Isuzu D-Max long-term test – First Report

Date: Monday, February 5, 2024   |   Author: James Dallas

The DL20 is designed to put in a hard day’s work. James Dallas starts to look at its credentials.

Much like that of its predecessor the Rodeo, the Isuzu D-Max’s reputation was built upon its rugged workhorse credentials and off-road ability.

The introduction of more upmarket models, such as the Blade, XTR and V-Cross, showed Isuzu could hold its own in the UK’s popular lifestyle pick-up market but the brand never lost sight of the D-Max’s hard-working roots. The latest addition to What Van?’s long-term fleet, the D-Max DL20, continues this tradition. Isuzu places its pick-up trucks in three categories: Utility, All Purpose and Adventure.

Utility consists of a 4x2 single cab, a 4x4 single cab, an extended cab and a double cab (both 4x4). All of these get a six-speed manual gearbox.

All Purpose encompasses the DL20 extended cab with the manual gearbox and two double cabs, one manual, which is the version we have, and one with a new six-speed auto transmission, and the DL40, comprising manual and auto double cabs.

The ‘DL’ indicates a selectable differential lock, which Isuzu says delivers better traction off-road than a limited-slip differential. The diff lock is standard on all bar the Utility models.

The Adventure category houses the flagship V-Cross, which is also available with manual or automatic transmissions.

The DL20 is powered by the 164hp 1.9-litre engine, which serves the whole line-up having replaced the old 163hp 2.5 lump in a 2017 facelift. Despite some initial misgivings that it might lack the brute force of its predecessor, the new powertrain has largely won over the doubters by proving its muscle in challenging environments. 

An area where the D-Max range excels is in the provision of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), which has won it a 5 Star Euro NCAP safety rating. As standard the truck gets forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, which combines with an intelligent speed limiter to alter speeds between zones, and lane departure warning, with a lane departure prevention system that adjusts the steering if the driver is about to cross lanes without indicating.

All derivatives feature a forward-facing stereo camera that can detect pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. The manufacturer claims that, unlike other cameras in the pick-up segment, Isuzu’s camera has two lenses and gauges distance by comparing the two readings – operating in a similar way to a human eye. It says the camera can identify vehicles from 120m away. 

Double-cab trucks come with a rear radar that enables additional ADAS features such as a blind spot monitor that detects vehicles in the driver’s blind spot and alerts the driver via an orange warning light in the door mirror. The warning light will flash if the driver indicates to move into the lane where a vehicle is detected. If the driver fails to take action emergency lane keeping will adjust the steering to prevent the lane change. Isuzu claims this is the first time such equipment has been a standard fit on double-cab pick-ups in the UK. Double-cab trucks also get rear cross-traffic alert to detect vehicles approaching from the rear when reversing out of a parking space.

The D-Max has undoubtedly benefited from the withdrawal of some of its competitors from the pick-up sector, particularly the Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara, which has left the all-conquering Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and more marginally, the Ssangyong Musso as its main rivals.

The DL20 double cab has a payload of 1,120kg and a towing capacity of 3.5-tonnes. This compares to 1,140kg and 3.5-tonnes for the Ford Ranger XL double cab, 1,105kg and 3.5-tonnes for the Toyota Hilux Active double cab and 1,105 and 3.2-tonnes for the Ssangyong Musso EX double cab.

Report card: Working credentials = 4/5

The DL20 offers few frills but is a dependable workhorse.

Isuzu DL20 Double Cab 4x4 

Mileage 1,521mls  

Official combined fuel economy 33.6mpg

Our average consumption 27.7mpg

Price range (ex VAT) £23,929-£35,779

Price (ex VAT) £29,679

Warranty 5yrs/125,000mls

Service intervals 12,000mls

Load length 1,495mm

Load width (min/max) 1,110/1,530mm 

Gross payload 1,120kg

Braked towing weight 3.5-tonnes

Engine size/power 1,898cc/164hp

Gearbox 6-spd manual

CO2 220g/km

Options (prices ex VAT)

Tow bar £275.00

13 pin towing electrics £185.50

Over rail liner £247.50




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