Isuzu 2007-2012 vs Isuzu 2018 as a Life Style Car

Ladies and gentlemen... In the Blue Corner of the ring we have the old lumbering agricultural 2.5l Beast. 

In the Green Corner of the ring we have the new contestant - Model 2018 D-Max Yukon Nav+. It can be best described using one of my dad old gags. He used to joke when I was little: "Is the Crocodile longer than greener or greener than longer". This Crocodile, ladies and gentlemen, is both greener and longer.

Which one will win?

Ride comforts

  • Motorway, sedated granny (65 mph as reported by speedo, right before the turbo kicks in - really 62mph): the old lumbering beast wins hands down. It is virtually silent (especially after noise reduction measures), composed, virtually no body roll, no vibrations. Like big old classy limo. The new one with its softer suspension and lower profile tyres does not get anywhere near. It is no vomit comet like the HiLux, but it is not the old Beast either. It can, however be made quieter (not surprising). It takes at least 7m^2+ of foam to get there.
  • Motorway, Europe.
    • High speed: At autobahn speeds (90+ mph as reported by GPS, 95-100 on speedo) they are similar. The new one is a little bit quieter. Once noise reduction has been taken into account the difference is insignificant. The new one will literally destsroy oil if driven above 90mph on the speedo. You will need to change after 4500K miles (not even 6k). The old one was actually much better behaved at speed and lasted to its spec-ed interval.
    • Normal speed: At 85mph the new one wins - having a 6th gear definitely helps.
  • In town. That is the only part where the new one rules. The smaller (1.9) engine and significantly lower vibrations in idle provide for significantly better "traffic jam experience".
  • Dirt track at speed. The old one wins hands down. I have floored it at up to 40+ mph on a mountain dirt/gravel track without the passengers feeling like they are at Alton Towers. New one, with the new softer suspension - do not even think about it.
  • Offroad. The new one is at least as good if not better if you do not forget to punch the traction off button when switching to 4x4 mode. By default traction is on and it makes it be all over the place even in a little bit of mud. The new one also has full sump and engine underside protection by default, not just the optional "shield" the old one used to have.
  • Winter Driving. With proper tyres the old one was the king of the road on snow. A few years back I had one of the highway agency Landrovers sent to "put me in order" because I was overtaking people in 10cm of untreated fresh snow on the M25 (with no issues by the way). While I had snowchains for countries where they insist on them, they never had to be used even during mid-winter trips. The old one was also fairly easy to preheat without a permanent mod using an imported Kat's magnetic heater. The new one's sump is significantly more difficult to access thanks to the improved protection. It is just about possible to sneak a small 200W magnetic preheat in-between the protection shield and the sump and attach it. With the sump properly protected, a permanent 125W Wolverine install looks like a viable option as well. A permanent heater is something not advisable on the old one due to the very high risk of it being damaged while off-road.
  • Driving on the Continent (or for people in Europe - driving in Britain). Both models are OK in terms of visibility so there is very little issues from the wheel being on the wrong side. The new one however, has a massive issue with the headlights. They do not have small "horns" shining up and to the "roadside" like all lights. They are huge fully lit sectors. To add insult to injury the instructions for light deflectors are a load of fresh manure. If you put them as it shows on the picture you will be blinding people. This makes it necessary to use the "Eastern European MOT" style of Tuning Deflectors procedure. That works, but there is a nasty surprise at the end - once they are in place the light level is reduced so much that you can hardly see the road. This makes a light upgrade to a decent LED an absolute must before trips to the "other" side, especially in winter.
  • Parking. The old one was very close in size to a large car and with similar turning circle. You could park it anywhere one can park a large Audi or Merc without an issue. The new one is longer and that length is just enough to make getting out of a parking space in a parking garage which is in-between two large cars nearly impossible. You really need to plan your "escape route" when parking it.

Reliability

  • The old one is hard to beat. I now realize that I drove it for nearly 25K miles and a year including 4 trips across Europe with a busted turbo which was not getting any oil. It was still going. On a wing, a prayer, but still going. While at it - if your turbodiesel fuel consumption starts looking like a random number table, you have a turbo problem. Fuel consumption variation measured over long (50miles +) distances is something which indicates a turbo issue long before you can pick it up from boost data.
  • The new one feels significantly more "flimsy" - it is way more complex and in some areas not for its own good. This is beside the wonderful stereo which can (and has for me) shutdown your engine if it feels like it (no you are not on the wrong web page, we are talking Isuzu, not Fiat/Crysler). By the way, this is supposedly fixed in the latest ECU firmware, so an update to post-October 2018 version is highly recommended.

Base Comfort Level

Mixed bag - both models have roughly the same ample amount of passenger space (maybe a little bit more on the new one). The space for anything but passengers on the old one is tiny. The new one has significantly more - 2 more compartments in the front, space under the front seats, compartments under the rear seats and the same amount of space behind the rear seat. The "Honda Odyssey style" compartments are a bit of a mixed bag - they are part of a chassis detail which is carpeted only on the outside. Inside is bare metal. They present a major route for noise ingress and are a nightmare to silence. The edges of the metal which forms them are not de-burred. You are likely to get a very nasty cut if using them and/or damage stuff you store inside unless you use some "door edge trim" to make them safe.

Ease of modifying for touring

  • The new one wins hands down. There is no contest. That is actually quite rare as most new cars are more and more difficult to modify. Just try adding something which has not been "permitted by marketing" to a VW group or god forbid Renault. So why does the new one win?
    • Simple wiring harness. No canbus sh*t where not needed. You can splice, add, remove and change components as needed. You do not need to ask for special permission to change a light bulb and it does not need to be blessed by the holy VW pee. Old one was quite good as well. The newer improves on this.
    • Grommets everywhere, well designed, well located and nicely accessible. The grommet to the motor compartment is close to the battery and easily accessible from the inside. You do not need to spend half a day to run a single cable like on the old one. In addition to that there is a grommet in each footwell and two more near the seatbelt anchors for the rear seat. You can run a cable anywhere you like and anyway you like.
    • Plenty of free space in both the engine compartment and under the dash. It is no longer needed to run things to the rear wall like on the old Beast to do wiring. Hotspot, additional relays, etc can all fit under the dash and/or the trim.
    • Existing wiring looms with most key things present run all the way to the rear (for towing) and in other places).
  • There are some flies in the "new" ointment
    • Hideous seat design with longitudal spines. This makes it necessary to use at least some split heat pads most of which are not very safe as they are contiguous "wire" instead of carbon mesh.
    • Hideous front seat trim - clips in different directions, nearly impossible to disassemble without breaking one.
    • Weird overall trim fitting. While there are some classic "plastic pinetree" clips, most of the trim is held by... wait for it... the door gaskets. If you do not pry off and/or remove completely the gasket and try to take out a trim panel you will have a broken trim panel (or at least a lot of broken clips).
    • Numerous stupidities related to the stereo which is now much more difficult to replace.
    • As the engine is much quieter to start off with, Isuzu has "cost-saved" a lot on noise proofing. You need nearly double the amount of sound proofing material compared to the old one.
    • The rocker switches are not standard. That is a "pleasant surprise". The size of the rocker switch and its blanks is smaller than normal. There is no way to fit an off-the-shelf switch. In fact, it is not possible to fit a 21mm diameter round rocker by drilling into the blank either. It is too narrow even for that. So neither standard rocker switch accessories, nor accessories with switches/knobs designed to be drilled into a blank will fit straight away and some cutting of the surround may be required.