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Test Drive: Isuzu D-Max Diablo V-Cross 3.0L – Built to raise hell


“IF you are going through hell, keep going.” This was among Winston Churchill’s famous quotes during his tenure as Britain’s prime minister.

If we were to use the aforementioned citation to describe our experience manning the 3.0-litre Isuzu D-Max Diablo, it would make all the sense in the world. In fact, if we were on the highway to hell, this pick-up truck would help us make a remarkable entrance into the abyss.

In the case of the Diablo V-Cross, the devil lies in its appearance. With a muscular build wrapped in black and seats leathered in dark red, it’s the most subtle – if not perfect – choice for the goths or for anyone who fancies a high ride without looking every inch a commercial driver.

But all things considered, we opine that in preference to the truck’s external and internal appearance, the other selling point of it is its impressive fuel efficiency.

This is one pick-up truck that just doesn’t require one to whip out pick-up lines, and also one that would give other daily high-riders a run for their money.

A beauty and a beast

IMG_3688 IMG_3685

Bold, intimidating and devilishly sexy – it’s how we’d simply describe the overall appearance of the D-Max Diablo V-Cross. This truck is only available in one colour, dubbed “Cosmic Black Mica” but what gives it an overall rebellious look are the tribal decals plastered across both its sides.

Considered by us as the pimp of the D-Max family, another component which sets the Diablo apart from the rest of its siblings are the 17-inch Lenso ‘Beastly Black’ allow wheels, giving the truck a much more individual look.

Complementing these are projector headlamps with daytime running lights as well as a front bumper guard to make the truck appear more robust and entirely more striking. At the back, the Diablo comes equipped with a D-Loc cargo cover, which effectively shields your precious cargo from the rain or from flying out of the truck especially at high speeds.

Step into the beast and find yourself attracted to the somehow simplish-ly stylish interior courtesy of the deep red leather seats. Overall, its cabin bears a slight utilitarian theme – a straightforward Blaupunkt infotainment system, automatic climate control as well as manual adjusted front seats.

We’d like to point out that although the Diablo makes one of the best choices for a high-riding daily driver, it may not come off as one of the best family vehicles. And although the passenger compartment offers the right amount of support on the whole, the back seat feels a little cramped after a while, and we’re saying so after hauling about three passengers in the back on a short road trip recently. The discomfort is further compounded by the absence of rear air-conditioning.

Still, in line with the perfectly contrasting colours and trims of the Diablo’s exterior and interior is its generally quiet cabin. As the speed picks up however, you’ll note slight signs of wind noise around the passenger windows.

Big engine, greater fuel efficiency


Here’s the thing. What’s been maintaining Isuzu’s reputation and position in the world of heavily built commercial trucks is its consistent ability in churning out fuel efficient on- and off-road vehicles.

The D-Max Diablo V-Cross’s power plant comes in the form of a 3.0-litre VGS turbo intercooler diesel engine, feeding as much as 175hp of output and 380Nm of torque to all four wheels, thus, allowing the truck to charge forth with very little effort.

Steering is a bit heavy, though, making manoeuvring an almost daunting task. As much as yours truly loves driving big boys toys, one of the things about the Diablo which required time to get used to is its 6.3m turning radius – one of the largest turning dimensions for a vehicle in its class.

As beastly as the Diablo is in terms of its engine’s performance, it returned a fuel economy figure of 8.5L/100km.

Ride and handling


Stability is an issue, especially when working around bends and corners. It veers off – slightly – any lane that is not straightly-aligned or is curvy. Speaking of which, steering, in this case, should be performed carefully.



“Scheming as the devil, twice as pretty” – the overall personality of the D-Max Diablo V-Cross, from the cosmetics to its huge yet diesel-saving engine to its large truck bed space, is what makes it a champ. This is one example of a truck that is truly efficient in more than just one area.

Specifications of the Isuzu D-Max Diablo V-Cross 3.0L

Engine: 2,999cc in-line four VGS turbo intercooler diesel
Transmission: Five-speed automatic with Sequential Shift
Max power: 175hp@3,600rpm
Max torque: 380Nm@1,800-2,800rpm
Safety features: Dual airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist, ESC,TCS, Isofix child seat anchors, anti-theft alarm system with immobiliser
Price: RM116,958 with GST plus insurance



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