THIS is Britain’s fastest pick-up truck.
Guaranteed to get you there 10mph quicker (legally) than Hilux and Ranger — and even Raptor too.
Yes, because an Isuzu D-Max can be driven at normal car speed limits: 60mph on single carriageways and 70mph on dual carriageways.
Whereas most rivals can’t.
They are heavier and therefore restricted to goods vehicle speed limits, which are 50mph and 60mph.
Two observations on this.
First, you could get to the farmers’ market or Travis Perkins first and pick up the best deals of the day.
Early bird catches the worm and all that.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, your licence will stay clean.
Let’s be honest, you are unlikely to get stopped by the police for doing normal car speeds in a Hilux or a Ranger.
But with all the smart speed cameras that buddy up to the DVLA these days, you WILL get a ticket.
Now, it’s fair to say D-Max is more Regatta than North Face in the pick-up world.
Does the job but doesn’t have the badge.
Maybe some things are about to change.
Not only is D-Max better than it has ever been, Isuzu has an open goal to become a major player in the UK.
Bosses are busy mopping up new dealers as Mitsubishi (L200) quits the UK and Nissan has called time on the Navara.
The Mercedes X-Class and Fiat Fullback have already been axed and the VW Amarok won’t return until 2023.
That leaves D-Max, Ranger, Hilux and the SsangYong Musso, and D-Max orders are already outstripping supply.
Business contract hire is from £249 a month.
So, what’s D-Max like to drive?
I like it. We’re friends.
It’s got the strength and off-road capability you’d expect — high/low ratio 4WD, rear diff lock, steel skid plates and so on, and can swim up to its elbows in filth.
I gave it a proper workout in an old quarry.
But it’s the on-road comfort that will make it a contender for lifestyle enthusiasts as much as grafters.
I’m not going to lie.
All leaf-sprung pick-ups have that Tigger bounce without a load in the back.
But otherwise D-Max is quiet and easy and talks to your phone.
Put it this way. My Nan could do a three-point turn in a D-Max, one-handed, and the steering weights up nicely as you pick up speed.
As for the rest of the cabin — much smarter than before.
Those silver buttons are very Merc. And you’ll find many cup holders, USB ports, cubby holes and grab handles dotted about everywhere.
All things that please.
Every model has camera-based advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) as standard, plus an E-call button in the event of a big ooops, helping D-Max score a maximum five stars in crash tests.
The six-speed manual has cruise control but the auto box adds adaptive cruise control, which is handy if you spend any time on a motorway.
To conclude, then.
The marketing bods at Isuzu use the tagline: “Smarter. Stronger. Safer.”
That’s good but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
It should be: “Smarter. Stronger. Safer. Faster.”
You can have that for free.
Key facts: ISUZU D-MAX
Price: £24,509 exc VAT
Engine: 1.9-litre turbo diesel
Power: 164hp, 360Nm
0-62mph: 12.7 secs
Top speed: 112mph