Isuzu D-Max review

Category: Pick-up

Section: Costs & verdict

Star rating
Isuzu D-Max 2021 load space open
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Running your Isuzu D-Max as a company car will be very affordable because, as we've mentioned, every version is above the magical 1000kg payload threshold that enables you to classify it as a commercial vehicle.

Anyone paying for one out of their own pocket should find that most models undercut the equivalent Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. It is worth noting that the Ssangyong Musso offers more kit for less money, although you'll have to go for the top-of-the-range Rhino version to get the same level of safety tech as a D-Max. There’s barely any difference in terms of fuel economy between the D-Max, Hilux and Ranger, although it is slightly higher than the Musso.

The entry-level Utility gets all the basics, with air-con, auto lights and wipers, cruise control and Bluetooth, but we’d suggest going for the DL40 which not only adds a rear differential lock (standard from DL20 upwards) so you can tackle more serious off-road obstacles, but also has brighter Bi-LED headlights, a touchscreen infotainment system, leather trim, electric seat adjustment and dual-zone climate control.

The D-Max is backed up by a five years or 125,000 miles manufacturer’s warranty, along with five years of roadside assistance. That's longer than you get with a Ranger and more mileage than a Hilux. The Musso, however, beats everyone with seven years or 150,000 miles of coverage.

Where the others can’t beat the D-Max is in terms of safety, with its five stars from Euro NCAP. The Hilux has a host of standard safety tech and also holds five stars, but it was tested under the old regime and its safety software isn’t as comprehensive as that of the D-Max.

Automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assistance and traffic sign recognition are standard across the D-Max range, while double cab models offer blindspot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. Spring for an automatic D-Max and the standard cruise control is upgraded to an adaptive version that will keep you a set distance from the car in front.

Isuzu D-Max 2021 load space open

Overview

Having a greater level of safety tech than a Toyota Hilux but for less money already sets the D-Max apart. Yet Isuzu hasn’t forgotten the core values of what commercial drivers need because both payload and towing figures remain highly competitive with the Ford Ranger. It also drives and rides very well for a pick up truck, so it just seems a shame a more refined and potent engine couldn’t be found, because if it had that, then the D-Max would be a world-class pick-up truck.

  • Easy to drive with a decent ride
  • Good payload ratings
  • Safety tech available across the range
  • Needs a punchier engine
  • Also needs a quieter engine
  • Poor quality interior

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