By Mike Torpey on 2016-02-14 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Isuzu D-Max Blade
2.5D Double Cab
YOU wouldn't normally associate pick-ups with sharp styling.
But Japanese specialist Isuzu has a genuine Blade Runner in its stable and it's a vehicle fast changing people's views on motoring that combines business and leisure.
Last year, following the success of a 2014 special edition, Isuzu decided to make the Blade variant the flagship model for its D-Max range.
It was a smart move given that production of the Blade special had to be doubled due to demand - enabling the brand to record more than 5,500 annual sales.
That of course is a drop in the ocean compared to the company's seriously big numbers, like almost 22 million diesel engines built during its lifetime, supplying the likes of Renault-Nissan and General Motors.
And as the move towards more lavishly appointed, dual purpose pick-up trucks continues, Isuzu is well placed to pinch sales from the like of Ford, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi.
That's down to its D-Max models, which boast strong fuel economy and engines, combined with a 3.5-tonne towing capacity and a five-year/125,000-mile warranty.
The range on offer is extensive too - from single-cab to extended and double-cab versions and with two or four-wheel drive.
While prices start at £17,942 for the D-MAX 4x2 Single Cab the appreciably more upmarket Blade Double Cab 4x4 six-speed manual is £31,142.
Every model, and there are now 22 of them, features the same 2.5-litre twin turbo diesel powerplant delivering a hefty 163bhp.
It's noisy, though you get used to that bit, and can certainly shift when up to speed while the Blade version's cabin is so upmarket - leather-clad and with premium eight-speaker sound system, heated seats, touchscreen sat nav and reversing camera - that five not only travel in total comfort but don't feel like they're aboard a workhorse vehicle.
With its cab choices and load options, roof bars and cargo rails, the D-Max is certainly versatile while for family motoring the cab is both classy and spacious.
It's has the creature comforts of an executive saloon along with the space and cost advantages of a commercial pick-up.
Stowage slots are plentiful, headroom is excellent and there are large wing mirrors for a clear rear view.
And because all variants can carry in excess of 1,000kg, it means owners can reclaim VAT if they are registered taking the cost of this D-Max down to £25,999.
Go for the range-topping Blade and the colour choice is Cosmic Black or Pearlescent White. You also get 18-inch, six-spoke Shadow alloy wheels plus either an Aeroklas leisure canopy or a Black Mountain Top roller cover with rear style bar.
Isuzu certainly has every sector of the pick-up scene covered with a model that stands out from the crowd and can return an official 38.7mpg (33.6 auto).
Isuzu D-Max Blade 2.5D Double Cab
Mechanical: 163PS, 2,499cc 4-cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via six-speed manual transmission
Max Speed: 112mph
Insurance Group: 192g/km
C02 emissions: 36%
Warranty: 5yrs/125,000 miles
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