After a busy April with plenty of new vehicle launches, we now have some time to dissect the features of the latest pick-up trucks in Malaysia.

The all-new third-generation Isuzu D-Max is making quite a strong presence via digital advertising and rightfully so as the product has been improved tremendously.

For this edition of comparison, we take a more detailed look at the first three pick-up models in Malaysia, which are all top-of-the-range and within the same price range.

Horsepower and torque

Let’s get the ball rolling. The all-new Isuzu D-Max 3.0L X-Terrain is powered by a new engine that is still displacing 3.0 litres and carries a price tag of RM141,938.

Whilst the output of the new engine has increased over the previous generation, 190 hp at 3,600 rpm and 450 Nm of torque at 1,600 to 2,600 rpm are still below the outputs of Toyota Hilux’s latest 2.8-litre turbodiesel.

The latest iteration of Toyota’s 1GD-FTV engine delivers 204 hp at 3,400 rpm and 500 Nm of torque. More impressive is the peak torque is generated from 1,600 rpm to 2,800 rpm. There is a premium to this performance though, as the Toyota Hilux 2.8 Rogue is priced from RM146,880.

The third model we have for the comparison is the Mitsubishi Triton Athlete 2.4 MIVEC. Being the smallest in displacement, it also has the lowest output at 181 hp and 430 Nm of torque. The engine doesn’t have a flat torque band, unlike the Isuzu or Toyota, with all 430 Nm peaking at 2,500 rpm.

But being a smaller-displacing 2.4-litre engine, the road tax in Peninsular Malaysia is also the lowest of the trio, at just RM793.60 per year with the vehicle on-the-road selling price at RM141,500.

While the data is not available here, the fuel consumption figures from the Australian market ranks the new Isuzu D-Max the best of our trio at 8.0 litres of diesel consumed per 100 km travel. The Toyota Hilux clocks 8.4 litres per 100 km, whilst the smaller 2.4-litre engine in the Mitsubishi Triton consumes 8.6 litres. The same pattern (albeit lower figures) is also seen in Thailand’s fuel consumption declaration.

Transmission and traction

All three pick-up vehicles have six-speed automatic transmission with an electronic shift-on-the-fly dial switch to select between 2WD or 4WD modes. The Mitsubishi Triton Athlete however does offer an extra fourth mode via the 4H without locking of the centre differential, instead via an oil-based viscous coupling. There are the usual 2H, 4HLc and 4LLc with the two 4WD modes locking the centre differential.

The Mitsubishi Triton Athlete’s Super Select II AWD system in 4H (four-wheel drive at highway speeds, such as windy roads that are wet or slippery) allow better cornering comfort, as the front and rear axles spin more freely via the viscous coupling which translates to a lot less vibration and noise.

Also evident is the better turning radius in the Mitsubishi Triton Athlete, requiring just 5.9 metres. View the video above for more details. 

The Mitsubishi Triton Athlete also comes with an off-road mode that controls the engine, transmission and brake control according to the conditions of gravel, mud, sand and rock. The system will perform the Brake-LSD procedure to transfer the engine torque to the wheel with the most grip (or least wheelspin).

Both the Toyota Hilux 2.8 Rogue and Isuzu D-Max 3.0 X-Terrain might not have the easy-to-use off-road mode, but they have something well-liked in the off-road community which is the electronic-locking rear differential.

Locking the rear differential means both left and right tyres will have equal amounts of torque, allowing for much better traction out of the trickiest conditions and terrain. This fully mechanical approach is better as it does not depend on the braking system which could overheat.

The aforementioned Brake-LSD or simulated LSD (limited-slip differential) is also featured in the Toyota Hilux under the name Active Traction Control (A-TRC) and Auto LSD. Isuzu meanwhile doesn’t have this feature.

Here is a tip we found from Toyota, which recommends that Hilux users switch to 4H mode and drive for about 16 km each month to keep the front drive components well lubricated. Such a procedure was not mentioned by Mitsubishi and Isuzu.

Other features

Being global vehicles, all three flagship variants of the pick-up trucks are fitted with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is only not available in the Mitsubishi Triton Athlete while Isuzu D-Max’s ACC can operate in all speed range, including stop-and-go traffic.

The Mitsubishi has a 360-degree surround bird’s eye view camera system as standard, while it is a hefty RM2,600 option in the Toyota Hilux 2.8 Rogue. Unfortunately, the large 9-inch display in the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain only displays the rear-view camera, with no option to upgrade to a surround camera system.

However, on a hot sunny day parked out in the open, the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain is the only pick-up truck that has a remote engine start feature that can turn on the engine and air-conditioning to cool the interior first, before stepping inside.    

Speaking of air-conditioning, all three models here have air-conditioning vents for the rear, but the fitment in the Mitsubishi Triton is on the ceiling and has fan speed selection.

Pricing and warranty

In the aspect of accessories, the sports bar is a cost option on all three models, plus it’s the only accessory for the Isuzu D-Max. Bedliner and tailgate assist (easy manual open and closure) are cost option in the Mitsubishi Triton, while Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max include the bedliner in its retail price.

As such, ticking all the accessories (360-degree camera, tailgate assist and sportsbar) in the Toyota Hilux 2.8 Rogue bumps the retail price to RM152,020, with warranty coverage of five-year/ 150,000 km. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi Triton Athlete arrives at a price tag of RM147,225 and warranty coverage of five-year/200,000 km.

As mentioned earlier, the bedliner and tailgate assist is already included as standard in the Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain, as such, including the sports bar prices the vehicle at RM143,258. The Isuzu D-Max 3.0 X-Terrain is the only pick-up truck with a seven-year/unlimited mileage warranty coverage.

So there you have it, with more detailed information about the performance of these new pick-up trucks in Malaysia. A few features that are standard in Isuzu and Mitsubishi are found to be optional in the Toyota, as such, happy shopping for the best deals!