Isuzu D-Max DL40 Double Cab Auto
IT'S no surprise that many now choose this type of vehicle to double up as the family transport.
A long-time favourite, the iconic Isuzu saw a 200 per cent increase in registrations of single cab 4x4 manual pick-ups in 2023 compared to the previous year with construction and agriculture customers prominent.
The rugged D-Max pick-up has received a facelift for 2023, with a newly designed grille, new 18-inch two-tone wheels and braking system and a refreshed cloth and leather seat design and enhanced safety including extra airbag.
It looks the part all right, Isuzu says it is built to endure the harshest conditions, with a 250mm ground clearance and good handling and stability. It now features that imposing grille, stylish light clusters, front and rear foglights and side running boards to help you haul yourself into the cab.
There are three models, Business, All Purpose and Adventure, with four trim levels Utility, DL20, DL40 and V-Cross.
DL stands rear differential lock which comes as standard from the DL20, which enhances the vehicle's off-road ability in particularly challenging terrain.
It will only engage when 4L is selected on the selector dial and speed less than 5mph locks the rear differential meaning the left and right wheels on the rear axle turn at the same speed.
It retains its 3.5 tonne towing capacity, shift-on-the-fly 4WD system and one-tonne-plus payload and accommodates a full-size pallet in the rear.
The firm reckons the D Max range offers ‘go anywhere, do anything' qualities and it comes in many guises from single or double cab, straight flat bed or with an option to fully enclose the payload area, as with this model.
That reduces the capacity to carry taller loads, but does provide extra security, for instance, you can secure shopping bags and cases and versions offer secure stowage boxes.
The suspension setup is critical on a workhorse like this and front features high-mounted upper control arms to reduce body roll and increase tyre contact, while the rear suspension features a rear leaf spring to improve the ride and comfort, especially when unladen, without compromising on carrying capacity:
The interior is pretty upmarket for the type of vehicle, with powered, leather seats and air con and electric windows. A seven-inch central screen controls navigation, smartphone connectivity and infotainment.
Also included is a raft of safety kit including front stereo cameras to monitor the road ahead and Advanced Driver Assist Systems which include lane assist and collision mitigation, emergency braking and cross traffic alert, plus plenty more.
On the road, the 1.9-litre diesel engine has plenty of power if not a great deal of refinement. The 162bhp it delivers is more than capable of delivering the grunt needed for serious off-road work, while at the same time offering enough pace to cope with both general and motorway driving.
The initial diesel clatter does eventually die down, while the auto shift was nowhere near as hesitant as some I have driven.
Green it ain't and economy nothing to write home about really with it hovering around the 30mpg mark and emissions of 240g/km 36-odd mpg seeming pretty much near the mark.