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ARCTIC EXPERIENCE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
There's nothing quite like the Isuzu D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35. Jonathan Crouch takes a look...
Ten Second Reviewword count: 58
What's the ultimate kind of pick-up? Virtually every manufacturer in the segment thinks it's a vehicle specced up with lashings of leather and hi-tech luxury kit. Only Isuzu sees things differently. They reckon the ultimate pick-up is one with ultimate go-anyway ability: and this is it, the company's D-Max model in its most specialist 'Arctic Trucks AT35' trim.
Backgroundword count: 112
You might understandably struggle with the thought of paying around £40,000 for an Isuzu D-Max pick-up - more if you include the VAT. But stay with us because this AT35 version is a rather special one. It's been tailored by Nordic extreme terrain specialists Arctic Trucks to meet the demanding needs of the worst Scandinavian terrain and was first launched back in 2016, then updated more recently to create the model we're going to look at here. If this pick-up can't get you where you want to go, then no other one will. And it's a rather refreshing antidote to the bling that otherwise afflicts the upper end of this market segment.
Driving Experienceword count: 260
The package of changes that has created this Arctic Trucks AT35 model doesn't include any alterations beneath the bonnet. The Nordic engineers couldn't really see any need to change the 164PS turbo diesel engine, despite its relatively diminutive 1.9-litre size. Possibly that's because this powerplant puts out a willing 360Nm of torque, quite enough for the extreme snowy terrain that this AT35's vast 35" Nokian Rotiva SAT tyres will allow it to cross. The tyres are so chunky that Arctic Trucks claims the D-Max can actually float over snow slush, rather than sink into it. This variant's special Fox Performance Series suspension also helps, designed to withstand the harshest off road impacts. As in any D-Max, the engine's grunt makes low speed urban work easy and tough muddy inclines straightforward. It's also a major reason why this vehicle can tow a braked trailer of up to 3.5-tonnes. Trailer Sway Control is of course standard but the lack of Hill Descent Control is a surprising omission. For wet or icy tarmac or light off piste work, you can take the opportunity, at up to 60mph, to twist the centre console dial and select high range all-wheel drive. It takes a second or so for the front wheels to engage but when they do, the D-Max feels notably more sure-footed on the slippery stuff. Of course, once in a while, you'll need to do more, occasions on which you'll be further twisting this dial to engage the full low-range four wheel drive mode, something that can only happen when the vehicle's stopped.
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