Isuzu pick up with

turbo diesel

Isuzu D-Max, 2017, side
Isuzu D-Max, 2017, slope
Isuzu D-Max, 2017, water
Isuzu D-Max, 2017, rear
Isuzu D-Max, 2017, front, action
Isuzu D-Max, 2017, quarry
Isuzu D-Max, 2017, towing

PICK-UP trucks have quickly become big business as more and more families are enjoying active, outdoor leisure pursuits and want such versatility for towing quad bikes, boats, caravans and the like.

But there's still a strong element of buyers, such as farmers, builders, roofers and construction workers who simply want them as everyday workhorses in jobs where practicality and four-wheel-drive are the order of the day.

Ensuring a better toehold in this niche sector is Isuzu, in reality one of the underdogs, who have now updated its sole model sold in Britain, the D-Max, with a choice of single cab, extended and double cab versions to suit all types of buyers.

Crucially the main change is under the bonnet where the old, noisy and somewhat cumbersome 2.5-litre diesel engine has been replaced with an all-new 1.9-litre 163bhp turbo diesel capable of towing up to 3.5 tonnes or with payloads of 1,091 to 1,196kg.

The new D-Max meets current Euro 6 regulations and an added bonus for owners is that it doesn't need AdBlue so no second tank to fill up at the service station.

As on the previous model there's the easy-to-use rotary dial down by the handbrake allowing the driver to press it down and turn it to engage four-wheel-drive and low range gears all whilst on the move.

The same model line-up is retained too with the entry-level Utility single cab coming in at £15,749 excluding VAT but this time around it has much better standard equipment on board that includes LED daytime running lights, hill start assist, hill descent control, electric windows and air conditioning.

Next up is the double cab Eiger (from £20,499) that adds reversing camera, 16-inch alloy wheels, and better audio system while following on is the Yukon (also from £20,499) and then the Utah (from £24,149), both with further ‘extras' as standard like leather upholstery and heated front seats.

The range-topping Blade (from £26,999) comes with even more furnishings and fittings as standard like remote locking tailgate, front and rear parking sensors plus a colour-coded Aeroklas canopy or sports bar with a roller cover.

In terms of looks the D-Max has been smartened up with a more sleeker front end that's also more aerodynamic but it still retains its rather overall muscular looks that naturally appeals to the rear hardcore of workmen who want practicality, value for money and a no-nonsense go-anywhere-do-anything pick-up truck.

Obviously the more family-oriented motorist will opt for one of the top end models with that switch-on 4x4 readily available but also as a double cab that offers more interior space and car-like creature comforts inside.

It must also be a minor plus point this time around that Isuzu have listened to previous buyers and now installed a full size spare wheel on all models, not just as previously as an option on double cab models.

Drivers too will appreciate the much improved instrument panel which now has a practical central display that's much clearer and overall whether its single or double cab the interior has been vastly changed for the better.

Key too is this new 1.9-litre turbo diesel engine, available with either a new six-speed manual gearbox or new six-speed automatic gearbox, which is far more refined, quieter and more responsive than the old 2.5-litre diesel in the previous models.

This engine is really impressive with its 360Nm of torque available at between 2,000 and 2,500rpm but crucially it has ample amounts of low-down pulling power which both workmen and family leisure time drivers need for towing trailers and caravans respectively.

Most versions will top the 40mpg as their combined figure and out on ordinary roads it's a competent performer with decent enough acceleration if needed and with improved suspension it appears to soak up those road bumps and holes we have now on our roads quite comfortably.

Take it off-road and this is where it true workhorse duties come to the fore because using both hill start assist and hill descent control (thankfully now standard across the range) it makes such light work of crawling over uneven up and down ground and along well worn and deep rutted country tracks.

Using it in this context regularly than it's best to go for the automatic gearbox rather than the manual in my view because it's easier to drive in such conditions and makes light work of it all and once back on Tarmac the automatic excels with good up and down smooth gear change where the manual briefly driven proved to be a little notchy at times and not quite as smooth.

As for which model to choose then it's as always down to individual needs at the end of the day and whether the driver/owner wants it simply as a down to earth workhorse or a more comfortable and versatile family leisure sports transporter.

Isuzu may be one of the comparative small players in this niche pick-up sector standing fifth behind the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota HiLux, but the brand is a well established competitor and has loyal customers.

This latest incarnation of the D-Max will only help to further the appeal because it's a much all-round improved pick-up with a really sweet performing new 1.9-litre turbo diesel plus more car-like comforts inside.


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