The pick-up market within the UK is in a wierd place in the intervening time. Whereas gross sales have been sturdy in recent times, with a rising urge for food for high-priced way of life variations, a number of key gamers have left or are planning to depart the section.
Mitsubishi, whose L200 has lengthy been a mainstay of the section is pulling out of Europe fully, Volkswagen is withdrawing the Amorak this yr and is cagey about whether or not we’ll get its alternative, Nissan gained’t carry the next-gen Navara to the UK and Mercedes and Fiat each admitted defeat within the final couple of years, quietly dropping the unpopular X-Class and Fullback.
This exodus means we’ve now received fewer than half the variety of vehicles in comparison with simply two years in the past. Nonetheless standing are the near-iconic Toyota Hilux, the best-selling Ford Ranger, SsangYong’s funds Musso and the Isuzu D-Max.
The arrival of the brand new D-Max simply as we lose so many rivals is coincidental but it surely’s a lucky piece of timing for the Japanese specialist, providing an opportunity to stake an even bigger declare and tempt patrons away from their Rangers and Hiluxes.
To take action, it’s going to must juggle the dependable ruggedness the truck is thought for with extra way of life oriented, high-spec choices.
D-Max trims, costs and specs
Isuzu is eager to emphasize that its vehicles have at all times been workhorses at the start. That, it says, gained’t change however this newest mannequin does put extra emphasis on creature comforts and ease of use. And the gross sales projections predict that the life-style finish of the vary will take up extra gross sales on the expense of primary “Enterprise” vehicles.
That mentioned, the D-Max vary nonetheless begins with a primary single cab, two-wheel-drive truck priced from £21,009 (earlier than VAT). This options easy-clean vinyl flooring, powerful black plastic bumpers and a 2.3m load mattress with sensible tiedown hooks. Enterprise fashions are additionally out there with four-wheel-drive and in prolonged and double cab codecs which add extra passenger house however scale back the load mattress space.
For patrons who need to use their truck for work and play the “All-Function” vary provides DL20 (£26,009 earlier than VAT) and DL40 (£29,759) trims which retain the toughness of the Enterprise vary however carry luxuries comparable to physique colored bumpers, heated seats, an non-compulsory automated transmission and a locking rear differential.
On the high quality sits the Journey vary, which till the inevitable Arctic Trucks conversions arrive, consists of simply the V-Cross, priced from £31,259 earlier than VAT. This piles on extra know-how comparable to a nine-inch touchscreen and flashy exterior trim, however shares the identical core capabilities as the opposite two fashions.
Tools is likely one of the D-Max’s strongest fits and its beneficiant spec on even probably the most primary fashions offers it an edge over rivals. Handy options throughout the vary embrace auto lights and wipers, excessive beam help, hill begin help and descent management, a tailgate damper and air-con, with larger spec variations including the whole lot from parking sensors, LED headlights and rear cab air flow to smartphone mirroring, keyless entry and leather-based upholstery.
All variations additionally get a full driver help suite which has helped earn the D-Max a five-star Euro NCAP ranking. Stereo front-facing cameras, ahead collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, site visitors signal recognition, lane departure prevention and clever velocity limiter are customary, as is cruise management. Double cab variations all get blind spot warning and rear cross site visitors alert whereas adaptive cruise management and lane hold help seem on auto variations from DL20 spec upwards.
Each variant of the D-Max can tow as much as 3,500kg and carry a payload of up greater than a tonne. 4-wheel-drive variations characteristic excessive and low-range choices and the shift-on-the-fly perform permits far sooner and smoother shifts from two- to four-wheel drive and again. The chassis has been considerably strengthened for higher rigidity and refinement, the suspension redesigned for higher management and luxury and there’s extra underbody safety plus trailer sway safety is customary on all 4×4 variants.
Isuzu can be very pleased with the truth that all variants of the D-Max weigh below 2,040kg, which means the prolonged and double cab variations are topic to passenger automobile velocity limits relatively than the 10mph decrease ones imposed on industrial vehicles.
D-Max engine and efficiency
Whether or not you go for a primary Enterprise truck or our examined V-Cross, each D-Max comes with a 1.9-litre, four-cylinder diesel providing 162bhp and 266lb ft of torque. The one alternative is whether or not you need a six-speed guide or six-speed auto transmission.
As you’d anticipate from a pick-up, tempo isn’t the D-Max’s sturdy go well with, with 0-62mph taking a ponderous 13 seconds however loads of low-down torque means it’s adept at hauling itself round powerful terrain. This was demonstrated on the sharp inclines, deep water troughs and free surfaces of our quarry-based off-road route which the D-Max managed simply.
Again on the open street, the engine is noisy at something besides a mild cruise – one space the place rivals such because the Ranger, Hilux and outgoing L200 have a transparent benefit. These rivals even have the D-Max overwhelmed in general street manners. This mannequin’s journey and dealing with are an enormous enchancment on the outdated D-Max with noticeably much less judder when it’s unladen however its key rivals nonetheless really feel extra settled and composed on Tarmac. For utility customers this may not be a lot of a priority but it surely might show problematic for way of life patrons demanding a extra SUV-like expertise.
D-Max inside and luxury
It’s the same story on the subject of the D-Max’s inside. It too is a leap ahead from what got here earlier than however not fairly as much as the usual of the section leaders. A superb driving place with loads of seat and steering wheel adjustment makes it a cushty truck to drive. Rear passengers are additionally fairly nicely catered for with 20mm of additional legroom and redesigned seats providing higher house and luxury. The principle centre console and controls are an enormous enchancment when it comes to look, really feel and operation and high-spec vehicles get leather-based upholstery and leather-based impact sprint topper however elsewhere the supplies are distinctly utilitarian, even within the top-spec V-Cross.
That overlap between the Enterprise and Journey fashions might hamper Isuzu’s hopes of extending its share of the life-style section. The brand new D-Max is a transparent enchancment on the outdated mannequin and as an entry-level workhorse, it’s sensible, succesful and nicely geared up. The identical is true for the V-Cross however the tough edges of the industrial car are nonetheless way more obvious in it than in additional refined rivals.
Worth: £39,244.80 (£32,759 exc VAT); Engine: 1.9-litre, four-cylinder, diesel; Energy: 162bhp; Torque: 266lb ft; Transmission: Six-speed automated, four-wheel-drive; High velocity: 112mph; 0-62mph: 13 seconds; Financial system: 30/7mpg; CO2 emissions: 241g/km