Adam Gray

Freelance Motoring Journalist

Isuzu D-Max XTR front

On Test: Isuzu D-Max XTR Nav+ 4×4 Double Cab

Isuzu might have slimmed down its range here in the UK to just one model, but the Japanese marque offers plenty of choice for those in the market for a pick-up.

The D-Max range comprises ‘Business’, ‘All Purpose’ and ‘Adventure’ pickups, with prices ranging from £20,832 to £49,736 OTR.

There’s the usual mix of single- and double-cab models for sensibly hauling stuff around, but pleasingly there’s a line of extreme off-roading variants, too.

At the top end is the AT35 – a tricked-out version in collaboration with Scandinavian off-road specialists, Arctic Trucks.

But it’s the latest addition to the ‘Adventure’ lineup – a model that sits just below the AT35 in the range – that’s bound to appeal to the masses.

Up steps the XTR, boasting sophisticated, aggressive styling and a tough, rugged and powerful look.

Positioned as the most ‘lifestyle’-orientated version of the D-Max yet, the XTR has been developed for off-road enthusiasts and drivers who want a vehicle to complement their lifestyle.

The XTR boasts authentic capability, with a bespoke Pedders suspension upgrade as standard, and substantial kerb appeal with a sophisticated body kit and aggressive styling.

It receives black-plastic moulded treatment front, side and rear, with flared wheel-arches and heavy-duty looking 17-inch wheels wrapped in chunky off-road rubber from Pirelli.

Finishing off the look are black side steps, a tailgate spoiler and an under-rail load liner as standard.

On the inside the XTR is equally as impressive, with heated front sport seats cloaked in leather, suede and carbon fibre leather with XTR embroidery and green overstitching.

Meanwhile, the D-shaped steering wheel creates a sporty impression and, again, is trimmed in leather and suede with green stitching.

All D-Max models come equipped with air conditioning, LED daytime running lights, electric windows and Bluetooth connectivity.

Infotainment is provided by a Pioneer system which includes a seven-inch touchscreen display, eight speakers, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and front and rear USB ports.

The XTR Nav+ 4×4 Double Cab – the model tested – costs £1,150 more than the standard XTR and adds satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a DAB radio.

The question is, though – does the XTRs performance match its looks? In short – no.

Although the 164ps, 1.9-litre diesel offers plenty of power and is quieter than the previous model’s 2.5-litre engine, it’s still quite noisy compared to rivals.

It may be £1,000 cheaper (kicking XTR prices off at £41,340 OTR), but the manual gearbox’s first few gears are frustratingly short too, meaning it has to be worked hard to get moving.

That being said, considering the chassis has been lifted by 250mm, the XTR is well planted and there’s very little body roll going into the corners thanks to the Pedders suspension.

But lets face it, tarmac isn’t where the XTR really wishes to be, and I have no doubt it’s extremely capable off-road, despite not getting the chance to test its capabilities.

Like all versions of the D-Max, the XTR features selectable four-wheel-drive with a locking central differential and selectable low range.

Extremely effective hill descent control, high levels of grip and great visibility combine to deliver a pick-up with serious off-roading capability. 

If you’re in the market for a pick-up with macho appeal, the XTR represents a cost-effective alternative to the Ford Ranger Raptor.

It’s much cheaper on list price than the Ford, whilst also qualifying as a commercial vehicle and therefore being exempt from VAT.

Also worth mentioning is that, unlike many lifestyle pickups, the XTR qualifies for the same speeds limits as a passenger car, meaning it can do 70mph on dual carriageways.

FAST FACTS

Isuzu D-Max XTR Nav+ 4×4 Double Cab

Price: £42,720 OTR

Mechanical: 164ps, 1,898cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 12.7 seconds

Combined mpg: 40

Insurance group: 42A

CO2 emissions: 183g/km

BIK rating: 32%

Warranty: 5yrs/125,000 miles

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