An Isuzu official has confirmed the Japanese company benchmarked its new D-Max against both the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, the sales leaders in this bakkie segment in many major markets.

Speaking to CarsGuide, Isuzu spokesperson Eiji Mitsuhashi said the automaker had the segment’s most popular bakkies squarely in its sights when it was developing the new D-Max.

"The Toyota Hilux, and also Ford vehicles, were the benchmark for this car," Mitsuhashi told the publication.

"The D-Max is now also widely demanded as a passenger vehicle, so we also have to take that into consideration," he added.

Revealed in Thailand in October 2019, the fresh-faced D-Max is powered by a “newly developed” version of the Japanese firm’s familiar 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine, with peak outputs hiked to 140 and 450 N.m.

While Thailand is already building the new D-Max, Isuzu Motors South Africa earlier told CARmag.co.za it was “engaging” with the brand’s head office in Japan in a bid to secure production of the newcomer at its Struandale factory in Port Elizabeth.

The next-generation Mazda BT-50 will, of course, share much with this new D-Max thanks to an agreement signed by the two companies in 2016.