ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW ISUZU D-MAX
Can a pick-up be trendy? Yes, it cerrtainly can and the new Isuzu D-Max is not only extremely practical, but it can be trendy as I discovered as I recently spent a week with one!
Certainly in the Southern States of the USA, a pick-up is the vehicle to be seen in. I have visited Alabama, North and South Carolina and these vehicles are everywhere. Isuzu is famed for its D-Max which was first introduced in 2002 in Thailand with the first and second generation models sharing its platform with the Chevrolet Colorado. Again, Thailand was the launch pad for the latest generation model which is now one of the most popular vehicles of its type around the world. Being a global vehicle, then depending on the market trims etc do vary.
My week was with a top of the range V-Cross which blends practicality with should I say a certain degree of luxury. In the North four trim or grades are available, to suit the requirements of a variety of customers. Yes most of the creature comforts that we have come to expect from a well appointed SUV are part of this package from Isuzu. With the D-Max Double Cab, the best of all worlds, plenty of space for driver and passengers and a generous load capacity. As one person once noted to me, it’s a seven day week vehicle, use for work during the week and the ideal recreational vehicle come the weekend. My test example had an automatic transmission which did aid driving pleasure and from its 1,898cc litre diesel power unit, a useful 164PS. Looking at performance, rest to 100kph (62mph) takes a leisurely thirteen seconds with a top speed of 180kph (112mph). Okay performance is far from being sporty, but at the same time I found the D-Max to be no slouch and as the week progressed I really began to enjoy and appreciate this member of the Isuzu family; even more so when I had to visit the local refuge dump.
I can see a good market for this vehicle, the farming community of course, small business users and people who indulge in outdoor pursuits. The thought of a racing series here in Ireland even crossed my mind; after all there are a variety of such vehicles available. With a 3.5 tonne towing capacity one tonne payload, the D-Max is a very capable vehicle and when the going gets tough it is very much up to the job. The exterior I would best describe as purposeful and it rides on smart eighteen inch gun metal wheels and I am delighted to state, a full size spare wheel.
Moving to the well appointed interior, you get leather upholstery, heated seats, leather steering wheel, flat folding rear seats, 60/40 folding seat base, driver’s foot rest and V-Cross branded mats. Entertainment on the move is well catered for with a nine inch multifunction colour touch screen, DAB radio, CD player, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while eight speakers deliver reasonable sound quality. There are a number of driver assist systems such as, cruise control, adaptive on the automatic version only, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed limiter, an excellent compliment of airbags and hill start assist and hill descent control. Safety and security gets priority with such items as rear diff lock, reversing camera, trailer sway control, insurance approved immobiliser, four wheel drive and front and rear parking sensors.
My week behind the wheel of the D-Max included the worst storms of the season and I must admit I felt much safer than in most vehicles. I felt I was protected from about just anything. My choice would be with the automatic version, this simply adds to the pleasure of driving this vehicle which I personally enjoyed much more than I would have imagined.