Has The Isuzu D-Max V-Cross Pricing Opened The Door For More Pickups In India?
The Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux are prime candidates to cater to the needs of adventure-lifestyle buyers in India
When Isuzu launched the D-Max V-Cross in 2016, in one sole variant priced at Rs 12.49 lakh, it finally answered the call from adventure-lifestyle buyers in India who had been asking for a pickup truck that could function as the family car as well. The 2021 D-Max V-Cross has now been launched with a BS6 compliant powertrain and the top-spec autoamtic 4WD variant now stretches up to Rs 24.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Tamil Nadu). At these prices, it could make a case for other brands to also introduce their globally popular pickups in India as the D-Max right now is the sole lifestyle pickup truck here.
The D-Max V-Cross’ price hike of Rs 12 lakh includes a lot of updates over that five year period, including a mild facelift in 2019. Its new BS6-compliant diesel engine is more powerful and less polluting than the one it replaces, and it comes with an automatic option too. Isuzu introduced the premium variant of the V-Cross in 2018 with more safety tech and features such as cruise control, leather seats, power adjustable driver’s seat and electronic stability control.
Of the current automotive brands in India, Toyota and Ford would be the most likely to introduce their double-cab pickups as competitive alternatives to the Isuzu D-Max range. The Ford Ranger shares mechanicals and interior with the Endeavour SUV. Meanwhile, the iconic Toyota Hilux pickup has commonalities with its SUV counterpart, the Fortuner. There’s also a new-gen of the D-Max on sale in select countries and is expected here in the coming years.
These three pickups are direct rivals of each other in other Asian markets where they’re available. For instance, in Malaysia, they are all priced between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh (based on direct conversions from local prices listed on the brands’ Malaysian websites). The Isuzu D-Max, in its latest avatar, with the same 1.9-litre diesel engine is the most affordable, and the Ranger Wildtrak that shares the Endeavour’s powertrain is the most expensive.
While the Ranger, D-Max and Hilux lose the third row of seats compared to their SUV avatars, they offer a different type of practicality with their loading bays. This space can be used not only for adventurous getaways from the city, it also allows owners to ferry heavy goods or raw materials with ease. All these pickups also tend to be heavily customisable with both official and third party accessories to suit individual needs.
Even though the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross is unlikely to enjoy high volume sales, its pricing has certainly opened the doors for its target customers to spend north of Rs 25 lakh for a pickup. Given that Ford and Toyota pickups share a lot of bits with their locally assembled SUV models, they could introduce those pickups here in a similar price range to rival the D-Max. With their premium cabins, proven build quality and capable drivetrains, we are hopeful these pickups could find more takers in India who were previously limited to SUVs only.
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