Living Life To D-Max! A Week With Isuzu’s Popular Pickup
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
Sales of pick-up trucks continue to rise. Even prestige manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has got in the act with its capable X-Class.
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 continues to improve its D-Max . The vast range begins with the humble workaday ‘Utility’ model priced from £19,749.80, whilst the high-spec Utah model on test here, is priced from £30,129.80.
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 give the new D-Max a ‘more masculine, sporty and powerful presence’.
Under the bonnet sits Isuzu’s latest 1.9-litre diesel 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. It is a little noisy when cold or when worked hard.
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.
In Utah trim you’ll find a large 9-inch touchscreen, a leather interior, tinted windows and parking sensors.
A six speed manual gearbox comes as standard and my advice would be to pay the extra £1,200 for the automatic. The long throw and notchy action make stop start driving somewhat wearisome...
The D-Max handles with confidence and ride comfort unladen is acceptable. Fit for purpose probably best describes it. Add a little weight over the back axle and things improve.
My local off-road test route is reasonably challenging, with steep ascents and descents, rocky trails and plenty of mud. The D-Max romped round the course with ease. Capable and confidence-inspiring sums it up nicely.
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.
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. The Utah made light work of pulling my twin-axle trailer loaded with a tonne of gravel.
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 a comprehensive 5 year/125,000 mile warranty is testament to Isuzu’s confidence in its capable machine.
Isuzu D-Max Utah
164PS 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine
Six –speed manual gearbox
Combined economy from 40.4mpg (33.2mpg on test)
Euro 6 emissions – 183g/km CO2
Payload – 1 tonne +
3.5 tonne towing capacity
5 years/125,000 mile warranty
12,000 mile/24 month service intervals
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Living Life To D-Max! A Week With Isuzu’s Popular Pickup, 1st April 2019, 13:03 PM