First Drive

First Drive: 2017 Isuzu D-MAX

The story:
Key rival:Toyota Hilux
On sale:Now
Isuzu D-Max UTAH Auto
Price:£25,149 (ex VAT)
Power:164hp (1898cc)
Load length/height/width:To follow

Isuzu has gone the opposite way to many pick-up manufacturers and downsized the powertrain in the updated D-Max from a 2.5-litre to a 164hp 1.9-litre diesel.

Despite this, the new engine is more powerful, more efficient and marginally quieter, although it still lags behind the likes of the Toyota
Hilux and VW Amarok for refinement.

Isuzu D-Max 2017 - Image 1It offers an improved towing ability thanks in part to a tweaked manual gearbox, which now has incredibly short ratios on the first two gears. The downside is that there’s no time to return your left hand to the steering wheel before you have to shift into second if you accelerate at anything above a genteel pace. The six-speed auto is more relaxed and works well with the standard hill descent control.

The D-Max’s working aspirations are obvious when you drive it unladen. The ride is remarkably firm when the load bay is empty or if you are not towing. It eases off when it is put to work, but this is a truck that is better suited to the working week than the weekend user.


The verdict

There is a D-Max to suit everyone, so long as you use your truck for work, not pleasure. The smaller engine does a fine job of pulling the revised pick-up and a sizeable load, and not needing to top up an AdBlue tank is a bonus.