experienced. The large tyres allow the vehicle to tackle (errr....crush?) large potholes easily and that 225 mm of ground clearance ensures that you don't scrape the undercarriage anywhere.
Straight line stability at high speeds is strong and crosswinds don’t seem to affect it either. Grip levels from those fat 245 mm tyres are adequate too. However, when it comes to cornering, there is a lot of body roll, which is expected from a tall body-on-frame vehicle. What's more, if one gets ambitious and starts pushing the V-Cross hard into corners, it will fishtail like any other pickup (due to the light rear end). Once again, loading up the rear deck will help in keeping the vehicle planted. Drive it like a tall UV (and not a low slung sedan), understand its limitations and you should be okay.
What regular drivers won't like is the Isuzu's steering. It's a hydraulic unit that feels heavy at parking & slow speeds. Due to this, the steering requires a fair deal of effort to operate and gets cumbersome in crowded city areas. Of course, as the speedometer climbs, things aren't so bad. Still, those used to the superlight EPS of modern cars won't be able to live with such a heavy unit. On the open road, the steering offers sufficient weight. That helps the feeling of stability as well. But it still isn't a communicative steering that you'll enjoy using.
The V-Cross has a m-a-s-s-i-v-e 6.3 meter turning radius. This makes 3-point turns a regular part of your schedule. You'll even be taking 3-point turns where you didn't expect to! To make matters worse, the steering takes ~3 ¾ turns from lock to lock. This, coupled with the heavy steering and the sheer size of the vehicle, makes the V-Cross a poor choice for narrow + crowded areas.
In the braking department, the V-Cross performs satisfactorily. Like the competition, you get discs at the front and drums at the rear. While they have enough power to bring the truck to a standstill from high speeds, I would have liked to see discs at the rear (considering the price of the vehicle). Unlike the old D-Max which ran on 215 section tyres, the V-Cross gets 245s which aid overall braking performance. ABS, EBD and Brake Assist are a part of standard equipment. Emulating an emergency braking situation, I stomped hard on the pedal at 100 km/h and the vehicle had no trouble stopping in a straight line. On the downside, the pedal travels quite a long way before the brakes actually bite. This will take some getting used to. Pedal feel is also poor and there is a fair amount of nosedive under hard braking.
Bonnet gets a thick insulation sheet on the underside:
Engine fills the bay. Air intake is located high up. Isuzu diesels are renowned for their durability - this motor will serve you for lakhs of km (with proper maintenance):
Uses a more durable timing chain (not rubber belt):
The V-Cross has a 70% level of localisation...the radiator is one such part!
Variable-geometry turbocharger is mounted on the RHS of the engine:
Fair amount of insulation on the firewall:
Full underbody protection missing. You'll have to rely on the 225 mm of ground clearance and driver skill to prevent damage:
Intercooler is placed right at the front. Not on top of the engine like the ol' D-Max (reference image):
That's the outside temperature sensor sitting on the frame (ahead of the intercooler):
While the recommended oil change interval is 20,000 km, we feel that's simply too long for Indian conditions. We're personally comfortable with an oil change interval of 10,000 km tops. A majority of BHPians agree (related poll):
Identification plate on the left:
A better look at the engine (from our Auto Expo report):
A "Made in India" 78 BHP / 176 Nm version was also displayed by Isuzu:
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:28.
|22nd September 2016, 15:01||#8|
4x4 & Offroading
A big shoutout to BHPian Tejas@perioimpl for sharing his expert observations ! Tejas & I went offroading with the Isuzu at Mahape & Lonavala.
The V-Cross has a shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system. It has 3 electronically switchable modes:
1. 2H - Power is sent only to the rear wheels. This mode should be used for normal on-road driving (street and highway).
2. 4H (high range) - Power is sent to all four wheels. This mode should be used for driving on gravel, sand, mud and other low traction surfaces.
3. 4L (low range) - 4x4 with multiplied torque. This mode should be used for low speed driving in extreme offroad conditions. Must mention that 4L is a bit slow to engage on the V-Cross (takes a couple of seconds).
You can shift between the 2H and 4H modes on the go (up to 100 km/h). Of course, getting in or out of 4L mode is only possible when the vehicle is stationary. The engaged mode is displayed on the MID.
