MT Reviews:

Isuzu's D-Max Utah is plasticky and sluggish, but that didn't stop me loving its rugged nature, says Sathnam Sanghera.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

A confession: when I can't get to sleep, I often pretend I'm driving a truck. I'm not sure where the habit comes from. Maybe from watching Long Distance Clara on Pigeon Street as a kid. Or perhaps it was the formative experience of being rescued by an AA truck. But ever since I was a child, I have been nodding off while picturing myself behind the wheel of a HGV.

I mention this not for reasons of psychotherapy but as context for this review. I was always going to love my first-ever experience of a truck, however small. But I also realise some people will not share the fetish. So, for the sake of balance, let's start with the problems.

There is more plastic inside the double cab than you'll find wrapping the average Easter egg. There are some National Trust properties that warm up more quickly on a cold day. The stereo seemingly has two volume settings: loud and barely audible. There is such a long delay with the power on hard acceleration that you could watch an entire episode of Ice Road Truckers during the wait. It is so slow that Isuzu doesn't even publish an acceleration figure. The steering is heavy. It is, frankly, the kind of vehicle you expect to be driven by someone into dogging or casual murder.

But I loved it. It was snowing heavily in the week I received my loan vehicle and, as a result of the great four-wheel-drive system, I managed to drive 240 miles without a single problem. The high seating position feels safe and reassuring. The controls are so big that you can use them with gloves on, there is space for whole flasks of tea in drink holders, and it is reassuring to know that the D-Max could, if necessary, tow three tonnes and carry more than a tonne.

Not that I did, of course. But this, perhaps, is the ultimate appeal of trucks. There is something supremely comforting, and profoundly sleep-enabling, in the knowledge that if a friend needed help moving house, or if you needed something to drag back your spoils after a spot of stag-hunting, you could get the job done in a jiffy.

Frankly, I wanted to give the D-Max five stars, but knew I would get some funny looks, so have compromised. Night, night.


Engine: 2.5 litre, four cylinder, diesel, twin turbo
Transmission: automatic
Fuel consumption: 33.6 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions: 220 g/km
Power: 160 bhp @ 3,600 rpm
Torque: 295 lb/ft @ 1,400 rpm
0-62 mph: n/a
Top speed: 112 mph

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