The second generation of the Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck, which went on sale in March 2021, has rightly received plaudits for the step up in sophistication it has made when compared with the first iteration of the model, which was chiefly known and respected as a no-nonsense workhorse, carrying on in the same vein as its predecessor, the Rodeo.

Isuzu has not abandoned its rugged, utilitarian roots, however, and the entry-level version of the new D-Max, appropriately named the Utility, is something of a blast from the past.

Isuzu offers the D-Max in three ranges, Business (containing Utility), All Purpose (DL20 and DL40) and Adventure (V-Cross).

The Utility is available in single-, extended- and double-cab modes, the last of which is the one driven here. The brand says Utility models account for about a quarter of D-Max sales while double-cab trucks command four out of five sales across the whole line-up.

The entire D-Max range is powered by a 1.9l 164hp diesel engine and in Utility models this is married to six-speed manual transmission. If you want the six-speed auto then you have to step up to All Purpose. This is also the case if you need the added off-road traction provided by the rear differential lock, which is signified by the ‘DL’ prefix on the DL20 and DL40 versions. The top of the range V-Cross also gets the diff-lock as standard.

The D-Max is the proud recipient of a 5 Star Euro NCAP safety badge and even the Utility is well endowed with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

Our truck came with autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed limiter, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor, emergency lane keeping and rear cross traffic alert. This is laudable but it is slightly odd that Utility models do not also come with rear parking sensors as standard. Once more, these are added with the All Purpose range.

All D-Max trucks now come with height and reach-adjustable steering columns – it was high time this was installed – and this combines with speed sensitive electronic power steering, which is light at low speeds and thus more relaxing in urban environments, but stiffens up at higher speeds to improve handling. The gear shift on the Utility, however, is something of a throwback, the stick itself is long and spindly while the changes can be notchy.

The gearbox does now feature a lockout function, in the shape of a release ring, which prevents the driver from accidently selecting reverse.

The Utility’s exterior and interior are both designed with functionality in mind. The double-cab gets 18in steel wheels (plus a full-size spare) and hard-wearing black plastics on the bumpers, door handles and wing mirrors.

On the inside there are cloth seats, vinyl floor covering and tough rubber mats. The driver’s seat is six-way manually adjustable and also includes lumbar support, there are a pair of front cup holders at either end of the dashboard plus one in the central console and medium bottle-sized pockets in the doors. There are steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls but the 4.2in information display is small, hard to read and looks anachronistic compared to what is generally on offer these days (you get 7in and 9in touchscreens as you move up the D-Max range, for example). 

There is a CD player, aux port and USB port in the front and the two-speaker stereo/radio can be tuned to DAB as well as FM stations.

Isuzu D-Max Double-Cab Utility

Price (ex VAT) £24,509

Price range (ex VAT) £21,009-£32,759

Insurance group 50D

Warranty 5yrs/125,000mls

Service intervals 12,000mls

Load length 1,495mm

Load width (min/max) 1,110/1,530mm

Load bay depth 490mm

Gross payload 1,115kg

Engine size/power 1,898cc/164hp

Combined fuel economy 33.6mpg

CO2 220g/km