The driver enjoys an excellent frontal view - this helps when offroading. There's just one blind spot on the thick B-pillar, but it’s not a deal-breaker. What you will miss is a reversing camera. It would help getting a better view of what's behind in the wilderness. The truck's ground clearance of 225 mm is impressive and you'll clear most obstacles without worry.
That said, we cannot call the V-Cross a hardcore offroader like the Maruti Gypsy & Mahindra Thar. It's too heavy, too big, the wheelbase is too long and that huge rear overhang hampers its offroad capability. The side steps are a hindrance too. While the truck has two tow hooks at the front, a rear tow hook is shockingly missing. Recovery can get impossible in some situations - remember how BHPians had to use the rear axle for towing (link to thread)? Even when it comes to the two hooks at the front, their placement is bad. If the vehicle is stuck in muck, they are very difficult to access.
This is a good truck for rough roads and mild - medium level offroading. The V-Cross has neutral handling on bad roads. You can run at reasonably fast speeds on rough offroad trails, without the truck getting unsettled. Yes, the weight does come into play a bit, yet it is manageable. The suspension is alright, but it's nowhere as comfortable as the Renault Duster AWD.
Put the V-Cross in 4L, engage first gear and release the clutch to crawl forward without any throttle input over rocks and obstacles. With better tyres, this will be managed more easily. What isn't desirable is that the crawl speed is on the higher side (even in 1L). While the anti-stall feature works well in the slush, it messes things up while crawling. For instance, tapping the brake pedal makes the car speed up more! This means that the clutch will need to be slipped often (risk of burnout).
The V-Cross can do some green-laning without any trouble. It doesn't get diff locks or a limited slip differential (offered on the Thar and Xenon, respectively) though. If the vehicle has an empty loading bay, its bouncy rear tends to lose grip on low traction gravel surfaces. The steering is heavy and the driver’s arms start aching after an hour of driving on bad roads. Additionally, the stock tyres are no good for offroading; an upgrade to A/T rubber is most recommended. Just don't upsize as the 245 patch is healthy enough; any fatter and the steering will become too heavy. Other than the heavy steering, the poor gearshift is also a disadvantage. The gear changes are notchy and entail long throws. When we got stuck in slush once, it wasn’t easy to perform quick forward <-> reverse gearshifts. We observed that the seatbelts lock up on the smallest of declines. So, you can’t take your head out of the window to see the ground in front of you. To do that, you must unbuckle first.
Medium level inclines are okay. When it comes to steep ones, the truck will fail. This is partly due to the sheer weight of the vehicle, and partly due to its tyres. Further, you need to be able to clear the rear overhang, which can become a handicap. It isn't capable of handling deep slush either due to the same reasons (stock tyres & sheer weight) - we got stuck twice in quick succession. Better A/T tyres should noticeably improve its offroad behaviour.
Those looking to do some water wading shouldn't forget to add a snorkel. Something to keep in mind = with the bed liner installed, there were no drain holes in the loading bay & it'll be difficult to drain the water out.
While the V-Cross doesn't score as an outright offroader, it has great potential to be built as a tourer or camper that can be put through some adventure offroading. Being an international model, lots of bolt-on bits are available for it - custom camper body, ATV carrier, roof tent etc. You name it. All the R&D has already been done internationally in terms of modifications, and a lot of knowledge is out in the open (unlike local offroaders, where the knowledge bank is only India-based).
While the V-Cross has ground clearance of 225 mm, the long wheelbase means it's best to drive around (not over) large rocks. Check this post out to see just the kind of problem the long wheelbase creates:
Good for some light to moderate level offroading:
Short front overhang means the approach angle is sharp:
Climbing up a grassy slope isn't an issue for the V-Cross, as long as it isn't too steep:
That massive rear overhang means the departure angle is poor:
Articulation will be sufficient for most owners. This is about the limit, post which…
…the rear wheel lifts:
You can certainly have some fun with the V-Cross. Go roaming & discovering, but not too extreme:
This is about the most difficult obstacle we attempted successfully. Crawl speed is too high though:
Driving through muck & slush was a disaster due to the weight & H/T tyres:
There are tow hooks on either side of the bash plate, but they are placed too low and too 'inside'. The hooks were difficult to access here and I had to dig in quite a bit to attach the tow rope. A rear tow hook was sorely missed in this situation; we could've easily pulled the car out from the back if it had one:
Unable to access the one on the left, I tried the one on the right. Sweet image no? Also notice how large the V-Cross is compared to the Mahindra 540 (with a slightly chopped off rear):
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:25.
