Isuzu Motors South Africa has extended its X-Rider double-cab bakkie range to include the flagship 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine.

Until now, the X-Rider nameplate has been applied exclusively to the 2,5-litre oil-burning engine. But now the special-edition D-Max 3,0 TD X-Rider 4x2 AT has joined the local range.

The newcomer draws its urge from Isuzu’s familiar 130 kW turbodiesel unit, which generates peak twisting force of 380 N.m between 1 800 and 2 800 r/min. A six-speed automatic transmission drives the rear wheels.

Priced at R551 100, the D-Max 3,0 TD X-Rider 4x2 AT interestingly slots in below the standard 3,0 AT LX variant (which is priced from R592 800) and commands a R66 900 premium over the 2,5-litre X-Rider 4x2 AT.

So, what do you get in this latest X-Rider package? Well, the upgrade includes black roof rails, a black sports bar (complete with a red “X-Rider” logo), black running boards, a black tailgate handle (with reversing camera) and a towbar to take advantage of the 3,5-tonne braked towing capacity.

Inside, the seats are finished in black partial leather with red stitching, while an 8,0-inch AX2 touchscreen system has been fitted, too. Offered in either “Summit White”, “Switchblade Silver” or “Pull Me Over Red”, the new special-edition model rides on 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tyres. All-black alloys of the same diameter are available as a no-cost option.

“The X-Rider nameplate, which was first introduced in South Africa as a limited-edition model in 2016, has been a great success for us. Until now, we have only offered the X-Rider as a mid-range vehicle available with the 100 kW 2,5-litre engine,” said Dominic Rimmer, executive for technical services at Isuzu Motors South Africa.

“Based on the popularity of the X-Rider, we felt it would make sense to match this nameplate with our most powerful engine, while retaining the attributes which make the X-Rider so popular. The 3,0-litre X-Rider has an imposing presence on the road with a rugged and sporty look which sets it apart from regular D-Max models,” he added.

Of course, markets such as Thailand are already selling the new-generation D-Max. South African fans of the Japanese bakkie, though, will have to wait until the second half of 2021 for the new model to arrive in local dealerships, with production in Port Elizabeth scheduled to start next year.