Ahead of their release in December, Isuzu UTE Australia has announced details on 2023 models of both the D-MAX ute and MU-X SUV, with the former offering selected features across a broader range of trim levels and the latter adding spec upgrades based on customer feedback. Both bring minor cosmetic changes for 2023, too.
The updates applied to the D-MAX are said to be the most significant since the current generation was launched two years ago, while the feedback-driven updates on the MU-X include new features, new finishes and a “darker design aesthetic”.
As the two models are built off the same platform and share several mechanical and cosmetic features, some of the MY23 upgrades apply to both.
“This is the most significant update to the Isuzu D-MAX range since debut—with each model set to receive a bolder design aesthetic, new features, and three new model [grades] added—giving customers more choice,” said Isuzu UTE Australia Managing Director, Hiroyasu Sato.
“In a market where some brands have removed features to meet delivery timeframes, we’ve listened to the feedback from customers and the media and have introduced new features to keep the Isuzu D-MAX towards the top of the segment; features that appeal to the modern ute driver, and the towing and touring adventurer.”
Speaking on the MY23 MU-X updates, Sato says they will broaden the model’s appeal and cement its place as one of the top-choices in the large, seven-seat SUV segment.
“Similar to the 2023 D-MAX stablemate — which it shares much of its DNA with — these updates have been fuelled by customer feedback, adding more value and features to an already value-packed vehicle, without the need of a price increase,” Sato adds, referring to the fact that MY23 D-MAX and MU-X pricing is unchanged from 2022.
The addition of three extra variants to the D-MAX one-tonne ute range brings the total options to 27, with the new trio all on the “tradesman” SX grade and powered by the smaller and more frugal ‘RZ4E-TC’ 1.9-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. The additions consist of a 4x2 crew cab chassis, 4x2 crew cab ute and 4x4 crew cab ute, all of which were previously unavailable with the 1.9 engine as an SX.
All the existing D-MAX model grades – SX, LS-M, LS-U, LS-U+ and X-Terrain - will now automatically disable Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert when a trailer is attached, using sensors that recognise when the trailer’s wiring harness is attached. The Lane Support System remains driver switchable.
All MY23 D-MAX utes (ie. non-cab chassis bodies) will receive Tailgate Assist, which adds a gas strut for easy, one-hand operation of the tailgate, while LS-U, LS-U+ and X-Terrain grades introduce a new Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.
Cosmetic changes for the 2023 model year start with a new design treatment of the D-MAX grille, accented by different finishes depending on model grade - two-tone black on the SX, two-tone black and grey on the LS-M, two-tone grey and chrome on the LS-U and LS-U+, and two-tone dark grey on the X-TERRAIN. On the latter, the LED rear combination lights are also trimmed in dark grey metallic, rather than chrome.
Wheel designs have been refreshed for all bar the SX grade, with the LS-M debuting new six-spoke 17-inch alloys in a light grey finish, while the LS-U and LS-U+ introduce a new style of 18-inch alloys with a machined finish that changes to a dark grey metallic on the X-Terrain.
Changes inside include an updated selection of seat trims, with “high grade” cloth on the LS-M and LS-U, and leather-accented trim on the LS-U+ and X-Terrain. Contrasting red stitching remains exclusive to the X-Terrain.
2023 D-MAX updates – grade by grade
In terms of grade-specific updates, the SX grade crew cab bodies (ute and cab chassis) add a second USB port for rear seat occupants, bringing the entry-level D-MAX into line with model grades above. A new colour option, Neptune Blue mica, will also be available on the D-MAX SX for 2023, bringing the colour choices to five.
The D-MAX LS-M adds the interior and exterior styling tweaks already mentioned, that include dark grey metallic trim on the fog lights.
The LS-U introduces chrome mirror caps to complement the chrome door and tailgate handles already offered, while the Dunlop tyres from the LS-M are upgraded to Bridgestones. Along with the Neptune Blue mica from the SX, the LS-U also offers a new Moonstone White pearl paint option, for seven exterior colour choices.
The LS-U+ adds the aforementioned new seat design with leather trim, as does the X-Terrain, with the latter taking the dark grey metallic trim for the grille and tail lights and also applying it to this grade’s sports bar, front and rear spoilers, sidesteps, mirror caps, door and tailgate handles, wheelarch flares and roof rails.
