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MAX POWER (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Isuzu continues its upwards trajectory in the pick up market with the D-Max. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 74
With this improved D-Max, Isuzu has become a more competitive contender in the growing UK pick-up sector. An efficient new 1.9-litre turbo diesel engine can haul and tow hefty loads through the wildest terrain you're likely to come across and a range of new touchscreen entertainment systems are available, plus as ever, there are three bodystyles to suit a wide range of buyers. Smart, tough and affordable, it looks set to do very well.
Backgroundword count: 173
Within the confines of the kind of vehicle a tough pick-up can be, Isuzu's D-Max represented a huge dynamic step forward for its brand when it was first launched back in 2012. The vehicle's only major achilles heel was its engine, a relatively inefficient old-tech 2.5-litre diesel unit. So the Japanese brand has moved to improve things, replacing this powerplant with a new 1.9-litre diesel that though less torquey, is much cleaner and more frugal. Rivals can match this unit's figures, but too often, they're tucked away in the corner of a sales showroom really dedicated to selling passenger cars. Will such a place really support a dedicated pick-up person when they really need it? And will the vehicle in question really be as capable in the Serengeti as it is in Surbiton? With this D-Max, you know you've little to worry about on either score. With Isuzu, it was always that way. It's just that with this model, there's a little more polish with the product on offer. Let's check it out..
Driving Experienceword count: 256
Pulling power is the first thing you notice about this improved D-Max once out on the road. Though the single engine on offer is much smaller than before (a 1.9-litre diesel replaces the previous 2.5-litre unit), the power output (164PS) is almost exactly the same as previously and torque falls only from 400 to 360Nm, which many will think a fair trade for this powerplant's much improved levels of efficiency. That kind of 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 - usefully more than an equivalent Fiat Fullback or Mitsubishi L200. 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. In this mode, you really do get an incredibly accomplished off roader, aided by a well chosen first gear ratio that's an ideal 'crawler gear' over rough terrain on which you'll appreciate ground clearance that at 235mm is much higher than you get with most other rival pick-ups.
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Category: Vans and Pickups
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