Sunday, November 19, 2017

D-Max builds on workhorse appeal

May 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Isuzu 1

Isuzu has launched its latest D-Max – with a surprise under the bonnet, reports Simon Tooth.

Sales of pick-ups are growing faster than any other light commercial vehicle sector. They are up by more than 20% in the year to March compared to a similar period 12 months ago, with much of the growth in the so-called ‘lifestyle’ sector.

Many pick-up manufacturers have steered their vehicles in the direction of these buyers, selling a more ‘car-like’ experience.

Isuzu’s well-proven D-Max is still perceived as very much a working vehicle – its single cab Utility is still a popular option in the five-model range – and the majority of the 5000-plus that will be sold this year will earn their living on farm and
forest tracks and constructions sites.

The latest model D-Max was launched in April at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, its looks further strengthening its rugged appeal.

It’s now Euro 6-compliant but the big news is how Isuzu has achieved that. Out has gone the old 2.5l diesel engine to be replaced by a completely new and lighter 1.9l engine and gearbox that meets Euro 6 emissions standards without the need for AdBlue. Isuzu anticipates that will be a significant bonus for many buyers as will fuel economy, at its most striking on the single cab 4×2 which is claimed can achieve a figure in the mid 40s.

The downsizing has reduced torque (from 400Nm to 360), but Isuzu says it has compensated for this by adjusting gear ratios to increase pulling power in lower gears. Certainly, its 3.5t towing capacity and 1t payload remains unchanged against the model it replaces. And the vehicle’s unladen weight still falls below the 2040kg ceiling, above which reduced speed limits apply.

A choice of new six-speed manual or automatic gearbox options are available, developed specially for the new D-Max and initially only available in Euopean markets. Auto boxes are increasingly popular options on pick-ups and this one is intuitive and smooth.

Pedestrian safety is improved with a redesigned front bumper and bonnet to absorb impact energy, while space has been created for a bonnet crumple dr ed.com zone. LED daytime running lights are standard across the range.

Hill start assist and hill descent control are also standard and help make D-Max an enjoyable drive. It’s easy to forget that this eager workhorse is powered by a substantially smaller engine than its rivals, even when hauling another D-Max on a twin-axle trailer as we did on a pre-launch test drive. Whether the engine’s still as sweet after 100,000 miles of hard work remains to be seen but Isuzu is confident enough to retain its five-year/125,000 mile warranty.

Isuzu says it hopes to “consolidate its ownership of the worker-orientated sector” with its new D-Max and is launching with a 48-hour test drive programme.

Prices range from £15,749 CVOTR for the Utility 4×2 single cab through £20,499 CVOTR for the Yukon 4×4 extended cab to £27,999 CVOTR for the Blade 4×4 double cab auto.

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