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|22nd September 2016, 15:02||#9|
• Clearly a lot of production niggles from Isuzu's brand new factory. Our test car had severely fogged-up headlamps, water ingress from the handbrake area & a rusted seat frame (next post has pics). Two other BHPians have reported niggles here and here. Isuzu India had better get its act together and deliver products with the same reliability that it's known worldwide for. Attention-to-detail is seriously lacking - take a look at Gogi's truck (image link) and see how the big ISUZU sticker is slanted!! We think Isuzu has learned a little too much from Hindustan Motors (which was its contract manufacturer earlier).
• Standard warranty of 3 years / 100,000 km. Same as what Toyota offers.
• Service interval of merely 5,000 km is shocking! So darn inconvenient. Even if some of these are merely checkups, it's still a waste of time (drop off, pick up, car off the road for a day etc.). Not to mention, there will be some $$$ charge for it. An owner with high running will have to visit the workshop every 2 - 3 months.
• Oil change interval is 20,000 km. We simply don't agree with this. Indian driving conditions are too hot, too dusty and our average speeds too low (with stop & go traffic). If you care about your engine, change the oil at 10,000 km tops.
• ARAI fuel efficiency rating is 12.4 km/l.
• There is a clear difference in positioning between the D-Max and V-Cross. The D-Max was priced lower than its competitors, whereas the V-Cross is priced the highest! Unlike the D-Max, which a lot of commercial owners bought, the V-Cross targets the more premium segment; either an individual enthusiast, or the rich farmer (as an example), who'll use it as a personal cum commercial truck.
• For a pickup truck - which is so obviously a niche vehicle - the V-Cross has generated a phenomenal amount of interest on Team-BHP, with the launch thread already at 2 lakh views! Some BHPians have booked the car too. Expect ownership reports to follow.
• Pickups are a different breed, but it'll be relatively easier to convince your family as the V-Cross doesn't look like a 'goods carrier'. Additionally, it has better fit, finish and quality than the Xenon & Getaway.
• Before buying a pickup, please think it through properly. Living with a pickup isn't the same as an SUV. Nowhere as convenient. There is a fair share of disadvantages.
• If you buy one, you'll be the go-to guy in your circle for airport runs . Keep that in mind!
• Self-drive rental companies like Zoom Car & Myles should induct the V-Cross into their fleets. There will be some who rent it for the purpose (moving cargo), others who do so because it's a fun car.
• The international V-Cross gets a long list of safety features, including ESC (related link). Sadly removed from the Indian car.
• Isuzu should have at least provided the rear tow hitch that's available internationally. Would help with recovery, as well as towing. You should get one installed in the after-market.
• Available in 5 colours - Orchid Brown (our test car), Cosmic Black, Titanium Silver, Obsidian Grey & Splash White. Of all the colours, only white makes it look like a commercial vehicle.
• Fuel tank capacity – 55 liters. In such a big truck, we'd have expected at least 65 liters of capacity.
• Some BHPians reported an issue with financing, because banks view the V-Cross as a commercial vehicle (due to the earlier D-Max).
• Expect composite fibre leaf springs for this truck to hit the market. They will improve ride quality for sure. Click here to know more.
• AT will be missed as premium customers love their slushboxes. In Australia, the V-Cross is available with a 3.0L diesel + 5-speed AT combo.
• Isuzu claims that it's put the V-Cross through 40 lakh km of testing (internationally).
• Even if you get an after-market head-unit, don't sweat. There are ways to connect the steering-mounted audio controls to other systems.
• Isuzu is planning to bring the MU-X soon, as a replacement for the MU-7 SUV. It's based on the V-Cross and will be manufactured at the same plant. Hopefully, it's not grossly overpriced like the MU-7.
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:24.
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|22nd September 2016, 15:02||#10|
The Smaller yet Significant Things
Headlamps suffer from a severe fogging problem - lack of quality control. They remained like this throughout the 4 days we had the car:
Yikes!! Muddy water (from an offroading session) was entering the cabin through the handbrake. Again, failed quality control:
Seat frame rusting already? Not cool on a 2,500 km vehicle. Why couldn't Isuzu have properly coated this metal area?
