Isuzu D-Max V-Cross
By Bill McCarthy
When it comes to pick-ups, it’s no longer just how capable the vehicle is off road, although that is pretty vital in most cases.
But these days it’s as much about the catwalk as the dirt track. I have said before that the Isuzu is an impossibly stylish pick-up and nothing in the latest version has altered my opinion.
Obviously, there are model grades offering different levels of comfort, trim and equipment, not to mention double cab, extended cab, single cab, open top or closed cargo bay.
But the double cab is surely the most appealing of this dual-purpose vehicle with its five seat arrangement and comfort to match most family saloons.
But it’s unusual for a range-topper, like the V-Cross driven here, to be the best selling version of a particular model.
Maybe that is not surprising as it clearly is a dual purpose vehicle, offering off-road ruggedness and impressive load capacity, married to car-like comfort, surprising economy and an attractive purchase price when you take into account standard equipment. This range topper will set you back £33,849 plus VAT.
Thanks to its upgraded suspension, 3.5t towing capacity, shift-on-the-fly 4WD system with locking rear differential and one-tonne-plus payload, it now offers even more than ever, with high-end interior and plenty of standard equipment.
Clearly its workhorse credentials are self evident. But addressing practical problems, such as boot capacity for family items such as shopping and household goods on this open back version, needs a bit of creativity while still allowing for transporting the likes of pallets, fence panels or bags of cement.
Netting strapped to lashing points and investing in a metal roll top could be one answer.
It looks the part decked out with gunmetal grey bold new grille and running plates, together with colour-coded door mirrors and bumpers. It also features LED lights, day time running lights and a clever damped tailgate on the open cab.
It sits on snazzy 18-inch six-spoke alloys with tyres, designed for off-road, but more than capable of delivering a reasonably comfortable ride on-road,
The double cab means five are carried in reasonable comfort and major functions are operated via a nine-inch touchscreen, while a 4.2 inch display gives vital driver information.
Other features include eight speaker sound system, push button starter, auto dimming mirror, dual zone climate control and multi-function steering wheel.
The roomy interior also features powered and heated, multi adjustable leather-style seats and V-Cross branded mats.
Also included is a raft of safety kit and, importantly for such a long vehicle, rear camera. It is the only pickup in the UK to have a rear radar fitted as standard on all double cab variants together with rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor and emergency lane keeping.
The vehicle is powered by a 1.9 litre diesel engine, with auto transmission and on-the-fly capability of selecting four wheel drive. The firm says it is built to endure the harshest conditions, with a 250mm ground clearance and no compromise on vehicle handling and stability.
The 162bhp engine is more than capable of delivering the grunt needed for serious off-road work, while at the same time offering enough pace on road to more than cope with both general and motorway driving. Economy is surprisingly good with a claimed 36-odd mpg seeming pretty much near the mark.
The modified suspension means it can cope with extreme terrains, but does not make you feel seasick when on flat roads. Although you cannot escape some wallow on corners, it is surprisingly agile for such a big beast.
In addition there is the 125,000 mile/five-year warranty and five-year roadside assistance to offer quite a tempting package.
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross Double Cab Auto
Price: £40,549 inc VAT
Mechanical: 162bhp, 1,989cc, four-cylinder diesel engine driving four wheels via six-speed auto gearbox
Max speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 12.7 seconds
Combined mpg: 30.7
Insurance group: 50
CO2 emissions: 241g/km
BIK rating: 37 per cent
Warranty: 5yrs/125,000 miles