Pick-up a new Isuzu and take it to D-max
The Isuzu D-Max offers superior ride quality, a more efficient engine and a much slicker range of products than the Rodeo it has replaced. Is it good enough to challenge the best pick-ups in its class?
Drive one and you wouldn't count against it.
The Isuzu D-Max is powered by a highly fuel efficient 2.5-litre twin-turbo common rail diesel engine, available with the choice of either six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions. This advanced Euro5-compliant unit generates 163 PS and peak torque output of 400 Nm at 1400 rpm. The Isuzu D-Max also introduces a 'shift-on-the-fly' system, allowing the driver to adjust between two- and four-wheel drive modes while travelling at speeds of up to 60 mph.
The front suspension comprises an independent double wishbone with coil-spring setup while the rear suspension is made up of over slung leaf-springs installed above a special long span rear axle. Isuzu claims this offers better driving comfort. Like the Rodeo, the D-Max is built on a rugged ladder-framed chassis, but the similarities end there. The i-GRIP (Isuzu Gravity Responsive Intelligent Platform) underpinnings of the D-Max are 42 per cent stiffer than the old Rodeo chassis, helped by improved cross bracing at the rear, which offers superior stability under load and when towing
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Isuzu offers the D-Max with four specification levels and, for the first time for Isuzu in the UK, with an extended cab body configuration – featuring rear-opening side-access panels – joining the single and double cab variants. The entry-level Isuzu D-Max is a single cab 4x2 derivative and above that are the double cab variants.
As well as being the most comprehensively developed, most efficient and most refined Isuzu pick-up to date, the D-Max is also a highly capable load-lugger: it has a three-tonne (braked) towing capacity and a payload capacity of 1,000 kg.
Market and Model
The entry-level Isuzu D-Max, priced from £14,499 (CVOTR) for the single cab 4x2 derivative, offers a decent slug of standard equipment, including air conditioning, daytime running lights, electric windows and front, side and curtain airbags.
Go for the Eiger double cab (from £18,499 CVOTR) and you'll get projector headlamps, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, 16" alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers.
Plump instead for the Yukon double cab (from £18,999 CVOTR) and features include a leather steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, and a six-speaker sound system, chrome exterior detailing and 17-inch alloys.
At the top of the range is the flagship Utah model which is fitted with leather upholstery, heated front seats and automatic climate control.
The exterior treatment includes roof bars and rear parking sensors.
Priced from £21,499 (CVOTR), the Utah still looks very competitive value when pried against the Toyota Hilux or the Volkswagen Amarok.
The D-Max promises to be a breakthrough model for Isuzu. The Rodeo has paved the way for the D-Max to strike out from, registering growing sales year on year throughout its lifespan, with 2011 being recorded as the the peak calendar year for Rodeo sales, eclipsing some better known rivals. The D-Max offers more refinement, improved engine efficiency and far better equipment levels.
The Isuzu D-Max isn't yet thought of in the same bracket as the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 or Nissan Navara but it deserves to be. It won't have a straight run at them though. Ford's much improved Ranger will prove a serious impediment to the D-Max improving the old Rodeo's market share. It's worth trying one though. Sometimes the less obvious choice pays big dividends.