The Isuzu D-Max has the capability to do a hard day’s work in the fields and still be fashionable enough to collect the kids on the school run. It’s big, beefy and it feels indestructible. There is a choice of trims and this pick-up is excellent value for money.
The goodGo anywhere ability, competitively priced and very practical
The badPick-up segment has lots of great models these days
Isuzu D-Max 1.9 Blade Auto 4×4 Double Cab
Having lost the beloved Land Rover Discovery as the obvious farmer’s choice as a workhorse, more buyers are looking towards pick-up trucks to fill the gap and one such model is attracting plenty of attention – the Isuzu D-Max.
We Brits love versatility and the pick-up offers that in spades with twin or single cab variants along with open or covered backs that deliver go-anywhere capabilities and a rough and readiness to take on a working lifestyle.
Admittedly, potential buyers are spoilt for choice with the likes of the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200 competing for sales. But the Isuzu model is definitely worth a look too.
It features all the workhorse practicalities necessary from such a vehicle, but as you move up through the extensive range, the number of luxuries and refinements increase accordingly along the way.
The entry level D-Max is priced at just £15,749 (excluding VAT), which is very competitive within the segment. But we opted for the top-of-the-range Blade model with twin cab, 4×4 capabilities and all the connectivity and techno treats you could wish for.
This particular model was priced at £27,999 (increased to £29,114 with options fitted). There is no official 0-62mph time as Isuzu classes the D-Max as a commercial vehicle, but it has a maximum speed of 112mph. And according to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 205g/km.
Perhaps more importantly the sort of figures that will interest this vehicle’s buyers is the towing capacity of 3,500kg, its 1.101kg payload, ground clearance of 235mm and its angles of approach and departure of 30 and 23 degrees.
The D-Max certainly looks the business too thanks to its aggressive rough and ready styling, 18-inch alloys, roof bars, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, dark grey radiator grille, body-coloured front bumper, gun metal side steps and tinted windows.
Move inside and the interior is generously-equipped with plenty of on-board technology. Features include a 9-inch colour touchscreen with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, air conditioning and lots more besides. I particularly liked the dust caps that covered the USB ports – after all, this is a working vehicle.
A simple rotary dial is used to engage four-wheel-drive and low range gears and all controls are ideally positioned for ease of use. There is a lot of hard plastic on display which, despite looking a tad cheap, is still practical and can be wiped clean.
The D-Max is powered by a 1.9-litre, 164bhp diesel engine and mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Despite its larger-than-life dimensions, it is deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre, but be warned – you will need a couple of parking bays due to its overall length of almost 5.3 metres.
Out on the open road and faster motorways, the D-Max was a delight to drive with good road-holding even when pushed into bends. The acceleration was good and there was plenty of power on tap at all times. The gear changing proved smooth enough unless driven with a heavy right boot when there will be quite a lot of revving sound and very little response until the next gear clicks in.
And the D-Max is actually well insulated against outside noise and the highly efficient suspension system easily absorbs any bumps.
The loading bay on the test car had a sliding lockable canopy. Once the tailgate was lowered the cover could be released by pulling on a chord. Pulling the cover back again also proved a simple operation. There are also numerous storage options scattered throughout the cabin, including a double glovebox, practical door pockets, a deep central bin and cup holders.
Isuzu has packed a comprehensive range of safety features into the D-Max too, including anti-lock brakes, hill start assist, electronic stability control, hill descent control, electronic brakeforce distribution, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and numerous airbags.
All in all, the latest D-Max is a fabulous vehicle that is as at home on the Tarmac as it is wading through streams. It may not be quite so refined as some rivals, but it has plenty of all-round appeal including a very tempting starting price.