Motoring: Road Test by Mark Slack Isuzu D-Max

Isuzu D-Max - looks the part, something a bit different and a surprisingly sensible choice.

Isuzu D-Max – looks the part, something a bit different and a surprisingly sensible choice.

If you have noticed a fair number of rather smart pick-up trucks on the road, that don’t look like they’ve spent much time in the local building supplies yard, you would probably be right. Manufacturers have realised that a pick-up with good levels of standard equipment and a variety of optional hard tops and accessories can appeal to a whole new range of potential buyers. Add in the possibility of all-wheel-drive and the chance to carry 5 people, as well as a decent load bay and towing ability, and the appeal is obvious.

Isuzu have long been a ‘go to’ manufacturer for those wanting a comfortable and hard-working pick-up. Good standard equipment with excellent accessory packs and options means the Isuzu D-Max range can cover every scenario from building site to trendy wine bar. The range is essentially split into two halves, the business line-up and the V-Cross and Artic models and there are single, extended and double cab options. Prices start at €25,690/£21,999 and peak at €56,058/£47,999.

Power comes from a 4-cylicinder 1.9-ltre turbo diesel that propels the Isuzu well for such a large vehicle. Inevitably though the benchmark 62 mph doesn’t arrive particularly quickly at 12.7 seconds in manual and 13 seconds with automatic transmission. To be fair it doesn’t actually feel that pedestrian and in automatic form provides smooth changes, although a tad hesitant when kick-down is required.

With an empty load bay the D-Max does bounce around on rougher surfaces but things are better with a weight in the rear. For such a large vehicle the D-Max is an easy drive and can be piloted through bends with much more aplomb than might be expected of a pick-up truck. Bouncy unladen weight ride apart the other issue with the D-Max is noise. Pick-ups are never the most refined but the D-Max does get rather vocal under acceleration, not helped one suspects by the modest engine size.

The build quality and equipment in the D-Max is excellent, and betters some cars, with an interior that lacks the ‘bolt-on iPad’ style touchscreen in favour of a neat built-in screen. Soft-touch materials are also evident and although some of the touchscreen functions look a little dated they all work very smoothly. If you’re into your pick-up trucks the Isuzu looks the part too. If you’re looking for something a bit different on the rugged transport front then the D-Max can be a surprisingly sensible choice.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Isuzu D-Max DL40 Double cab

Engine: 1.9-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel developing 164PS

Gears: 6-Speed automatic, all-wheel-drive

Price: €45,247/£38,749

Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 13 seconds/Maximum Speed 180 kmh (112 mph)

Economy: 9.2l/100km / 30.7 mpg Combined driving (WLTP)

Emissions: 241 g/km (WLTP)

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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