Redefining the standards for safety, the All-New Isuzu D-Max is the first vehicle to be tested in Australasia against the new stringent 2020 ANCAP testing and rating criteria—achieving a maximum 5 star safety rating across the entire Isuzu D-Max range.

In September 2020, Australasian’s leading independent vehicle safety authority, ANCAP SAFETY published a 5 star safety rating for the All-New Isuzu D-Max, praising it for re-establishing “the safety benchmark for the competitive ute segment.”

“The D-MAX rating has been highly anticipated by fleet and private buyers, and re-establishes the safety benchmark for the competitive ute segment which has traditionally tended to lag that of passenger cars and SUVs,” said ANCAP Director of Communications and Advocacy, Rhianne Robson.

In the official ANCAP statement announcing the maximum 5 star safety rating result, ANCAP commended Isuzu for democratising safety across the entire range, stating that “all variants in the D-Max range – single cab, space cab, double cab, and cab chassis – provide the same high level safety features, technologies and performance as standard.”

“It is reassuring to see manufacturers take responsibility and prioritise safety to provide their customers with the safest vehicles they can,” Mrs Robson said.

The welcomed announcement by ANCAP comes just days after Isuzu Utes New Zealand announced its mid-October arrival, reinforcing the expectation that the Isuzu D-Max was tipped to be one of the safest vehicles on New Zealand roads.

For 2020, ANCAP overhauled their testing regime, to better reflect common crash scenarios and the types of vehicles that Australasians were driving—evolving the testing protocols to capture a broader range of injury risk scenarios and encouraging the fitment of safety features to help minimise those risks. The new Isuzu D-Max was the first vehicle tested by ANCAP in Australasia, scoring top marks in the majority of disciplines, to earn the maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

“Our 2020 requirements again set the bar higher to promote further vehicle safety improvements and address some of the new challenges on our roads,” said Mrs Robson.

Some of the new additions to the ANCAP test and rating criteria included an increase to both speed and mass of the striking vehicle to better reflect the increased mass of the vehicles on the road today, and new Far-Side Occupant Protection tests, to assess occupant safety during side impact crashes.

D-Max ANCAP Safety Test

The All-New Isuzu D-Max has been extensively constructed using ultra-high and high tensile steel for increased body and chassis strength, with large deformation zones around the cabin capable of absorbing high-energy impact forces during a collision.

With double cab utes proving popular amongst families with young children, all D-Max Double Cab models are fitted with capacity to accommodate two ISOFix child seats, and recorded a score of 44 out of 49 points or 89% for Child Occupant Protection, which is among one of the highest scores awarded by ANCAP.

The All-New Isuzu D-Max is also the first ute and one of a small handful of vehicles to introduce an additional centre airbag across the entire range; including the entry-level Single Cab Chassis LX. Comprising of dual front, dual side, dual full-length curtain, a front knee and a centre (far-side) airbag, these supplementary restraint systems (SRS) have been designed to offer maximum impact protection for occupants within the D-Max. Embedded within the inner-side of the driver’s seat is a new centre airbag, designed as a countermeasure during side-impacts to protect both front occupants from colliding with each other and from external intrusion into the cabin during a severe side impact.

“ANCAP’s new far-side impact testing has been introduced to assist in reducing occupant-to-vehicle and occupant-to-occupant interaction and injury in cases where the crash impact occurs on the opposite side to the driver,” said Mrs Robson.

Far-side impact performance equates to 10.5% of the Adult Occupant Protection component of the ANCAP score, with the All-New Isuzu D-Max scoring a solid 3.5 out of 4 points in this area.

With 8 airbags within the cabin, including a new far-side (centre) airbag, the Isuzu D-Max recorded a score of 83% for Adult Occupant Protection.

Expanding the testing regime to cover a broader range of likely injury scenarios, the 2020 ANCAP requirements increase focus on active safety assist technologies and pedestrian and cyclist safety, as part of the updated Vulnerable Road User Protection score. 

Encompassing a comprehensive suite of driver assistance technologies, Isuzu’s Intelligent Driver Assistance System (IDAS) utilises radar sensors and an advanced 3D stereo binocular camera system that precisely detects and measures distance, size, velocity and depth of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other potential obstacles around the D-Max. Proving to be more accurate and effective than a monocular camera and radar system, Isuzu’s IDAS enables advanced active safety systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Turn Assist, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK) and many more potentially life-saving features. Engineered for Australasian conditions, IDAS has seen extensive localised testing, enabling Isuzu engineers to finely calibrate functions such as TSR, LKA, LDW and ELK for Australasian roads.

With a focus on occupant and the safety of other road users, Isuzu is among the first to introduce AEB with Turn Assist, with the system able to autonomously brake at intersections to avoid driving into the path of an oncoming vehicle. With this new active safety technology standardised across every D-Max, the Isuzu D-Max recorded a score of 81% for Safety Assist.

IDAS is complimented by a suite of standardised safety and driver assistance systems across all D-Max models, including a Reversing Camera, Driver Attention Assist, automatic wipers and automatic headlights with automatic high beam control. LS-M, LS and X-TERRAIN models benefit from Bi-LED headlights with LED daytime running lights. With surveys indicating that close to half of all Isuzu owners tow with their vehicle, the complete Isuzu D-Max range comes equipped with a towing capacity of up to 3,500kg and Trailer Sway Control (TSC). Although not a discipline that is tested by ANCAP, this active safety feature intervenes if trailer sway is detected to bring the trailer back under control, and is testament to Isuzu’s commitment to manufacturing safe vehicles for our roads.

Equipped with class-leading levels of safety equipment as standard, ANCAP commended Isuzu on developing the new D-Max with a strong and specific focus on safety.

“We’ve tended to see vehicles in the ute segment introduce safety upgrades iteratively throughout mid-cycle upgrades, whereas the D-Max has been designed with some of the highest levels of safety from the outset,” remarked Mrs Robson.

Achieving the maximum 5 star ANCAP rating against the strictest protocols and standards has always been a core goal for the All-New Isuzu D-Max, with Isuzu Engineers focusing the development to meet Australasian’s stringent safety standards.

“Safety has always been of paramount importance to us at Isuzu Utes New Zealand, and with standardised levels of safety and driver assistance technologies previously unseen in a ute, we are very pleased with the All-New D-Max achieving the top safety rating against the newer, tougher testing criteria,” said Isuzu Utes New Zealand General Manager, Sam Waller.

“Our customers can reassuringly drive away knowing this D-Max is equipped with cutting-edge safety systems to keep them out of trouble at a moment’s notice. And given double cab utes are proving a popular family vehicle, receiving one of the highest scores awarded by ANCAP for Child Occupant Protection will no doubt be very comforting for families.”

From the beginning, the Isuzu engineering and design team have been working in co-operation with ANCAP to ensure the All-New Isuzu D-Max is up to the current and future safety standards.

The All-New Isuzu D-Max is available mid-October from Isuzu Ute Dealerships, each equipped as standard with the full suite of standardised safety and driver assistance technologies that has earned its place as the safest vehicle in class, with a maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating as tested in 2020.