Isuzu D-Max (2012–)

Last updated 3 June 2019

Powerful 2.5-litre and 1.9-litre diesel engines with 3.5 tonne towing capacity, simple and robust interior, wide choice of bodystyles.
Limited steering wheel adjustment, diesel engine is noisy, ride quality lacks the refinement of its rivals.
Updated 9 October 2018
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The Isuzu D-Max is one of the most capable one-tonne workhorses on the market, pairing low running costs with gargantuan towing ability. Admittedly, it's not the most refined or advanced pick-up money can buy, but when it comes to hauling up to 4.6 tonnes on a budget, the D-Max is difficult to fault.

The Isuzu D-Max was launched in 2012 as the replacement for the Rodeo. Unlike some of its rivals, the D-Max doesn't pretend to be an SUV-aspiring lifestyle vehicle, instead it is pitched as a heavy duty work tool aimed squarely at builders, forestry workers and engineers.

The D-Max is certainly a robust workhorse and can tow up to 3.0 tonnes (extended to 3.5 tonnes from July 2013 onwards). It will also carry a 1050kg - 1136kg payload and can be fitted with a huge choice of bedliners and load covers. There are three body styles to choose from - single, extended or double cab - although it's the double cab that provides the most flexibility, given its large interior and five large seats.

Most models are powered by a 2.5-litre twin-turbo diesel engine with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. The engine delivers 163PS and a whopping 400Nm of torque – from as little as 1400rpm – which provides a lot of low-down pull, through all of the gears. Buyers can choose between two-wheel or four-wheel drive, with the latter providing off-road ability. Claimed fuel economy is 38.7mpg for manual versions, while automatics will provide a claimed 33.6mpg.

In 2017 the D-Max’s 2.5-litre diesel was replaced with a smaller 1.9-litre unit. As before, the four-cylinder engine produces 164PS, but overall torque levels are lower with the 1.9 unit producing 360Nm. However, while the new engine offers 40Nm less torque, the 2017 D-Max retains its 3.5 tonne towing capacity and 1.0 tonne payload.

The D-Max isn't particularly refined on the road; there's lots of engine and road noise, while the leaf sprung suspension pitches heavily in the corners and under hard braking. However, while the ride can be poor at times, the steering is responsive and the 2.5 engine quiets down on the motorway.

The interior isn't the best, with lots of cheap plastics and flimsy materials, but it's practical enough. Everything feels hard wearing and there are plenty of cup holders and pockets. The tough seat fabrics also feel like they’re designed to survive life in a working vehicle.

The D-Max is available in a large choice of trims and can get quite expensive, with the range-topping Blade version breaking the £30,000 barrier when you include VAT. However, if you're planning to use the D-Max for work, then you'd be better with the entry-level versions. Not only are they comfortable, durable and easy to clean, but they also make the D-Max excellent value when you factor in its decent economy and huge load carrying potential.

Driven: 2017 Isuzu D-Max

When it comes to getting the job done, there are few better pick-ups than the latest D-Max. Good to drive and capable of towing 3.5 tonnes, the big and bold pick-up has all plenty to offer tradespeople, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Read our first drive here >>

Isuzu -d -max -1

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