The X-Terrrain also introduces a new colour option of Granite Grey mica, adding to the grade-exclusive Volcano Amber metallic and all other D-MAX colour options.
D-MAX pricing for 2023 is unchanged from the 2022 range, starting at $32,200 for the SX single cab chassis 4x2 1.9 manual, with the cheapest MY23 4x4 D-MAX variant the SX single cab chassis 3.0 manual at $42,200.
LS-M pricing starts at $53,800, LS-U at $53,000 and LS-U+ at $63,500, while the X-Terrain remains the premium D-MAX grade at $67,500.
Special driveaway pricing for the extreme ends of the MY23 D-MAX range offers a saving of $210 on the SX single cab chassis 4x2 1.9 manual ($31,990 driveaway) and $2,510 on the X-Terrain ($64,990 driveaway).
Local delivery of the 2023 D-MAX range is due to commence in December.
Already a popular choice in the ‘SUV Large <$70K’ segment, there wasn’t too much that needed changing on the MU-X seven seater for 2023, but like the D-MAX, the changes that have been introduced for the coming year are the result of customer feedback, says Isuzu UTE Australia.
“In a market where some manufacturers have removed features to meet delivery timeframes or increased pricing, we’ve worked closely with the factory to ensure we maintain the high-level of specification without compromise, which has been paramount in meeting customer expectations and delivering on our award-winning customer satisfaction,” said Isuzu UTE Australia Managing Director, Hiroyasu Sato.
All the existing MU-X grades – LS-M, LS-U and LS-T – carry over for 2023, as does the standard 3.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, six-speed automatic transmission and availability of 4x2 or 4x4 drive across the range. The MU-X’s 3.5-tonne braked towing capacity remains unchanged for 2023, too.
As the second-generation MU-X launched barely 18 months ago, there’s nothing major applied for 2023, with the upgrades being primarily cosmetic.
Practical changes applicable to all MU-X grades include the disabling of the Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert when a trailer’s attached, as applied to the D-MAX utes.
As part of what Isuzu UTE Australia calls a “darker design aesthetic,” a new-look grille and new tail light trim have been applied range-wide, replacing chrome trim. Finishes on the grille vary, depending on the grade. All the other MU-X updates for 2023 are grade-specific, like new wheel designs, a hands-free tailgate, new tail light trim and new interior trim.
2023 MU-X updates – grade by grade
On the entry-level MU-X LS-M, changes for 2023 start with a new design for the grade’s 17-inch alloy wheels, which are fitted with all-terrain tyres as standard.
The new-look grille is finished in two-tone black, with dark metallic trim applied to the tail lights.
On the mid-level LS-U, the grille is finished in a combination of magnetite and black chrome, with magnetite also applied to the foglamp trim, roof rails, rear bumper and sidesteps. Tail lights get the same dark metallic trim as the LS-M. Inside, the magnetite finish is added to the dash and doorcards.
The LS-U gains a hands-free power tailgate as standard for 2023, along with tyre pressure monitoring, and there’s a new colour option of Galaxy Blue mica, extending the colour choices on this grade to eight.
On the top-level LS-T, all the cosmetic and spec upgrades from the LS-U apply, with a few minor alterations and additions. These include the magnetite exterior trim finish extending to the front bumper, while a new 20-inch alloy wheel design features machined surfaces and comes with Bridgestone all-terrain tyres as standard.
All the premium LS-T features, like leather-accented seats on all three rows, power-adjustable and heated front seats, ambient interior lighting and remote starting, carry over from the current version.
Like the 2023 D-MAX range, local delivery of the 2023 MU-X begins in December, with pricing unchanged from 2022. That means $48,900 for the LS-M in 4x2 form (rising to $54,900 for 4x4), $55,400 for the LS-U 4x2 ($61,400 for 4x4) and $61,400 for the LS-T ($67,400 for 4x4).
All pricing excludes ORCs, but there is currently a drive away offer on the MU-X LS-T 4x4 of $65,990 - a saving of $1,410 on the premium grade’s list price.
See your Isuzu UTE Australia dealer for more details.