2021 Isuzu Hi-Lander Review: Back to Basics

Nikhil Bhatia

2021 Isuzu Hi-Lander: What is it?

First, the bad news. This is not the brand new Isuzu D-Max pickup that was sold abroad last year. The next-generation model is still some time away from its launch in India. good news? The long-lost Isuzu pickup finally returned to the showroom. Although the BS6 emission standard came into effect on April 1, 2020, Isuzu’s BS6-compliant models for private buyers have only just begun to be sold.

The update is limited to the engine. The old 2.5-liter diesel engine has completely withdrawn from the series, making the new generation 1.9 diesel engine the only engine offered. In BS6-spec, the engine produces 163hp and 360Nm, which is a rise of 13hp and 10Nm.

Prices have also increased, with prices of comparable models rising by nearly 300,000 rupees. In general, the BS6 pickup product line offered by Isuzu to private buyers includes Hi-Lander (1,705 thousand rupees, ex-showroom), V-Cross Z 4×2 AT (2.006 million rupees), and V-Cross Z 4×4 MT (2.107 million rupees). Rs) and V-Cross Z Prestige 4×4 AT (Rs 2.46 lakh).

The focus here is the new entry-level Isuzu D-Max Hi-Lander version.

2021 Isuzu Hi-Lander: What does it look like?

It is rare to see an Isuzu pickup without a high degree of customization, but even according to the V-Cross standard of the factory specifications, the entry-level Hi-Lander looks very natural. Except for the tailgate release, there are no chrome details, the headlights are basic halogen lamps, and even the wheels have simple plastic covers. Even the pedals are not part of the standard package. In other words, some buyers may actually see their Hi-Lander as a blank canvas suitable for visual renewal. Our test vehicle is equipped with a hard cover for the cargo box, and you can also specify a canopy from Isuzu’s own accessories list.

Hi-Lander gets the least chrome details.

The Isuzu Hi-Lander is about 5.3m long and 1.9m wide, taking up a lot of space. The huge size gives Hi-Lander authority on the road, and many people will agree that few models have the cool quotient of pickup trucks. However, if you buy Hi-Lander because it has the advantages of a pickup truck, you should know that its official rated capacity is 215 kg, although you may be able to carry more. The cargo compartment is large but quite high, so loading/unloading is not the easiest; plastic bed liners do help to slide items in/out. However, you need to secure the goods in place.

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The cargo hold is rated to carry 215 kg; the hard cover is an accessory.

2021 Isuzu Hi-Lander: What’s it like inside?

Given that Hi-Lander is so high off the ground (pun intended), it is recommended to choose a pedal to ease the entry and exit. You also need to spend some extra money on audio systems that are not included. What sounds shocking is that the Hi-Lander, which is worth 1.7 million rupees, does not have an internal adjustable rearview mirror. A short list of comfort and convenience features includes power windows on all four doors, central locking, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, adjustable headrests (front and rear), manual air conditioning, and more. In terms of safety, dual airbags and reversing radar are standard equipment, and it is commendable that the rear seats have received ISOFIX child seat brackets.

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Hi-Lander has almost no decoration in the cabin. The plastic feels durable.

Hi-Lander may lack decoration, but the interior is actually pretty good. The dashboard is simple in design, equipped with a double glove box and pop-up cup holder, even practical. For durable pickups, the cabin quality is also very good. The plastic has a durable feel, and the panel gap is tight and consistent.

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The rear seats provide good cushioning and plenty of legroom.

Drivers will love their seats and the magnificent view of the road ahead. However, if you are not used to a vehicle of this size, seeing so many pickups behind you in the rearview mirror can be daunting. The rear seats are comfortable, with good cushioning and plenty of legroom. The backrest angle is upright, but it will not make your passengers uncomfortable. The rear USB port and 12V socket ensure that the device is charged. When not in use, the 60:40 rear seat base can be flipped to free up considerable luggage space in the cabin.

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The seat base can be folded to make room for luggage.

2021 Isuzu Hi-Lander: What is it like to drive?

Hi-Lander may be positioned as a pickup truck suitable for urban buyers, but the truth is that Isuzu pickups are not the friendliest vehicle in town. The huge size, heavy steering and large turning circles make driving and parking very troublesome, and the rear visibility is limited (there is no reversing camera on the Hi-Lander), and you need an observer to make a three-point turn.

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1.9 liters of diesel can produce 163 horsepower and 360 Nm; provide good traction from low revs

Putting this aside, let’s talk about performance. Hi-Lander pairs Isuzu’s 163hp and 360Nm 1.9-liter diesel engine with a 6-speed manual transmission, which only sends power to the rear wheels. The engine speed is not fast or exciting, but it doesn’t need to be. Low speeds in the RPM range have good traction, which is exactly what you need in vehicles that carry heavy loads. The easy handling of the engine also means that you can usually drive in a higher gear at a given speed. Also, because shifting requires effort and the clutch is heavy. There is no benefit in speeds exceeding 2,500 rpm. Keep the speed below this mark and you will even appreciate the engine’s improvements. It clicks when idle and can always be heard, but it is not as loud as the diesel pickup truck you would expect.

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Hi-Lander only provides manuals; shifting gears requires effort.

However, the ride comfort met expectations. Low-speed bumps are well absorbed, but even at moderate city speeds, Hi-Lander will feel resilient, especially when the leaf spring rear suspension is unloaded. Potholes in high-speed driving can cause severe tremors. The processing is also lazy.

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Riding is more flexible at medium city speeds, so there is no load behind

Off-road ability? If you are just an “adventurer” on social media, then Hi-Lander will provide you with a good service. Of course, the trapezoidal frame chassis can withstand blows, and the thick 245/70 R16 tires and plenty of ground clearance will allow you to try gentle off-road trails in sunny weather. If your use case requires proper off-road capabilities, you need to significantly increase your budget for V-Cross 4×4 MT.

2021 Isuzu Hi-Lander: Should you buy one?

The Isuzu Hi-Lander is one of the vehicles where the longer you spend on it. However, objectively speaking, it is difficult to provide a strong reason for it. Of course, for small business owners, it can be used well as a pickup truck to transport goods, but there are more affordable options to do the job. Hi-Lander will be purchased primarily as a lifestyle vehicle, and from this perspective, its price is too expensive for what it offers.

Using 4×4 Hi-Lander at the same price point would be a very superior proposal and a good foundation. However, Isuzu Hi-Lander is not fully in place.

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