Isuzu Pickups have been the mainstay of light commercial transport in Kenya for many years. From the early days of the Isuzu Tougher, to the current generation of the Isuzu D-max, the Isuzu pickups have proven their worth. The Isuzu D-Max is currently the bestselling pickup in the Kenyan market. It competes with the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger T6, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara /Hardbody, Volkswagen Amarok and Mazda BT-50.
The Isuzu D-Max is available in several configurations that are geared towards diverse customer needs. The D-Max can serve as a family car, a farmer’s car, a light cargo truck, an off-road vehicle and many other things. The first generation D-Max was in production from 2002 to 2011 and the second generation has been in production from 2012 to present. The D-Max is offered with 3 engine options, all diesel. These are: the 2.5L 4JA1-L normally aspirated engine, the 2.5L 4JK1-TC SO Common Rail Turbo Diesel engine, and the 3.0L 4JJ1-TC SO Common Rail Turbo Diesel engine.
The 2012 Isuzu D-Max is offered as a single cabin or double cabin and configured either as 2WD or 4WD, low ride or high ride. The 2WD options are referred to as TFR while the 4WD options are referred to as TFS. Below are the D-Max grades and specifications for each.
2012 Isuzu D-Max Grades
1. TFR 54 SC – Low ride, 2WD, 2.5L normal aspirated engine, 15 inch steel rims
2. TFR 86 SC– High ride, 2WD, 2.5L common rail turbo diesel engine, 16 inch steel rims
3. TFS 86 SC– High ride, 4WD, 2.5L common rail turbo diesel engine, 16 inch steel rims
1. TFR 86 DC – Low ride, 2WD, 2.5L common rail turbo diesel engine, 16 inch steel rims
2. TFS 86 DC – High ride, 4WD, 2.5L common rail turbo diesel engine, 16 inch steel rims
3. TFS 86 DC + – High ride, 4WD, 2.5L common rail turbo diesel engine, 16 inch alloy rims, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
4. TFS 85 DC LS– High ride, 4WD, 3.0L common rail turbo diesel engine, 16 inch alloy rims, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Projector Headlights, steering controls, height adjustable driver’s seat
Legroom & Space
The Isuzu D-Max is built for work and therefore luxuries are at a bare minimum. However, the 2012 Isuzu D-Max is still a great improvement over previous models that were smaller in size and less spacious. The D-Max now compares favorably with the Toyota Hilux which improved its interior space many years ago in response to market demands. The higher graded Isuzu D-Max LS is ideal for people who want a balance between work and family. It comes loaded with many extras such as padded seats, electric mirrors, reading lights, seat pockets and many more.
In terms of seating space, the double cab offers good legroom for both rows. The rear seats now have some room to recline as compared to previous model that were fixed. The windows are also large and provide for a good view of the road.
Cabin storage is essential for storing items such as smartphones, beverages, goggles, handbags etc. For the 1st row the 2012 Isuzu D-Max LS has 4 cup holders, door panel storage, a dual compartment glovebox, dashboard-top storage, and a cubby-box. For the double cab models the second row cabin storage is on the door pockets and front seat jacket pockets(only for the LS model)
2012 Isuzu D-Max Carrying Capacity
TFR 54 SC -1146kg
TFR 86 SC- 1066kg
TFS 86 SC- 1066kg
TFR 86 DC Low ride- 971kg
TFS 86 DC Base – 971kg
TFS 86 DC-Base+ 971kg
TFS 85 DC LS- 1048kg
Other Extras – CD Player, 12V Aux Power, Bluetooth, Side Steps, Reading Lights, Fog Lights, Collapsible steering column, side impact protection bars
The Isuzu D-Max is offered both as a single and double cab. The single cab is only available with steel rims whilst the double cab is available with both steel rims and alloy rims(on the higher grades)
2012 Isuzu D-Max Fuel Consumption
The 2.5L Normally Aspirated Isuzu D-Max consumes- 28.0Km/L
The 2.5L Common Rail Tubo Diesel D-Max consumes- 27.5Km/L
The 3.0L Common Rail Tubo Diesel D-Max consumes- 26.5Km/L
2012 Isuzu D-Max Fuel Tank Capacity: 76 Litres
Service and Maintenance Costs
Minor Service(Done after every 5000kms can be done by any reputable petrol station) – Air Cleaner, Oil Filter, Engine Oil
Major Service(done after every 20,000kms has to be done by a competent garage)-Air Cleaner, Oil Filter, Fuel Filter, Plugs, Front Brake Pads, Rear Brake Pads(If available), ATF Oil, Engine Oil, ATF Filter
Spare Parts Availability, Cost & Where to buy
Isuzu Kenya(or GM East Africa) has put in place an extensive network of spare part dealers across the country. In most major towns, you expect to get a spare part dealer stocked with at least service parts. Special parts can be bought directly from GM or any other dealer they may refer you to.
Isuzu D-Max service parts are well priced and comparable in price to the Toyota Hilux if not cheaper. For special parts such as sensors and body parts, the price is slightly high but affordable.
For a list of Isuzu Spare Part dealers in Kenya follow this link
2012 Isuzu D-Max Reliability
The driving conditions in Kenya are significantly different from those in Japan and Europe. Reviews done for those markets largely do not apply to the Kenyan market. There are differences in roads, fuel, climate, spares, and technical expertise. To give you accurate and reliable local insights, we interview experts such as mechanics and car dealers, who have in-depth knowledge of the Kenyan market. We also test the cars ourselves. Our aim is to give you the right information to enable you make an informed decision when buying a car.
The Isuzu D-Max has got a solid reputation behind its back. The fact that its the best selling pickup in Kenya demonstrates the confidence that businesses have in it. The D-Max is not overloaded with sensors and other electronic gizmos that make modern cars such a nightmare when they break down. Isuzu has kept it simple and fit for purpose. The common rail engines are more complex and prone to failure than the simpler 2.5L normally aspirated engine. But overall, we find the D-Max to be a highly reliable vehicle when maintained as per the owner’s manual.
Always follow the recommended guidelines as per the Owner’s Manual. To download the 2012 D-Max Owner’s Manual click here
Resale Value – Good
Isuzu D-Max Competitors: Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger T6, Mitsubishi L200, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara /Hardbody, and Volkswagen Amarok
Cost of Ownership
Purchase Price: From Ksh.1,300,000
Comprehensive Insurance: Average Ksh. 52,000/ per annum- Or
3rd Party Insurance: Ksh. 7,000/- per annum
Change of Tyres(If neccessary) Ksh. 40,000/- for 4 Tyres
See Latest Isuzu D-Max Prices here
What we like about the 2012 Isuzu D-Max
1. Good torque for hauling cargo
2. Well priced for a utility vehicle
4. Affordable spare parts
What we don’t
The leaf sprung D-Max is somewhat jumpy when not loaded
If you are a businessman looking for a light transport vehicle, then the Isuzu D-Max makes for a compelling buy. It’s a reliable workhorse that can clock high miles without skipping a beat. If you’re a family person with occasional need for light transport, then the D-Max has you covered. The range topping LS model is an excellent family car with capacity for light cargo. All in all, the D-Max is an excellent vehicle that is in tune with the Kenyan market. It’s devoid of unnecessary gizmos that make most modern cars so complex to maintain. It’s simple, reliable and it gets the job done.
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