D-Max Blade Double Cab 2.5 Auto 4x4
something abut a pick-up
thats fundamentally appealing
a can-do-ness that not even the
biggest 4x4 can trump. And in
four-door, five-seat double-cab
configuration plenty of people prefer
them to an urbanised SUV...
PROOF OF THE EVER-GROWING APPEAL of pick-ups is that even Mercedes-Benz is
coming to the party (with its forthcoming X-Class) while plenty more big names
have also RSVP-ed. Never, in the history of pick-ups, have buyers had so much
For lifestylistas, Isuzu's D-Max premium range pick-ups are the ones to go for
unless it's a single-cab or a four-seating, four-door extended-cab workhorse
you're after, in which case the Japanese brand's 'utility' line-up will serve
you well. If you want all the bells and whistles and four-wheel drive then the
plusher Eiger, Yukon, Utah and Blade versions will serve you right.
D-Max certainly looks the leisure-oriented pick-up. The lines are clean and
uncluttered and all the more standout because it's totally bling-free; the eighteen-inch
six-spoke alloys, wrapped in meaty 255/60 18-inch Pirelli Scorpion Zero rubber
are smart without being showy and hooded by big but shapely wheelarches primarily
designed to allow for plenty of wheel travel off-road.
looks the leisure-oriented
The lines are clean
and uncluttered and all
the more standout
because its totally
bling-free; the eighteen-
inch alloys are smart
without being showy and
hooded by big but
designed to allow
for plenty of wheel travel
Another well-judged touch is the subtle metallic grey finish to the grille that
matches the wheels. Black finished door handles echo the substantial satin black
roll bar and black roof bars. Heavy-duty non-slip side-steps are equally understated
but nevertheless tough-looking.
The penultimate range-topper is the Blade and that comes specced with what high-end
SUV buyers expect: black leather upholstery, heated front seats, automatic climate
control, rear parking camera, tinted glass, power windows and heated powerfolding
door mirrors, touchscreen Pioneer navigation system (DAB stereo with eight speakers
including two roof-mounted 'Exciter'speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB/i-Pod
interface) and a respectable set of 18-inch alloy rims.
While there are five trim levels to choose from, picking an engine is as straightforward
as it gets because there's just the one a 160bhp 2.5-litre twin-turboed
diesel. That's not a problem because its accompanying 295lb ft is more than
capable: the D-Max will happily haul a 3,500kg braked trailer, and makes light
of carrying 1,075kg in the loadbay.
Swing yourself in behind the multifunction steering wheel and you'll immediately
'get' why people like pick-ups so much the driving position is commanding
and the generously glazed double-cab affords excellent 360-degree visibility,
made even better because you can see the bonnet and the front 'corner's (though
the full-width, full-depth rear screen you can even see the rear 'corners' too).
Consequently, placing the Blade accurately on the road even in 'crush'
hour traffic is a piece of cake.
Which is good, because the D-Max is no socially-stunted 'compact'. From nose
to tail it takes up 5.3 metres of blacktop; it's 1,860mm wide, has 225mm of
ground clearance and measures 1,785mm to the top of its roof. Unexpectedly,
from the driver's seat it doesn't feel bulky; it's other drivers, even those
in large SUVs, who're clearly very much aware of the Blade's physical claim
The benefits are twofold: inside the double-cab; and in the loadbed behind it.
First the cab. You not only ride 'tall in the saddle' in a D-Max but you can
also wear a tall hat while driving: the deep side windows go hand-in-hand with
generous headroom and climbing aboard is super easy thanks to sturdy grab-handles
on the A-pillar.
cabin is spacious and there's ample high-gloss piano black trim to the centre
stack and door cappings plus a similar fascia 'skin' to what you'll find in
some Volkswagens to make you feel at home. In addition there's leather upholstery
covering the large and accommodating heated seats, with grippy black mesh bolstering
that helps keep you located when the going gets tough in the rough, and which
'do' long distances comfortably.
driving position is spot-on and the dash clearly laid-out for hassle-free
use with automatic climate control and a fully-loaded eight-speaker
Pioneer navigation system incorporating a 7-inch touchscreen plus DAB
and a reversing
The driving position is spot-on and the dash clearly laid-out for hassle-free
use with automatic climate control and a fully-loaded eight-speaker Pioneer
navigation system incorporating a 7-inch touchscreen and a reversing camera.
The dials are large and clear and the wheel rim of a good-to-hold girth.
Appreciated touches include the pullout mini drawers that double as cupholders
fitted each side of the dash and which are perfectly sited for those essential
takeout cappuccinos, two gloveboxes (one lockable), a handy lidded bin sunk
into the the top of the fascia, bottle-holding door bins that really do hold
real-world bottles, and on-demand powerfolding and heated door mirrors.
