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The New Generation Isuzu D-Max Is Here
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Sales of pick-up trucks continue to rise. Renault and Mercedes-Benz are due to enter the fray hoping for a slice of this burgeoning market.

Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi have all recently updated their offerings and there is a distinct move upmarket, targeting the leisure buyer. These vehicles drive better, look smarter and are a viable alternative to the family car.

Keen to keep its trusty D-Max at the top of its game, Isuzu is introducing its latest D-Max. The vast range begins with the humble workaday 'Utility' model priced from £15,749, whilst the range topping 'Blade' will cut a suitable dash (from £26,999).

Rugged good looks are the order of the day, with subtle improvements here and there. LED daytime running lights and revised bumper, bonnet and grille aim to give the new D-Max a 'more masculine, sporty and powerful presence'. You decide if it works...

The biggest change is under the bonnet. Gone is the old 2.5-litre diesel engine, replaced by an all new 1.9-litre motor. It boasts power and torque aplenty (164PS and 360Nm respectively) and meets Euro 6 standards. It also does this without need AdBlue to maintain low emissions, a definite boon.

As per previous D-Max models, a Shift-On-The-Fly 4x4 system is fitted, the rotary dial allowing the driver to select four-wheel drive on the move. A set of low range gears is also fitted for extreme off-road work.

A full range of single, extended and double cab variants are available, with five levels of trim.

Entry-level 'Utility' models are better equipped than you might expect with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and LED lighting.

Move up to an 'Eiger' double cab and alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers and a reversing camera are the highlights.

'Yukon' comes next and boasts cruise control, a new 7-inch touchscreen, rear load liner and more besides.

'Utah' (from £24,149) will appeal to those looking for a little luxury, with leather seats, push button start and automatic air conditioning now fitted as standard.

In the range-topping Blade you'll find a larger 9-inch touchscreen, tinted windows and parking sensors. You can also choose either a colour-coded Aeroklas canopy or sports bar with roller cover.

Isuzu chose to hold the UK Media launch in North Yorkshire, with the good driving roads around Helmsley our playground.

Our test route incorporated a good mix of driving and there was much to like. The new engine pulls strongly with power aplenty for overtaking and making good progress. Somewhat disappointingly the engine is noisy, especially if you make full use of the rev range. Better to kick back and let the considerable torque waft you along.

The optional six-speed automatic gearbox would be my choice. Apparently it adapts the gear changes to suit driving circumstances and is generally smooth in operation. It is certainly better than the somewhat notchy manual gearbox
The D-Max handles with confidence and ride comfort unladen is acceptable. Fit for purpose probably best describes it.

All D-Max models boast a raft of safety features to keep you on the straight and narrow. Of particular note is the Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system which compensates for front and rear load differences during braking, preventing rear wheel lock up, apparently a pick-up affliction.

The wonderful backdrop of Duncombe Park was the setting for some off-road adventures, Isuzu being keen to demonstrate that the new D-Max is a proper workhorse. The course included steep muddy tracks (tackled with ease thanks to the Hill Descent and Hill Start Assist controls) and some river wading, a novel and slightly unnerving experience.

Many D-Max owners need to tow heavy trailers and with a 3.5-tonne capacity, even the biggest loads should not be a problem. A trailer with another D-Max on was there to be towed about and whilst progress was suitably sedate, the new pick-up pulled the load with ease.

Also by Andy Harris...
Jaguar E-PACE: The New Compact Performance SUV
Honda Civic -The New Tenth Generation Is Here
Audi R8 Spyder - Supercar Soft-Top Sensation
The New XF Sportbrake From Jaguar Has Been Unveiled
The All-New Mazda CX-5 UK Launch Review
Other than the slightly raucous engine (more sound deadening required please Isuzu), the D-Max continues to impress. Farmers, builders and the like will revel in the hardcore abilities that come as standard and for those yet to be convinced, Isuzu are offering 48 hour test drives for would-be buyers.

This is going to be backed up by an advertising campaign with the strap line 'It just works'. And the D-Max should continue to work for many a good year and is backed by a comprehensive 5 years/125,000 warranty.

I have a farming friend who is now on his second Isuzu pick-up, the first having given faithful service for over ten years. It is his only vehicle and is called upon to tow a cattle trailer and carry hay across muddy fields by day and to do domestic duties by night. He tried the competition and felt the D-Max was the best all-rounder in the class. He may just be right and if you ring your nearest Isuzu dealer and make a booking, you will have two days in which to find out for yourself.

Fast Facts

New Isuzu D-Max
Prices start at £15,749 (CVOTR)
New 164PS 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine
Manual or automatic gearbox
Combined economy from 36.2 to 45.6mpg
Euro 6 emissions (163-205g/km CO2)
Payload - 1 tonne +
3.5 tonne towing capacity
5 years/125,000 mile warranty
12,000 mile/24 month service intervals
High specification across the range
The New Generation Isuzu D-Max Is Here, 11th April 2017, 12:39 PM