The go-to pickup for business users, asks John Kendall?
SECTOR Pickup Truck PRICE From £21,009 MPG 30.7mpg – 33.6mpg (WLTP combined) GROSS PAYLOAD 1,070kg – 1,205kg
DRIVE 164hp at 3,600rpm, 360Nm at 2,000 – 2,500rpm. 1.9-litre diesel, Six-speed manual or automatic transmission, four-wheel-drive.
With Nissan and Mitsubishi leaving the UK pickup market in the past year, it makes Isuzu’s eminently sensible and sensibly priced D-Max pickup a pretty solid choice, particularly for working truck users in the agricultural, forestry and construction sectors. It may not have the macho appeal of the Ford Ranger, but its more compact dimensions might be a better bet for narrow farm and forest tracks.
The latest D-Max which was launched earlier this year, features a range of enhancements and upgrades compared with the previous model. These include a beefed up chassis and faster engaging shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system to switch between two-wheel-drive high, 4WD high and 4WD low. A rear differential lock is now standard equipment on the higher specification models DL20, DL40 and V-Cross, although, curiously not the work-orientated Utility models. Perhaps this is partially explained by some of the model mix data which shows that last year, single cab variants only accounted for nine per cent of sales compared with 12 per cent for extended cabs and 79 per cent for double cabs. Single cabs are only available in the base level Utility trim while extended cabs can be had in both Utility and DL20 specification.
Isuzu boasts a comprehensive range of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) including cruise control, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, manual or intelligent speed limiter and a lane departure warning and prevention system. Double cabs also get a blind spot monitor, emergency lane keeping and rear cross traffic alert. There are even more if you choose automatic transmission, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and automatic transmission pedal misapplication mitigation. Some of these items are mandatory anyway but D-Max is still well-equipped with safety features.
All models can also boast generous equipment levels. As indicated, the trim levels are Utility, DL20, DL40 and V-Cross. Isuzu expects the V-Cross automatic to be the best seller in the range. You’ll find the standard equipment listed in our CV Show preview pages. It’s fair to say that it is a well-equipped model.
We sampled a range of DL20, DL40 and V-Cross models with both manual and automatic transmission, both on and off-road at the launch. All models have the same no-nonsense appeal. This may be part of the reason why D-Max fleet sales have increased by 50 per cent over the past five years. There is a dedicated Fleet Team that can help with conversions and modifications. The 125,000 mile/five year warranty is probably also an attraction, ensuring that most fleet users will be covered by the warranty while the vehicle is on the fleet.
Both on and off road, the D-Max comes over as the sensible choice that you may suspect it would be. The equipment levels are good.
The DL20 features heated front seats, rear parking sensors, front fog lights and a front centre armrest. For those looking for more comfort than the Utility models, these are all sensible additions for a pickup truck.
There are more powerful pickups than the D-Max, but 164hp and 360Nm of torque are sound figures which should provide enough power for most users. Both on road and off, the 1.9-litre diesel (which is shared with the Isuzu Trucks Grafter range) proved itself capable. Off-road, the standard diff-lock on the DL and V-Cross models is going to be welcomed by serious off-road users.