Engine: 3.0 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, 130kW/380Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual standard; five-speed auto optional
Fuel economy: 8.3 litres/100km
Equipment: Keyless entry, Bluetooth, cruise control
Safety: 4-star crash rating
Factory warranty: Three year/100,000km
Builders of utes have been bending over backwards to purge their, ugh, truck-like origins. The aim seems to be to build a ute that’s indistinguishable from a car, except when you look out the back and see a tray. Isuzu, which developed its new D-Max in concert with Holden Colorado, has travelled the car-like road, but only up to a point. Isuzu’s heritage is trucks, good trucks, and rather than sweep this under a mudflap, used it as a plus. For example, Isuzu chose to use the engine from its N-series light truck, one that’s well at home under the bonnet and surprisingly refined, though not as much as, say, the Ford Ranger’s or the Nissan Navara 550’s.The engine’s note signals that it’s ready to spend the day working hard, and with 275Nm of its torque available almost from idle, it’s up to the task. The engine maintains peak torque until almost 3000rpm, providing outstanding flexibility, particularly in fourth and fifth gears. Elsewhere, whether in the chassis or under the bonnet, the D-Max is full of truck-ish features designed to give it an edge in durability, workability or serviceability. Inside are touches like wide seat rails to make it easier for big guys in the back seat to get booted feet under the front buckets. Isuzu’s electronic traction control works well off road and ground clearance of 235mm helps keep it from getting hung up. D-Max is rated to tow 3000kg, braked. That’s not quite best-in-class, but it handles near-max loads with ease. The D-Max misses of a five-star safety rating because of its single, rather than double, seatbelt pretensioners.
Feels like it wants to work all day. And night.
Not so good
4-star safety rating