If you're asked to sit in the back you'll be well rewarded physically
getting in/out is easy and once you're in there's a decent amount of knee- and
legroom and, courtesy of the low central floor tunnel, generous foot-room (three
pairs of shoes side-by-side is doable). Better still, you sit high off the floor
so lower leg comfort is good.
Views out at not harmed by the tinted rear glass and the rear cabin is pleasantly
airy, helped by the light coming through the expansive rear screen. Keeping
it all civilised are long outer armrests and a well padded, drop-down central
armrest that's big enough for two to share with no boundary disputes. And while
you don't get heated seats in the back, there are effective dedicated heating
ducts for the colder months.
If you're not carrying passengers in the rear cab you have plenty of options
for cargo one is to fold down the rear backrest (it drops down totally
flat onto the seat bases) to free up some useful load space behind the front
seats. Alternately you can fold up either or both of the 60:40-split seat base
cushions which can then be secured upright. Of course, there's nothing to stop
you just slinging stuff on the rear seats left in their normal setting!
the D-Max's clean-cut bonnet sits a twin-turboed 2.5-litre diesel engine that
pumps out 160bhp and 295lb ft. Work it and you'll hear a reassuring growly note
this is, after all, a bit of a beastie!
clean-cut bonnet sits a
diesel engine that pumps
out 160bhp and 295lb ft.
Work it and youll hear
a reassuring growly note
this is, after all, a bit
of a beastie!
A five-speed autobox keeps the engine on song, matching the demands of your
right foot. But ease off the loud pedal and the turbodiesel soundtrack fades
to a reassuring background burble.
to the driving appeal is the fact that, when helpful (towing, off-roading, etc),
the selector lever can be nudged sideways into its +/- gate and gear changes
If you're thinking that a big tough body and workhorse abilities combined with
four-wheel drive and an autobox means you'll pay at the pumps, you'll be pleasantly
surprised to discover that you won't driven fairly hard over 350 miles,
from twisty country lanes to longer motorway trips, the 2.5-litre Blade returned
32.2mpg against the official 33.6mpg not only close enough to be honest,
but indicating that even better economy is achievable with a more laid-back
Another pleasant surprise was the decent ride quality our passengers
all commented on how well the D-Max rode, with even large potholes taken in
it stride; sure there's an occasional 'thud' but no jarring or crashiness. Better
still, the ride is not bouncy nor the tail skittish, as some pick-ups are apt
to be particularly when running unladen. In fact the D-Max feels agreeably good
to travel in whether you're tasked with taking the helm or you're just along
for the ride.
Dynamically the Blade's satisfying to drive because it handles predictably;
you feel safe even at fast motorway speeds, when it just lopes tirelessly along.
Overall there's a palpable no-nonsense can-do attitude that's boosted by how
easy it is to place on the road even in the cut-and-thrust of city traffic.
And even though it's 'just' a pick-up, safety kit is comprehensive with ABS
brakes, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control, dual front, side and
curtain airbags, and height-adjustable front seatbelts all being standard-fit
also got everything you'll need for roaming about in the rough, starting with
a 4x4 drivetrain and low-range gearbox and plenty of ground clearance; all helped
by a 600mm wading ability, 30-degree approach angle, 22-degree departure angle,
22-degree ramp angle, and 49-degree tilt angle. Incidentally, the Blade's useful
side-steps don't reduce its off-road ground clearance or impede off-road ability.
everything youll need
for roaming about in the
rough, starting with
a 4x4 drivetrain and
low-range gearbox and
plenty of ground
clearance; all helped by
a 600mm wading ability,
22-degree ramp angle,
and 49-degree tilt
low-ratio four-wheel drive setting (4H) needs to be selected when the D-Max
is stationary but shifting from 2H to 4H (for gravel, sand, snow) and back again
can be done easily 'on the fly' at up to 60mph using the rotary selector switch
just aft of the autobox's selector lever.
don't have boots; they have a loadbed. The Blade's is lined and measures 1,552mm
by 1,530mm and can cope with carrying a tonne (1,075kg) of stuff. It will also
tow a braked trailer up to 3,500kg.
The tailgate is damped for controlled (and pain-free) opening a nice
touch as it's very sturdily built. When opened it sits horizontally level with
your thigh so loading will go easy on your back.
Keeping your gear safe is a strong black roller blind loadbed cover that slides
back automatically when unlocked (a resilient return strap makes pulling it
shut again easy). Also worth mentioning is that the Blade's double cab is fitted
with roof bars that offer another carrying option. And should you ever need
it, you'll find a proper spare wheel mounted externally under the loadbed.
One of the most un-truck-like lifestyle vehicles, under the skin the D-Max is
workhorse-tough and totally dependable and trumps its rivals with a 5-year/125,000-mile
warranty. It's also enjoyable to drive a Big Friendly Giant of a pick-up!
Isuzu D-Max Blade Double Cab 2.5 Auto 4x4
Maximum speed: 111mph | 0-62mph: 11 seconds | Test Average: 32.7mpg
Power: 160bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 220g/km