Isuzu D-Max Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The old D-Max was fairly workmanlike to drive on the road, and the new one isn’t much different if we’re honest. But then it needs to be to excel in other areas. Despite that commercial vehicle feel, the D-Max can actually be driven at passenger car speed limits in the UK thanks to its <2,040kg kerb weight. Something that 200-300kg heavier rivals can’t match.

So, the four-cylinder diesel is a little clattery but does provide a useful 162bhp and 266lb ft of low-down torque no matter what trim level you go for. That’s good for a 0-62mph time of 12.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 112mph. Not bad.

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Tell me more about drivetrain options...

Right you are. If you want to go really basic there is a two-wheel drive single cab ‘Utility’ spec. One up from that is the single cab Utility with the option of four-wheel drive. It’s properly basic and can only be combined with a manual gearbox. The first few gears are short so you’ll be working the ‘box, and there’s little feel to the brakes or steering. 

Anything up from Utility is four-wheel drive and available with a six-speed or auto gearbox, while there’s also a new diff-lock as standard. Activated by pressing the button by the gear lever, it locks the rear differential meaning the left and right wheels on the rear axle turn at the same speed. No more getting stuck in the rough stuff.

All D-Max models are mightily impressive off-road, though, whatever spec you choose. Worth noting that the wading depth has been improved to 800mm.

How does it handle on the road?

If we’re talking top-of-the-range and expected best seller, the V-Cross Double Cab Auto, there’s a huge amount more sound deadening (although you’ll still want to avoid motorway speeds) and the speed sensitive power steering is useful at low speed. The auto gearbox has been quickened up from before and it’s fairly smooth if you leave it to do its thing, although changes are still a bit glacial in manual mode. The suspension is new but there’s still a leaf spring setup at the rear – that helps for a minimum payload of 1,090kg but means it’s a little firm and bouncy on rutted roads. 

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Oh, and in case you were wondering – you’ll get around 33mpg from the 1.9-litre diesel, while CO2 emissions sit between 220 and 241g/km, meaning a £1,910 VED bill in the first year and £155 thereafter. Ouch.

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