Isuzu D-Max 1.9

Blade Auto 4x4

Double Cab

Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, front, static
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, front
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, nose
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, head on
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, rear
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, side
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, cargo cover
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, interior
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, tailgate
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, rear
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, side
Isuzu D-Max Blade, 2017, dashboard

I DON'T know if you've noticed, but there are a lot more pick-up trucks on our roads today and it seems we Brits love the versatility offered by the open-back twin or single cab vehicles that deliver go-anywhere capabilities and a rough and readiness to take on a working lifestyle.

But there's a wealth of choice with the slightly more familiar models such as the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200 competing for sales.

One company that should not be overlooked though is Isuzu with its D-Max - a model that certainly ticks all the boxes.

It has all the workhorse practicalities demanded from such a vehicle, but as you move up through the extensive range, the number of luxuries and refinements increase along the way.

The entry level D-Max is priced at £15,749 (excluding VAT), which is competitive within the segment, but we opted for the range-topping Blade model with twin cab, 4x4 capabilities and all the connectivity and technology you could wish for.

This one cost £27,999 (increased to £29,114 with options fitted). There is no official 0-62mph time as Isuzu classes the D-Max as a commercial vehicle, but it has a top speed of 112mph. And according to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 36.2mpg with carbon emissions of 205g/km.

These are the stats and figures we look for when driving a normal car, but the D-Max is not a standard vehicle - it's a model that is designed to be a rough and ready workhorse rather than a fancy play thing that you're scared to get dirty.

So, with that in mind the figures that count are the D-Max's towing capacity of 3,500kg, its 1.101kg payload, ground clearance of 235mm and its angles of approach and departure of 30 and 23 degrees.

The D-Max certainly looks the business too thanks to 18-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, a dark grey radiator grille, body-coloured front bumper, roof bars, gun metal side steps and tinted windows.

The interior is well-equipped with plenty of on-board technology to be explored. Features include a nine-inch colour touchscreen with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, air conditioning and plenty more besides. I particularly liked the dust caps that covered the USB ports - after all, this is a working vehicle.

There is a simple rotary dial that is used to engage four-wheel-drive and low range gears and all controls are ideally positioned for ease of use. There is a lot of hard plastic on display which, despite looking a tad cheap in places, is still practical and can be wiped clean.

The D-Max is powered by a 1.9-litre, 164bhp diesel engine and mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Although the vehicle is large, it is deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre, but be warned - you will need a couple of parking bays due to its overall length of almost 5.3 metres.

Out on the open road and motorways, the D-Max was a delight to drive.

The acceleration was good and there was plenty of power on tap at all times. The gear changing is smooth unless driven with a heavy right boot when there will be a lot of revving sound and very little response until the next gear clicks in.

The vehicle is also well insulated against outside noise and the highly efficient suspension system easily absorbs any bumps.

The loading bay on the test car had a sliding canopy. Once the tailgate was lowered the cover could be released by pulling on a cord. Pulling the cover back again is also a simple operation.

There are also plenty of storage options throughout the cabin including a double glovebox, deep central bin, practical door pockets and cup holders.

Isuzu has packed a comprehensive range of safety features into the D-Max too, including anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, hill start assist, hill descent control, electronic brakeforce distribution, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and numerous airbags.

All in all, the latest D-Max is quite a catch.

FAST FACTS

Isuzu D-Max 1.9 Blade Auto 4x4 Double Cab

Price: £27,999

Mechanical: 164bhp, 1898cc, 4-cylinder, diesel-driven engine with 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph: n/a

Combined MPG: 36.2

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 205g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3 yrs/60,000 miles

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