Has updated pick-up got what it takes?
The market for farm pick-ups is competitive but Isuzu’s D-Max is a firm favourite with a practical design, great build quality and a workhorse appearance. The latest version features many updates over the model it replaces and David Williams has been finding out if it is worthy of the D-Max name. The D-Max has evolved since its launch 15 years ago with regular updates to its specification and appearance. But the latest model is all-new, and the most significant change is a brand new engine. There are single, double and extended cab versions, a choice of 2 or 4wd and five specification levels. 2wd is available only in the single cab base Utility specification. The extended cab, with two rows of seats and a rear-hinged panel for access, is available only with 4wd and in Utility and medium-specification Yukon versions. All are available with double cabs and most offer manual or automatic transmission.
Engine and transmission The new engine, standard across the range, is a 1.9-litre, 4-cylinder diesel, replacing the previous 2.5-litre power unit. Despite being smaller, the power output is almost identical - 164hp for the new unit vs 163hp previously, but torque has dropped from 400Nm to 360Nm. Isuzu claims the 1.9-litre size was chosen for its ability to match efficiency with capability to handle a 1t payload and tow 3.5t. It also meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standards without needing adblue and has a variable geometry turbocharger providing torque across the rev range. Complementing the new engine are two all-new transmissions; 6-speed manual or automatic. The manual box has close ratio gears, allowing greater
The all-new 1.9-litre diesel engine is over half a litre smaller than its predecessor, but achieves similar performance and saves weight, allowing increased payloads.
overlap in the engine’s rev range to make the most of the torque for towing and challenging off-road situations. The new auto transmission ‘learns’ the style of driving, adjusting response accordingly. It also allows manual gear selection. The load buck is similar to before; double-skinned and tough but payload capacity is increased across the range by between 26–154kg to a maximum 1,141kg, depending on model and partly due to the new lighter engine and transmissions. Previously there were four specification levels; Utility, Eiger, Yukon and Utah but a flagship Blade
model has been added. All are upgraded from the previous line-up, with even the entry Utility version having projector headlamps, Hill Assist, variable hill descent control, remote central locking and a full size spare wheel; all useful additions for farm use. The Eiger adds a reversing camera and upgraded trim and the Yukon has a 7in colour touchscreen and 18in alloys. The Utah has keyless door entry, reversing sensors, satellite navigation, a DAB radio and leather trim making it a practical option for agricultural users and it was this model with a double cab and automatic transmission which was supplied for the week-long Farmers Guide test.
Performance The drop in engine size of more than half a litre created suspicion that Isuzu’s pick-up might have lost
Isuzu has launched an all-new D-Max pick-up. Farmers Guide took an extended test-drive to make sure it has what it takes to fill the muddy wellies of its predecessor.
some of its predecessor’s capability. However, the performance of the 1.9-litre diesel is very good and pulling away from standstill the acceleration is surprisingly brisk. The automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and selecting manual on-the-move is achieved just by pulling the transmission lever to the right, then moving it forward and backward to shift ratios. While the new engine performs well, a downside is that it sounds harsh under heavy acceleration, but at cruising speed it becomes more relaxed and maintains speed on gradients without needing extra pressure on the accelerator pedal, or having to change down. Fuel consumption during the test, which involved a mix of farm tracks and main roads and the load bed empty and loaded, averaged 29–31mpg. A characteristic of the adbluefree emissions system is that the particulate filter requires occasional regeneration and a small display on the dashboard indicates the approximate time remaining before the next cycle. The whole process is automatic but can take the driver by surprise when the vehicle is stationary and the engine revs suddenly climb to maintain adequate exhaust temperature.
Ride and comfort The driving position is good and the leather seats are comfortable, with variable heaters standard in the front. The cab makes the most of available space and the legroom is generous for a double-cab pick-up. Headroom is very good too. Steering wheel tilt adjustment is provided but the reach is fixed and taller drivers commented continued over...
pt The new D-Max is better equipped than previous models. The Utah provided for the test is likely to be popular with farms, with practical leather seats.
44 www.farmersguide.co.uk June 2017
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Published on Jun 1, 2017