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What is it?

As we have mentioned in the past, it’s a pick-up truck and having taken a look at the top-spec Isuzu D-Max Blade, we have more recently tried out the mid-range Yukon and base utility versions.

It’s a solid five-seater in double cab form with a strong enough 1.9-litre diesel that can generate enough torque to shift a 3.5 tonne trailer and another 1100kg in the load bed.

The D-Max is pitched against the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Ford and Mitsubishi in the ever-growing pick-up sector and in terms of payload capabilities it is fractionally ahead of those.

The old 2.4-litre diesel has now been replaced by the more economical four cylinder 1.9 unit that produces 164bhp and, more importantly, 360Nm of torque. It returns a reported 36mpg and we averaged 34.3 over a mixed bag of motoring in both pick-ups.

It emits 206g/km of CO2, and is Euro 6 emissions compliant so will be relatively cheap to run and you won’t get hit with excessive charges in upcoming clean air zones.

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What’s good about the Isuzu D-Max?

  • Yukon specification is pretty high with quite a few interior refinements and equipment such as sat-nav and reversing camera. The utility model is a lot more basic, down to the old fashioned radio.
  • Equipment also includes keyless entry, cruise control, and a six-speed manual gearbox make it easy to just get in and drive. You also get climate control and plenty of storage.
  • Switchable 4wd and a low range gearbox allows you to drive around more economically in 2wd while 4wd provides more traction when fully loaded or on a particularly muddy site.
  • Reliability? Well, Isuzu is confidents enough to offer a five year/125,000 mile warranty that reflects their confidence. As the tag line states: It just works.

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What’s not so good?

  • The D-Max does lag some of its rivals in terms of interior finish, particularly highlighted in the base model although equipment in the Yukon makes up for this. There is almost an old-fashioned look the plastics and switchgear. But these do wipe-clean pretty easily.
  • The smaller engine, while being more economical, is on the noisy  side but then that is unlikely to worry those who make use of this vehicle as a proper workhorse. It sits on a motorway quite comfortably, however.
  • The ride is a little bouncy and you’ll find that the Isuzu doesn’t takes corners in quite as refined manner as some of its rivals. But you have to accept compromises with this sort of vehicle. Its size and weight, combined with a large turning circle, mean it’s not the most agile. The ride does get better, however, the more you load it up at the back.
  • Our earlier opinion was that the auto is a better option than the manual, now we’re not so sure. The manual does allow a much smoother transmission through the cogs.
  • Storage space is a little sparse and while there is a handy storage compartment on top of the dash, this is not present in the base model. As noted before there’s cup holders and door pockets galore but none of them large enough to fit a 2-litre bottle.

 

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Isuzu D-Max: Our verdict

We stand by our previous opinion. While the D-Max has some issues it’s still a solid performer, and shines where it counts.

There’s more than enough power and traction to cope with pretty much anything you could throw whether on the building site or in the farmyard.

There are some, however, who just want a pick-up because it’s a pick-up and there is enough in the way of comfort and convenience to make it useable as a family vehicle although you would really want to opt for the higher-spec versions

There is also lots of choice in the range. Single, extended, and double cab options, five trim levels, and plenty of options.

Where the D-Max does compare well is price. If you want a refined pick-up then look elsewhere but expect to pay a lot more for the privilege.

Rivals include the Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, and Ford Ranger, but to find one of those with a similar specification will mean spending more than the £25,849 Isuzu asks for the Yukon while the base utility double cab weighs in at £23,469.


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Chris Wright
Chris Wright has been covering the automotive industry nationally and internationally for 30 years. Following spells with consumer titles he became News Editor of Automotive Management (AM), Editor of Automotive International, International Editor for Detroit-based Automotive News, and Editor of Dealer Update. He has also co-authored several FT Management Reports and contributes regularly to Justauto.com

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