Shut lines are wider than what we see on cars of today. But they are uniform:
They get wider around the bonnet. Look closely and you'll see some parts & fittings housed inside the engine bay!!
Bedliner has no drain holes. After a shower, this is what happened. The water flowed out of the gaps in the tailgate as we drove. However, if it was parked in one place, this could become a breeding ground for undesirable elements (e.g. mosquitoes):
The water trail you'll leave behind. Like those trucks loaded with fish leaving the docks:
Partial cladding in the front wheel well…
…and the rear:
Superior double-wishbone suspension at the front:
VIN engraved on the right side of the chassis:
Reinforced 55L fuel tank. On an adventure vehicle, we'd have preferred at least 65 liters of capacity:
Thick rubber beading around the doors:
Needles do a clean sweep on startup. The instrument cluster's backlight comes on after the sweep is complete:
Door open warning doesn't specify exactly which door is open. No warning light for the bonnet or tailgate:
Rear demister should have been covered with a plastic cap. Looks so ugly & unfinished:
Rear floor mats are held together with Velcro:
No flippy key - just a simple one with buttons for locking and unlocking. If you press the lock button and any door is open, the truck won't even attempt to lock itself:
Air-con controls are backlit in red. No need to hunt for the correct one in the dark. 5 levels of blower adjustment. On level 1 (as an example), one bar on the left + one on the right light up:
Rear tyre pressures are significantly higher than the front, even with an empty bay!
The V-Cross has a lot of mod potential and we'll definitely be seeing a lot of customised ones on the road (similar to how enthusiasts modify their Thars). This one was developed by Isuzu & Arctic Trucks. It's called the 'D-Max Arctic Trucks 35' and is a factory sold + backed job. Comes with 35" offroad rubber, Fox shocks, lifted ride height and flared wheel arches to accommodate the tyres. Pic Source - Auto Evolution:
Customised versions were displayed at the 2016 Auto Expo. This one had a lockable bed cover:
The loading bay can accommodate an ATV…
…or be fitted with a bicycle carrier:
However, the accessories from authorised dealers are obscenely priced. Better you order them online yourself. Thanks to BHPian Charan for sharing these images:
An example of the kind of utility offered by pickups. This is BHPian Jeepster's Tata Xenon - link to post:
Thanks to bhp for posting pics of this souped up V-Cross at the RFC (link to post):
Last edited by GTO : 22nd September 2016 at 15:23.
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|22nd September 2016, 16:18||#11|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 160,476 Times
Re: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing, Aditya!
A special review of a special truck. Rating a full 5 stars .
|22nd September 2016, 16:43||#12|
Join Date: May 2013
Thanked: 537 Times
Re: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
Excellent review there Aditya
The rear demister reminds me of my Baleno. Looks ugly :(
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|22nd September 2016, 17:19||#13|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2012
Thanked: 1,314 Times
Re: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
Thanks for the excellent review Aditya!
I test drove it last week and decided against it majorly due to its length, very uncomfortable rear seats and turning radius.
Even the SA was cribbing about its HT tyres as he faced embarrassing situations with prospective buyers.
The official list of accessories is quite comprehensive and looks good though.
|22nd September 2016, 17:19||#14|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked: 200 Times
Re: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
Very detailed review indeed. It is a very imposing vehicle when viewed from head on. I have a kitted one in my vicinity- will post the pic soon.
However, what is the point Isuzu trying to prove. Had this been a full blown SUV, they had a chance. But this?
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|22nd September 2016, 17:52||#15|
Join Date: Oct 2013
Thanked: 30 Times
Re: Isuzu D-Max V-Cross : Official Review
I have a serious question..who exactly is the target audience for a 4x4 pickup in India, given that there are regular 4x4/AWD SUVs already for offroad enthusiasts? What do you do with the acre of truck bed space unless you're in the business of hauling cargo (which means you'll probably require a commercial vehicle license)?
It's not like you're going to tow your boat to the lake for fishing, or a RV trailer for camping, or carry a deer after hunting it in the forest, as in the US where these activities are popular.
Even if you're an infrequent offroader, don't the Thar/Fortuner/XUV etc. fulfill that role better, with some of them having extra passenger space as well?