The new Isuzu D-Max has achieved a full five-star rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP), suggesting it's the safest bakkie in its segment.

While the bakkie has already launched in countries such as Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, Isuzu Motors South Africa earlier confirmed local D-Max fans would have to wait until the second half of 2021 to purchase the new-generation, locally built version. Of course, safety specs for the model set to launched in SA have yet to be confirmed.

According to the safety authority, the new D-Max “scored well across all key areas of assessment, with the standard inclusion of a front-row centre airbag for added occupant protection” being a first for the bakkie segment. In that market, the D-Max is furthermore offered with autonomous emergency braking (including pedestrian and cyclist detection), multi-collision braking and active lane-keeping support.

Overall, the D-Max scored 83 percent for adult occupant protection, 89 percent for child-occupant protection, 69 percent for vulnerable road-user protection and 81 percent for its safety assistance technology.

ANCAP says protection offered to adult occupants in the side impact and oblique pole tests was rated as “good”, with full points achieved, including for occupant-to-occupant head protection through the inclusion of the new centre airbag. Full points were likewise achieved for the protection of child occupants in the frontal offset and side impact scenarios.

How did the bakkie perform in the new, upgraded frontal offset (mobile progressive deformable barrier) test? Well, protection for the chest and left femur of the driver were assessed as “marginal”, with “all other critical body regions” for occupants rated as either “good” or “adequate”. However, the D-Max was penalised for presenting a higher risk to occupants of an oncoming vehicle.

“The D-Max rating has been highly anticipated by fleet and private buyers, and re-establishes the safety benchmark for the competitive [bakkie] segment where the introduction of safety features has tended to lag that of passenger cars and SUVs,” said Rhianne Robson, ANCAP director for communications and advocacy.

Watch the D-Max undergo its crash test in the video below...