The D-Max V-Cross finally gets an automatic gearbox and comes with Isuzu’s new 1.9-litre diesel engine – making it more usable than ever before.
Off-late, Isuzu India has been busy improving the comfort and convenience quotient of its D-Max V-Cross pick-up. In June this year, they launched the Z variant equipped with a host of convenience features, such as an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, a reversing camera, leather seats and full LED projector headlights.
The safety front was taken care of too, as it now comes with a suite of driver aids, such as traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, and hill-descent control. While all this was well and good, the V-Cross missed out on an automatic model. So, hot on the heels of the launch of the Z variant, comes this Automatic model, featuring a new engine and an equally new Z Prestige badge, which brings with it six-airbags and more supportive leather seats.
Now, a new engine from Isuzu should be big news, for they are diesel-engine experts after all. This new unit is a 1.9-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel that’s more powerful, on paper, than the larger 2.5-litre unit that we’re familiar with here in India. But, in my experience, a more powerful downsized engine always comes with a catch. So, to find out how Isuzu has overcome the issue, if at all, I decided to put the new 1.9 D-Max through its paces, both in the city and out on the highway.
No replacement for displacement
Thumb the starter button, and the engine comes to life in a manner that reminds you of the 2.5. Only this time, there’s no clutch pedal, so I engaged Drive on the automatic gearbox. And I was instantly delighted for not having to change gears in between speed breakers.
Step on the long pedal a little harder, though, and turbo lag becomes somewhat evident. Power comes in strong at the 2,000rpm mark. 2,000 to 4,000rpm is the operating range for this engine, but it’s here that the engine’s NVH is evident – like that of the 2.5-litre D-Max.
But I must say that, power and torque figures aside, the 1.9-litre engine doesn’t feel as punchy in the meat of the powerband as the 2.5-litre model. So, the prevailing statement stands – there is no replacement for displacement!
That said, you don’t really miss the additional punch while driving around in this 1.9-litre V-Cross, for there’s still more than enough grunt for your daily needs. And the automatic gearbox really does make your drive hassle-free, as you no longer have to constantly work the clutch pedal and the short ratio gearbox for even the slightest dose of power.
Urban driving is fairly easy, thanks to the smooth-shifting gearbox. In fact, gear changes are so smooth and precise that, for the most part, you’re not even aware of gearshifts – unless you pay extra attention and consciously look out for them.
Worth the wait?
The smoothness of this gearbox continues even at higher speeds on the highway, making the task of mile-munching a walk in the park. On congested highways as well, I was rather thankful for the automatic transmission.
NVH levels remain in check, even while cruising at 100-120km/h, you can comfortably engage in a conversation without any distraction from the engine. The only issue here is the slow kickdown response of the gearbox. When you come out from behind a truck and demand more power, the gearbox takes, what feels like, a full second to find a lower gear.
Over time, you get accustomed to the transmission and learn to make up for the delay by depressing the throttle pedal earlier during overtaking manoeuvres. Just make sure that you time the upcoming gap correctly based on the speed of oncoming traffic.
The D-Max V-Cross continues to be surprisingly popular in India, and the automatic model will only lead to it expanding its legion of fans.
- Isuzu D-Max V-Cross 1.9 AT
Engine: 1,898cc / 4-Cylinders / 16 Valves / DOHC / Turbocharged
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic / Four-Wheel Drive
Power: 145bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 1,800-2,600rpm
Price: ₹ 19.06 Lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)
X-factor: The automatic gearbox makes it far easier to live with in the city, while offering a comfortable driving experience on the highway too.
• Smooth gearbox
• Comfortable to drive
• Slow kickdown response
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