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2017 Isuzu D-Max Blade Review

2017 Isuzu D-Max Blade Review

After a full week testing out the new 2017 Isuzu D-Max Blade truck, here are my thoughts on this workhorse and why you will want one.

What is the 2017 Isuzu D-Max Blade all about?

The Isuzu D-Max has been around since 2002. The pickup truck meets a direct need for large cargo transportation while retaining the benefits of car-like comforts like heated seats and a good driving position. 2017 sees the introduction of a completely new generation of D-Max truck – and it has come a long way.

As ever the D-Max presents a vehicle that has a lot of load space, great performance, great economy, a clever four-wheel-drive system and space for 5 people. This truck ticks a lot of boxes and does so exceptionally well.

However, the version we are testing here is no normal D-Max: it’s the D-Max Blade. It is a D-Max with a lot more aggressive appeal. Take a look at the truck and you’ll notice the Blade has a gorgeous black  body which gives the car a uniquely stealthy look. You’ll notice there are 18-inch black alloy wheels, black mirrors, black roof bars, black roll cage and a black rollbar on the rear. This combination is what gives the D-Max Blades its very stealthy look.

Under the bonnet there is a new 1.9-litre diesel engine that creates 164 PS and a healthy 360Nm of torque. All that power drives an automatic gearbox with a clever drive train that switches from 2WD to 4WD at the turn of a knob, ready for rough conditions. If you’re towing there’s also a low range gearbox allowing you to get the most out of the power. Thanks to typical diesel traits, it emits 205g of CO2/km and gets 36 combined mpg – however, I appeared to exceed this whilst on long journeys with the car.

How does it drive?

To enter the latest D-Max you have to take a small jump, but there’s a handy sidestep to assist you. Once inside you sit at a good height, similar to a large van or SUV. The D-Max on test was fitted with keyless go ignition, so the press of a button fires up the new 1.9-litre diesel engine. Stick the car into drive and once you get moving you’ll instantly notice that the D-Max Blade has a lot of van-like driving characteristics. The car’s certainly more comfortable than the previous generation though, since it still has to cater for heavy cargo loads.

The 1.9-litre diesel engine is a punchy unit similar to the 2.5-litre twin turbo in the out-going car. The torque delivery from the car is extremely powerful when you’re on boost, and when you put your foot down the truck will get up to speed in no time. The automatic gearbox works really well with the engine – the shifts that the car chooses to make all seem pretty logical. Engine noise may be present in the cabin, but knowing how capable the truck is you soon learn to look past this. One of the big improvements on this engine over the old is the removal of turbo lag, which is no where to be seen on the current 1.9-litre engine.

Being a proper commercial vehicle, chances are you’ll find yourself off-road on a regular basis. When things get a little bit rough in the D-Max Blade, a simple touch of the drive system dial in the middle allows you to switch from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive, and within seconds you will have all the traction you need. The truck has perfect ride height for off-roading, which means you’ll be able to take on some pretty rough terrain. Regular roads only require the use of 2-wheel-drive because of the better economy it offers, making the option to optimise settings for your own driving conditions work out really well.

What is it like inside?

The previous generation was no-frills inside, but the 2017 model is a massive refresh. The interior is one of the biggest differences between the previous generation of the D-Max and its latest model. The inside of the truck is now very much car-like compared to the D-Max’s previous incarnations – and just take a look at those seats. The car comes with beautifully crafted seats wrapped very nicely in leather and carefully stitched in orange which give a fantastically luxurious feel to the interior and set this car far apart from its rival commercial vehicles.

On top there is now a huge 9-inch touchscreen display which controls all of the media, telephone and sat-nav functions on the car. The D-Max also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Experience

Amidst typical commercial vehicles, space trucks like the Isuzu D-Max Blade are pure desire and a little bit of a status symbol, since they provide a bit more than just all the practicalities we ask of a car. The Isuzu D-Max Blade looks cool, its very presence demands respect – certainly in the stealthy black look we have here.

Verdict

Isuzu now have a fantastic range of trucks in the D-Max line up, designed specifically for different scenarios. Isuzu describe the truck very well in saying ‘The Blade combines the ability to turn heads and put in a hard day’s work’. It couldn’t be more true. The D-Max Blade is just as capable as all the others, but has additional touches to give that sense of exclusivity which most people won’t justify the extra cost on. The D-Max looks and feels like the king of the pickup truck world – whether you go for the Blade trim-level or not, you can’t go wrong choosing the Isuzu.

Specification

2017 Isuzu D-Max Blade

  • Price: £29,114
  • Engine: 1.9-litre Diesel
  • Power: 164 PS
  • Torque: 360 Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Auto
  • Weight: 1,949 kg
  • Economy: 36 mpg
  • CO2: 205 g/km
Gallery

Author: Paul Hadley

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