In-depth reviews

Isuzu D-Max pickup - Engines, drive & performance

The Isuzu D-Max has just one engine, which is noisy under acceleration

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.3 out of 5

Unsurprisingly, the Isuzu D-Max is a diesel-only affair. While other pickups offer a number of engines, there’s just one in the D-Max – a 163bhp 1.9-litre turbodiesel that provides plenty of punch, thanks in part to relatively short gear ratios. The problem, however, is that the short first gear means you have to rev the engine quite hard before changing up, which makes a lot of noise.

Having a short first gear will help when towing but you may find it easier to set off in second gear when not carrying anything. The automatic is better in some regards, even if we found it to be a little slower to react than the new 10-speed auto in the Ford Ranger.

Isuzu D-Max diesel engine

The Isuzu D-Max can get from 0-62mph in 12.7 seconds, which is fairly competitive for a pickup. Specifying the automatic gearbox sees that rise slightly to 13 seconds.

Both automatic and manual gearboxes were new for the facelifted D-Max and both have short ratios, meaning lots of gearchanges are required at low speeds, although the fact the pickup has six gears means it’s reasonably relaxed on the motorway. There’s a low-range gearbox on both the manual and automatic, which improves traction off-road.

For a pumped up pickup like the Ranger Raptor, it’s worth hunting out an XTR model, which isn’t currently available new. It gets a bold look; black bodywork cladding, extended wheelarches and graphics on the bodywork set it apart from other versions, while a 250mm taller ride height sees it towering over most traffic. The body still feels impressively tied down for a pickup but, despite being upgraded for the XTR, the brakes still feel like they can struggle to stop the two-tonne D-Max sharply. The new green-painted suspension and Pirelli off-road tyres certainly deliver in tough conditions, and effective hill descent control is reassuring when teetering on the edge of a slippery slope.

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