- Improved engine
- Lots of kit
The Isuzu D-Max gets the job done
For those who are looking for a rugged all-rounder for their pickup, then there’s little competition for the Isuzu D-Max which delivers a nice blend of rugged capability – whether that is off- or on-road, load lugging performance as well as comfort and performance. The new smaller turbodiesel engine delivers better responsiveness, refinement and economy. It helps that the new model retains the 3.5 tonne towing capacity and has a 1 tonne payload. Isuzu is obviously hoping that it’s revamped offering will occupy the popular space left by the Land Rover Defender and there’s a lot to recommend the D-Max for its ruggedness.
Reasons to buy
In a fast growing segment, and one that is becoming increasingly competitive, there’s a lot to recommend the Isuzu D-Max but is up against some stiff (and, to be honest, better) competition. Indeed, it’s now starting to feel its age and potential buyers may be tempted by the new Mercedes X Class or Volkswagen’s excellent Amarok – particularly if they are impressed by the ‘lifestyle’ trend of opting for a pickup over an SUV.
However, as with all commercial vehicles the reasons for buying are varied and while there are better looking pick-ups, the D-Max has an impressive track record and it has been built to be punished. Builders and farmers, for instance, will find a vehicle that they can use every day and still take the family somewhere at the weekend.
There’s also the impressive five-year or 125,000 miles warranty for the Isuzu D-Max which helps to make it a sound choice and the firm says this is the first pickup with such a comprehensive peace of mind package available in the UK.
If you like the Isuzu D-Max then have a look at the Nissan Navara, the VW Amarok and the Mitsubishi L200.
The Isuzu D-Max has a new 1.9 litre turbodiesel unit that produces 164 PS and 360Nm of torque; the new engine also meets the Euro 6 standards so there is no need for the addition of AdBlue. Economy on the combined cycle is around 36 mpg with emissions of 205g/km; its top speed is 112 mph. Opt for the 4×2 models and economy is a reasonable 47mpg with emissions of 163g/km – that’s an impressive 22% improvement to the economy over the 2015 outgoing D-Max model. Running costs are also helped with 24 months or 12,000 mile service intervals and there’s also five years’ roadside rescue which includes European cover. The new D-Max also features a six-year anti-corrosion warranty and three-year paint warranty.
Not everyone will be buying the Isuzu D-Max to enjoy the load bay capability of 1 tonne since many potential buyers will be opting for this vehicle as a lifestyle choice. The D-Max has an excellent reputation for towing which is maintained with a 3.5 tonne capability.
Technology & Safety
The new version of the Isuzu D-Max retains the line-up from the model it replaces with a range of single, extended as well as double cab variants. The entry-level model comes with hill start assist, variable hill descent control, power windows, Bluetooth connectivity and air conditioning. The next model up from this adds a reversing camera, body coloured bumpers, 16-inch alloy wheels and an audio system featuring six speakers. Other models come with a larger alloys, silver sidesteps and a new multifunction touchscreen, cruise control, rear load liner, keyless entry, roof bars and leather upholstery. There’s also sat nav as well as rear parking sensors, though the range topper, the Blade, features a larger multifunction touchscreen, puddle lamps, remote locking lower tailgate, front and rear parking sensors and a colour-coded canopy sports bar with a roller cover. There’s no doubt that the levels of standard equipment have been boosted in a bid to find buyers and the D-Max offers great value for money.
Out on the road, the Isuzu D-Max delivers a nice and comfortable if a somewhat uninspiring ride – though it’s better than some pickups deliver. Opt for the Blade trim, which is the range topper, and the 18-inch alloy wheels deliver an unsettling ride – though it settles down when the load bay has been filled. (Again, this issue of an unsettled ride is one that plagues pickups that have an empty load bay). The six speed manual box handles well while the automatic transmission delivers a laid-back and enjoyable drive. One of the big attractions is the ability to select four-wheel-drive whilst on the move and there’s a good mix of low range gears.