“The new Isuzu D-MAX has 19% better fuel efficiency than its already super-efficient predecessor” That was the statement Isuzu Malaysia CEO Kyoya Kondo proudly made in his speech introducing the new pick-up. With most companies, the claim is made and then it is left to customers to experience lower running costs.

However, Isuzu Malaysia decided that they would not just make the claim but also prove it. The mission was straightforward – just fill up the 76-litre tank in Bangkok, seal it and take a long drive south without refilling. How far do you think the D-MAX got after leaving the Thai capital? All the way to Kuala Lumpur  on just one tankful of Thai diesel fuel (which is better quality than Malaysian fuel)!


Flag-off from Bangkok

The mission was called the ‘Dura-Miles Challenge 2007’ and was a bold attempt to prove a point. “The new D-Max on paper is more fuel-efficient. We had already proven the capability of the old model previously and we thought we should try to achieve something even more significant with the new one,” said Mr Kondo.

Earlier. Isuzu Malaysia had also done fuel efficiency runs with the previous D-MAX in Peninsular Malaysia and also in Sabah and Sarawak using the 2.5-litre 4×2 variant. On one of the runs from Kuala Lumpur to Johor, back up the highway to Kedah and then returning to KL, the total distance of 1,401 kms was covered on one 76-litre tankful of diesel.

Another drive in East Malaysia in April last year covered a distance of 1,290 kms and this was done  with a 3-litre 4×4 version proving that, despite the larger displacement and greater power output, showed the Isuzu D-MAX to be an ‘inflation beater’.


“We wanted a new challenge for the new D-MAX and during a meeting, someone came up with an idea to drive from Bangkok, the spiritual home of the D-Max all the way to KL. Everyone had a good laugh as it sounded impossible but when we talked about it more seriously, the idea for the Dura-Miles Challenge became reality,” said project coordinator Wan Zaqi Zacary.



“We were quite confident that the 2.5 litre would make the journey as it had already been proven to be the fuel economy standard. However, the 3-litre was really put to the test as not only did it need to complete over 1,500 kms in the journey but it also had to contend with heavy traffic in Bangkok, lorries and buses along the main road in Thailand and of course, the possibility of civil unrest in the southern parts of Thailand!” added Zaqi.



On the morning of July 2 2007,  two Malaysian-assembled D-MAX trucks (which had been driven up from Malaysia prior to the event) had their fuel systems and engine operations inspected by Taufik Abu Bakar, a Technical Officer from the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) who was on hand to ensure that the cars were standard units, driven on their own power and that no refueling was carried out throughout the journey. After the vehicles’ fuel systems and bonnets were sealed, the team was flagged off.


AAM official sealed fuel lid before the start of the drive and then followed both vehicles all the way back to KL

The power of the D-MAX demonstrated on Thai roads!

First off was the 2.5-litre D-MAX driven by Isuzu Malaysia’s Planning Executive Lee Han Kee followed by the 3-litre and the AAM observer in a third car. The cars clocked approximately 750 kms on their first day, reaching  Thung Song, a small town across the border. The next day, the cars crossed the border into Malaysia and made the second overnight stop in Sungai Petani before driving on the third day for Kuala Lumpur. The average speed for the whole journey was 80 km/h.


“I was quite nervous towards the end because the fuel warning light came on near Behrang and it was quite unnerving driving with so little fuel left in the tank!” said Mr Lee.


The management team of Isuzu Malaysia had already gathered at the Jalan Duta toll plaza, all ready to greet the cars with bated breath and a sigh of relief came when Mr Chin, in the lead truck announced their arrival with a “hello Kuala Lumpur” over the walkie-talkie.


E is for ENOUGH for a journey of 1,501 kms
on just one tankful of 76 litres

Isuzu Malaysia CEO K. Kondo welcomes driver
Bernard Chin after an impressive drive

“It was an amazing achievement for the D-MAX, especially considering the new 3-litre that drove the total distance of 1,501kms was a 4×4 model. It really proved the capability of new 3-litre i-TEQ Super Commonrail engine that offers the optimum balance of power, refinement and fuel economy,” said an elated Mr Kondo.


Encik Taufik, who was witness to the feat, had this to say: “It is remarkable that the D-MAX was driven throughout the journey with just one tank of fuel. I would not have believed it had I not seen it myself!”


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