By Mike Torpey on 2022-07-31 - 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 V-Cross
4x4 Double Cab
BLENDING luxury, leisure and the ability to shift the best part of a brick yard, all at an affordable price, sounds an attractive scenario.
That's certainly how leading Japanese commercial vehicle brand Isuzu sees it.
The company is responsible for hardcore pick-ups like the Trooper, Rodeo and more recently its signature model the D-Max.
And topping the D-Max line-up is a stand-out variant called the V-Cross, charged with catering for the fast-growing adventure leisure sector of the market.
While the new, second generation, D-Max raises the bar in terms of comfort, refinement and safety, the V-Cross takes things even further with all the trappings of a premium SUV.
As the flagship D-Max model the V-Cross costs £39,244 but comes with a shedload of tech including stuff like a nine-inch multifunction colour touchscreen, a CD player with eight speakers, auto headlight levelling, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors and USB ports front and back.
That's in addition to durable perforated leather seats, 18-inch gun metal alloy wheels, distinctive light clusters, DAB radio and the ability to tow up to 3.5 tonnes.
To give some perspective to that richness and comfort, if it wasn't for the long bonnet and vast load area behind, you wouldn't necessarily be aware you were even aboard a pick-up truck, such is the ambience and design with the V-Cross's cabin.
As a double cab variant there's also ample space for five - including a centre rear passenger - thanks to a 30mm longer wheelbase than previous generation versions.
Much thought has gone into the cabin design too, with a plethora of stowage options from door bins incorporating bottle holders, a double glovebox and shallow lidded container on top of the dash to a deep lidded central container, a flip-down rear armrest and cup holders behind the auto gearshift.
Just one engine is available, a 2.0-litre diesel that sounds agricultural - especially in its slower paces - and will return 30 miles per gallon on as good day.
It's a strong unit though and needs to be to power a vehicle that can carry a payload that ranges from 1,070 to 1,205kg depending on body style.
And regards the latter, the D-Max line-up ranges from single-cab to extended and double-cab versions and with two or four-wheel drive.
Our tested variant was a 4x4 and featured the new six-speed auto transmission, which is both smooth and quick, as well as fuel-saving stop/start ignition.
Should you need to use the V-Cross for industrial activities or farming 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.
Safety features are plentiful, which has ensured a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and include the likes of forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, cruise control and eight airbags on double cab models.
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross 4x4 Double Cab
Mechanical:164ps, 1,898cc 4-cylinder, diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic transmission
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