Isuzu D-Max DL40

Double Cab

Isuzu D-Max, 2021, front, action
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, nose
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, side
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, interior
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, front seats
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, load bed
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, front
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, rear
Isuzu D-Max, 2021, tail

JAPANESE brand Isuzu is best known for tough pick-up trucks like the Trooper, Rodeo and more recently the D-Max - and the company has some serious ambitions for the next four years.

For starters, its UK dealer network has been expanded to more than 110 outlets and plans to double its sales to 10,000 by 2025.

The reason for such optimism is the latest, second generation D-Max, an already top notch pick-up truck that now raises the bar even higher in terms of comfort, refinement and safety.

The D-Max is Isuzu's signature model line-up, ranging from single-cab to extended and double-cab versions and with two or four-wheel drive - all boasting strong fuel economy combined with a 3.5-tonne towing capacity, one tonne payload and five-year/125,000-mile warranty.

A range that once appealed to those who worked principally in acres, the D-Max is now aimed equally at those whose lives revolve around hours.

In fact a glance at the Isuzu product make-up reveals that of the three categories of D-Max available - Business, Adventure and All-Purpose - the latter, more luxurious variants are comprehensively outselling the more utilitarian Business models.

While these entry grade variants start at £25,145 and focus on tough and durable features like vinyl flooring and hard-wearing plastics, our model was from the more lavish All-Purpose range.

Prices are from £31,145 and the line-up comprises DL20 and DL40 variants, the initials relating to a rear diff-lock being included while 20 and 40 signifies the model pecking order.

This D-Max was the DL40, a pick-up that's as smart looking as it is workmanlike.

As a double cab variant there's also ample space for five - including a centre rear passenger - thanks to a 30mm longer wheelbase than the previous generation versions.

Seating is in soft black leather and the load bay can cope with the contents of a medium size skip, while the cabin has plenty of cubbies, stowage spots and 10 cup holders.

The cabin also gets a premium eight-speaker sound system, heated seats, dual-zone climate control and an eight-way adjustable driver's seat while the multifunction colour touchscreen is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Body coloured bumpers, Bi-LED headlamps, LED front fog lights, a chrome radiator grille, keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, silver side steps and a reversing camera are also part of the DL40's standard equipment.

The amount of driving we completed over the course of a week was way more than the norm, topping 800 miles, and included a return trip from the North West to the south coast plus a university drop off in Leeds.

Much of that mileage was on the motorways, where the D-Max is smooth, strong and stable, and while the official Combined fuel consumption figure is 33.6 miles per gallon our own return comfortably outperformed that mark at 40.5mpg.

And for those needing to use the big Isuzu for industrial or agricultural enterprise the 4x4 system ensures no job is too demanding.

The four-wheel drive shift- on-the-fly has three configuration settings - 2H for rear wheel drive, 4H provides drive to all wheels in a high gear ratio for slippery surfaces, and 4L provides drive to all wheels in a low gear ratio for more extreme off-road challenges - but a new actuator now provides much faster transfer between the different drives.

There's also a wading depth of 800mm and both trailer sway and hill descent control systems are standard kit.

Of course there are drawbacks to a vehicle of this size and scope, notably the noise from the 2.0-litre diesel engine at low speed, difficulty in finding large enough parking specs and the rather clunky six-speed manual gearbox.

FAST FACTS

Isuzu D-Max DL40 Double Cab

Price:£35,644

Mechanical:164PS, 1,898cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:112mph

0-62mph: 12.7 seconds

Combined MPG:33.6

Insurance Group:44

C02 emissions:220g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:5yrs/125,000 miles

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