Motoring and Property Editor
1:00 AM 3rd February 2024
Isuzu D-Max – A Winter’s Tale
Last year was a significant one for the pick-up truck market with some significant new models being released. The joint venture between Ford and Volkswagen saw the new Ranger and Amarok models go on sale. Also updated was the new KGM Musso, which now has abandoned its value for money roots and pushed upmarket.
Isuzu were not resting on their laurels either, with the ever-popular D-Max seeing some significant visual enhancements, most notably the freshly styled front grille and new wheel designs. There were no technical modifications.
A couple of new colours are now available, Dolomite White and Biarritz Blue, the former available in pearlescent form exclusively on the range-topping V-Cross model.
On the interior of the vehicles, there have been some modifications. Although the hard-wearing cloth of the Business range models has remained unchanged, the D-Max DL20 seats are covered in a more premium woven fabric with a refreshed design. New leather now adorns the seats in the DL40 and V-Cross variants.
A rear differential lock is now available on all manual 4x4 Utility models in the range, useful as these are the versions that are often put to the toughest work.
Alan Able, Isuzu UK’s Managing Director commented:
“As a brand, we are always striving for improvement and the new-look D-Max is a testament to that. While maintaining our award-winning 4x4 expertise, we have added some significant visual enhancements and new features to elevate the driving experience for our customers. We are taking a step further into the lifestyle sector thanks to this new look, without suffering any compromise to the D-Max’s workhorse heritage and capability. It’s the same substance, with a different style.”
Prices now start at £24,999 + VAT and that get you a single cab Utility model with a manual gearbox, fine for many. There is now the option of an automatic gearbox, and this was fitted to the double cab model I currently have on test. The price for extra cab space and the self-shifting gearbox sees the price jump up to £30,099 + VAT.
Having driven D-Max models with a manual gearbox, being in an automatic reminded me how much better this choice is. The changes are smooth, and if you tackle some serious off-roading, you really don’t want to be bothering with a clutch pedal.
All models come equipped with Isuzu’s familiar 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine. Boasting 164PS and 360Nm of torque, it is an effective engine but sadly still becomes far too agricultural when extended. It also now needs Adblue to reduce emissions. It is fine in a more ‘working’ variant, less so in the top models.
Also tested was a mid-range DL40 model (£35,499 + VAT) and this came equipped with a rear canopy. As well as providing cover for the load space, the extra weight lessens the rear end bounce which afflicts so many unladen pick-ups.
I subjected both trucks to some of my usual off-road routes and it came as no surprise that they coped easily. I would opt for some more hardcore tyres if I was to stray off terra firma regularly. A few days of snow were also easily dismissed by the DL40, with the capable 4x4 system easily being selected on the move with a simple twist of the dash mounted knob.
As a workhorse, any D-Max will excel. Able to tow a trailer of up to 3.5 tonnes and with a 1 tonne payload, there is not much the pick-up will not be able to do. It is also worth mentioning that the D-Max weighs less than 2,040kg. Why is this significant? Well, many double-cab trucks exceed this weight and therefore must comply with goods vehicle speed limits which are 10mph lower on single and dual carriageways.
So, is the D-Max the truck for you? Unstoppable off-road, capable on it too. Well equipped in top form, safe and reliable too, there is much to commend. I would be happy in the Utility model, just remember to tick that automatic gearbox option.
Prices start at £24,999 + VAT
Top V-Cross Auto from £36,999 + VAT
164PS 1.9-litre diesel engine
0-62mph in 12.7 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Combined economy 30.7 to 33.6mpg
Test economy 34.1mpg
Towing capacity 3.5 tonnes
1.0 tonne payload
5 year/125,000 mile warranty