When it comes to pick-up trucks many manufacturers offer them somewhere within their line-up of passenger vehicles but for Isuzu pick-ups are all they do.
Self-named the pick-up professionals, Isuzu has been the go-to for hard-working fleets for many years. Focusing solely on just one vehicle, their multi award winning D-Max offers something for everyone.
The range starts with a utilitarian model which suits the needs of a farmer or the likes of Northern Ireland electricity perfectly. D-Max then offers progressively more as you move up the range towards a nicely styled family-friendly model with much more tech.
If budget constraints are not a thing, and you want to stand out from the crowd as well as have unstoppable off-road capability, there is the range topping AT35 which is essentially a steroid filled D-Max built by Arctic Trucks on behalf of Isuzu.
First launched a decade ago, the D-Max stamped it’s authority on this very commercial segment thanks to its 3,500kg towing capacity, something that many rivals couldn’t match across their full range.
Combined with its heavy working ability, Isuzu’s build quality and renowned reliability have allowed them to offer a 125,000 mile / 5-year warranty making D-Max an irresistible choice for many.
On average, around 5,000 units have been sold annually since launched, with over 80% of these being double cab models. Initially, the vast percentage of these sales were for all-purpose users, but more recently there is a fairly even split between business, all-purpose and adventure owners.
No matter if you’re taking a herd to mart, doing the school run on your way to rewiring a house, launching a cruiser at your local marina, or disappearing across the nearest highland on a weekend wild camping there is a D-Max perfect for you.
The Range starts from £23,149 with a ‘Utility’ which is aimed towards the business user and is available as either rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive, with three different cab types: single, extended and double cab.
Despite being a workhorse this entry-level model comes well equipped with automatic headlights and high beam assist, automatic windscreen wipers, speed-sensitive power steering, DAB radio and a stop & start system.
D-Max also includes autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and intelligent speed limiter as well as lane departure warning & prevention. Rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor and emergency lane keeping are also included.
From here on, all models are four-wheel-drive and starting from £28,149 is a ‘DL20’ which features heated front seats, rear parking sensors, front fog lights and a front centre armrest for increased comfort and practicality, body-coloured front and rear bumpers, silver door handles, medium grey radiator grille and 18-inch alloy wheels.
A ‘DL40’ starts from £31,999 and adds a variety of sophisticated enhancements such as distinctive Bi-LED headlights, LED front fog lights, daytime running lights, chrome radiator grille and silver side-steps along with front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera.
Keyless entry works on both front doors and is accompanied by a push button start system and welcome light. Leather upholstery features throughout and a leather steering wheel is accompanied by an 8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat. A 7-inch multifunction colour touchscreen offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and dual-zone climate control also features.
Next in the range is a ‘V-Cross’ which is the model tested and pictured and, starting from £33,499 features ‘gun metal’ exterior styling on the radiator grille, side steps, door mirrors, door handles and alloy wheels.
Its premium interior is practical and fuss-free: entertainment is provided via a 9-inch multifunction colour touch screen with CD player and 8 speakers. There is an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and automatic headlight levelling system and the smart leather interior is complemented with V-Cross branded carpet mats.
The DL20, DL40 and V-Cross are available with an optional automatic transmission.
The Arctic trucks AT35 model previously mentioned starts from a whopping £47,999 but I won’t even touch on it as it deserves an article on its own.
Engine wise this latest Isuzu D-Max comes equipped with a 1.9-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel power-plant which produces 164PS and 360Nm of torque. A 0-62mph sprint is achieved in just less than 13 seconds with a top speed of 112mph.
A combined return of around 30mpg can be expected, although with 1,000kg on the truck bed and with a hefty load on a trailer I would expect mid 20’s mpg.
As a working vehicle I still maintain that the Isuzu D-Max is at the top of the pecking order and is worthy of each and every award it has received. If, however, you are using a D-Max like a car through your business, I can’t help but feel that the likes of the Ford Ranger automatic is a better and more car-like choice when it comes to comfort and on-road agility.
All prices stated are commercial vehicle on the road plus VAT.