New Isuzu D-Max Launch

New Isuzu D-Max digs into tough quarry challenge

Steep slopes and deep water awaited the new Isuzu D-Max when Reflex Vehicle Hire Fleet team took it to a quarry for a series of tough challenges

Isuzu only makes commercial vehicles and its absolute focus on building for business means when it rolls out a new model, you know it is going to be up to the toughest of jobs.

To find out, we took the newly-launch D-Max pick-up to a quarry for a tough day on the job to test its improved performance and check out the updated styling before it got to work.

This is familiar territory to an Isuzu pick-up truck, which is primarily designed as a workhorse, while offering a broad range of trim levels that adds family appeal.

It offers a one-tonne payload and up to 3.5 tonnes towing capacity, while its solid build quality is backed by Isuzu’s 125,000-mile, five-year warranty.

It is better looking, stronger, and safer than its predecessor and the update has already attracted the attention of 4x4 Magazine, which named the D-Max 2021 Pick-Up Of The Year during its annual awards.

There is also plenty of choice for fleet operators, with four new trim levels: Utility, DL20, DL40 (DL stands for diff-lock), and V-Cross.

There are three cab types (single, extended, and double cab) and drive options cover 4x2 or 4x4, powered through a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.

It is a comprehensive package, enhanced by improved technology and safety, even in base models.

Safety is a particularly important factor on the Reflex Vehicle Hire fleet and the D-Max offers Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) as standard on all models.

Autonomous Emergency Braking, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Limiter and Lane Departure Warning are also standard, while in a sector first, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (which detects vehicles approaching from the side when reversing out of spaces), Blind Spot Monitor and Emergency Lane Keeping are fitted on all double cabs.

If the worst were to happen, the D-Max has been awarded five stars in EuroNCAP’s crash test programme after a range of safety upgrades.

A new driver’s knee airbag is standard on all models, double cabs get eight airbags including a new centre airbag, revised suspension increases stability and there are larger brakes, in addition to E-Call, which automatically alerts the emergency services in the event of a crash.

The D-Max also scored maximum points for rescue and extraction and child occupant protection.

Equipment levels are generous even in base Utility trim, which features automatic headlights with high beam assist, automatic windscreen wipers, speed-sensitive power steering, DAB radio and a stop/start system. There is easy-clean vinyl flooring and tough steel wheels, while the bumpers, door mirrors and door handles are hard-wearing black plastic.

The work focus continues in the DL models, but with increased equipment and the option of an automatic transmission. For safety, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keep Assist are added, while the DL20 gets heated front seats, rear parking sensors, front fog lights and a front centre armrest, with body-coloured front and rear bumpers and alloy wheels.

DL40 adds LED headlights and front fog lights, silver side steps and upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, keyless entry with push-button start, leather upholstery and steering wheel, eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a multifunction colour touchscreen offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For extra comfort there is also dual-zone climate control.

The range-topping V-Cross adds external flourishes including upgraded radiator grille, side steps, door mirrors, door handles and alloy wheels, along with a bigger touchscreen, eight speakers and self-levelling headlights.

Although there are eight colours across the range (Spinel Red and Valencia Orange look particularly good), our cars were mainly brown on their tough-mudding course in Hillhead Quarry, Buxton.

We threw everything at the D-Max, including wading, steep hill climbs, tough descents and driving on precarious slopes, during which it performed flawlessly, but it could still hold its own on the Tarmac during a road trip through the picturesque Peak District.

The diesel engine is Euro6D compliant, meeting the strictest urban emission standards, and delivers 164PS and 360Nm of torque. When mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox, it offers up to 25% faster gear changes for more responsive driving performance.

It is also light enough to be classed as a car, which is an important consideration. Every variant of the D-Max weighs under 2,040kg and is subject to normal passenger car speed limits, whereas many double cab pick-up trucks exceed this weight and must comply with goods vehicle speed limits, which are 10mph lower on single and dual carriageways.

Drivers will appreciate the redesigned seats, which offer comfort and support for long journeys, but also have robust design that will cope with years of hard labour on site.

On its own, this would be a competitive package, but Isuzu’s commitment to the market is also key, coming at a time when some rival models are being discontinued.

Despite less competition, Isuzu has continued to up its game and it has produced one of the best-looking and safest models on the market today.

Reflex currently operates a fleet of more than 60 previous generation D-Max models in a range of utility and lifestyle specifications and the latest improvements will be sure to secure its place as a core fleet offering for years to come.

For details on the wealth of vehicles available on flexible terms from Reflex Vehicle Hire, review our Vehicle Selection page or speak to one of our expert team members.


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