Isuzu D-Max review


What is?

It may not look like it, but this is an all-new Isuzu D-Max and it represents a slight change in direction for self-proclaimed “truck professionals.”

You see, the UK van market has changed dramatically recently. Mitsubishi announced it was pulling out of the country altogether, Volkswagen discontinued the Amarok (for now), and Mercedes stopped production of the X-Class.

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As a result, Isuzu sees itself alongside Ford and second only to Toyota in the marketplace, and its sales and dealer network continues to grow. He even managed to pick up (oops) eight former Mitsubishi dealers recently for a quick little expansion. Impressive.

Still a workaholic?

Yes and no. The previous generation of D-Max was released in 2012 and then revamped in 2017 – count how many you see next time you go out, they’re everywhere, and as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t. don’t fix it

Now, however, Isuzu feels it’s time for the D-Max to have more of a “lifestyle,” so it’s cautiously moving away from its previous work image. But that doesn’t mean he strays too far from the original recipe – head over to the driving tab to see what we mean.

And it’s already a success. This new model has been on sale in Thailand for just over a year and now outperforms the Toyota Hilux for the first time. It also came to Australia in late 2020 and won several Australian press ‘Ute of the Year’ awards. Not bad, right?

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What’s new ?

Changes include a wider grille, a more horizontal bonnet that’s 30mm taller than before, and a 30mm-longer wheelbase, meaning it somehow manages to look even more imposing than the previous generation. Still, it’s actually 30mm shorter than the outgoing model overall and the charging bay is 30mm deeper. Lots of 30s going by, right?

Lower spec models get black plastic bumpers and halogen headlights, while the more sophisticated part of the range gets re-signature LED lights and classy integrated bumpers. More information about it in the purchase tab.

Improvements under the hood?

No, the only engine is still a 1.9-liter turbodiesel. It’s a utility vehicle drivetrain loud and clear, giving the D-Max the ability to tow 3.5 tons. There are single, extended and double cabin options as you’d expect, with prices starting at just over £25,000 and approaching £40,000 for the full ‘lifestyle’ experience.

What’s the verdict?

The higher-end models are well-equipped and have great off-road capability, but on-road it’s still tough.

Fair play on Isuzu. He managed to retain the pro capabilities of the old D-Max while bringing a lot more lifestyle to the lineup with the sleeker V-Cross. He is not perfect; handling is still a bit lacking and the diesel could certainly be more refined, but it’s a good compromise effort.

The previous generation also spawned some pretty exciting off-road stages, so we’re hoping to get more of that this time around. However, standard cars are great at the hard stuff and make it all too easy.

The new interior is excellent when paired with the higher specs, although the range does get a bit pricey towards the top end. Don’t expect the D-Max to challenge sales of the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux on our shores, but you’ll certainly see it more than ever on UK roads.

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