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Modern family 4x4

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Boring looks, relatively speaking

Not much room in the cabin

Single cab pick-ups aren’t as common as they once were. The popularity of highly specced double cabs has seen the market decline, but away from towns and cities, and in the wild where a 4x4 is guaranteed a proper work-out, single-cabs can still be found. 

Farms, in particular, are a popular destination for a new single cab pick-up, where many will live out their entire lives, unloved and unwashed.

Isuzu’s double-cab D-Max is every inch the modern family 4x4; comfortable to drive and be driven in, smart to look at and built to tackle any off-road scenario. Its glamorous appearance is a far-cry from the vehicle the D-Max replaced, the Rodeo which cemented Isuzu’s standing within the 4x4 market thanks to its utilitarian character, but when out in the rough, the D-Max is every bit as capable as its no-frills ancestor. The 2.5-litre common rail two-stage turbodiesel is used across the range of single, double and extended cabs, where it produces 161hp at 3,600rpm and a massive 400Nm of torque between 1,400rpm and 2,000rpm. Power is up 20% over the old Rodeo model, while the engine’s torque output has risen by 43%, leaving you in no doubt that you have a serious machine at your disposal.

A six-speed gearbox comes as standard, but the driveline is available with both two- and four-wheel drive – our test vehicle being the latter. By default, power is pushed through the rear wheels, but a rotating dial on the transmission tunnel allows for on-the-fly shifts into 4x4 configuration at speeds of up to 60mph. Low ratios can also be engaged using the dial when at a standstill, allowing the D-Max to comfortably ride, ascend and ford, any obstacle we put in front of it. On the road the empty load bed led to a large amount of bouncing from the leaf sprung rear axle , but that soon settles with weight in the back leaving you with a solid ride and a vehicle that capably sticks to wet or muddy roads when cornering.

With a kerbweight of 1914kg, and a GVW of 3050kg, the single cab D-Max is left with a healthy 1136kg maximum payload, however, its real strength is towing. With a 3000kg towing capacity, our test vehicle already had class-leading figures, but as of 1st July 2013 the towing capacity for all new 4x4 D-Max models has increased by 500kg – enough for 8 more hay bails or 185 bricks.  

Running the D-Max around a town won’t see you realise the claimed 38.2mpg combined fuel consumption figure especially if fully laden, but its narrow feel and proportions are a noticeable benefit in an urban environment,  allowing easy manoeuvring and parking but with the downside of little space for anything more than two occupants. Storage is limited to door bins, a glovebox and an armrest stowage bin, but thanks to ample legroom, further storage can be found behind the passenger seat once moved forward. The cab gets manual air-conditioning, electric windows and front, side and curtain airbags as standard, as well as a height adjustable steering wheel to help achieve the best seating position.

Isuzu market themselves as the pick-up professionals, and the D-Max has certainly proved their claims with a superb engine propelling a capable on- and off-road package. With prices for the 4x4 single cab starting at £16,249, any farmer, builder or woodsman would be wise to consider the pick-up professionals as delivering the right pick-up for professionals

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