I’ll start with one of my catchphrases …….”I do love a good pickup”
There are lots of good pickups on the market today, In fact, the line between pickup and SUV is becoming increasingly blurred with every new pickup released. You could argue that Isuzu is one of the founding fathers of the modern pickup. Farmers and workers across the globe who need a serious workhorse have preached the word of Isuzu for years.
Isuzu introduced us to the D-Max in 2012, and it became the standard for rugged reliability and a serious workhorse. That is still the case, however, these days there is a rich vein of luxury running through the D-Max family. We have been fortunate enough to test several of the D-Max family; the mad Arctic trucks variant, the very cool XTR and now the Blade. Our test vehicle is the D-Max Blade which is a double cab with all the toys.
Talking about toys, the range-topping D-Max Blade has plenty. In terms of practicality; LED projector headlights, rear load liner, roof bars, side steps, tailgate damper, privacy glass rear windows and ours had the excellent colour coded Aeroklas canopy. Another cheeky little option ours had was the roof-mounted lazer light bar. You really need to see this to believe it, it literally turns night into day.
Inside, the D-Max Blade is a very nice place to be. Standard specification is very generous and includes such luxuries as; front and rear parking cameras, climate control, leather upholstery with heated front seats, 18" alloy wheels, and a great infotainment system.
Isuzu has fitted the Blade with a 9" multifunction touchscreen with DAB Radio and Bluetooth® connectivity (Apple CarPlay™ & Android Auto™) including Satellite Navigation. This features nine speakers (2 x front door, 2 x rear door, 2 x tweeters, 2 x roof mounted & 1 subwoofer) and a selection of USB ports and a HDMI port. It has a great sound and is easy to use.
As we have come to expect in modern cars, there are a host of electronic aids, and you know how these manufacturers love their acronyms, so brace yourself. Some are active safety, some have a more practical use, for example; ESC (Electronic Stability Control), TSC (Trailer Sway Control), ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), BAS (Brake Assist System), HSA (Hill Start Assist), HDC (Hill Descent Control), and Front, Side & Curtain SRS Airbags. I warned you there were a few. What this tells us is that the D-Max Blade is a very safe and capable pickup.
The 1.9-litre four-cylinder diesel engine puts out a little over 160bhp and a hefty 360Nm of torque, delivered between 2000 and 2500rpm, ensuring the D-Max has plenty of get it done power. Talking of working for a living, the D-Max will haul 1098kg which is more than most of its rivals and it’s is rated to tow a braked trailer up to 3500kg, so it will easily tow the race car trailer or boat.
On the road, the Blade is imposing as you would expect. It has huge ground clearance, tall tyres and isn’t light. Steering is slow and progress is generally sedate, but I love it. It’s essentially a big 4x4 and drives as you would expect. It rides well, better than some others I’ve driven only beaten by the Mercedes X Class (soon to be discontinued) and the Nissan Navara. The Blade has a solid rear axle and leaf springs at the rear with struts at the front and rides well. The suspension seems well balanced and does a good job of isolating the occupants from the horrors of our appalling roads, and you feel like you could go anywhere in it.
We felt obliged to test the Blade’s off-road ability and oh my, this is serious. Isuzu builds the D-Max to perform, and it is fantastic off-road. You would have to do something pretty crazy to get stuck in this.
To summarise, Isuzu’s D-Max Blade is a very well-engineered, well-proven, luxurious pickup that drives well and looks good. It has great standard levels of equipment. The only thing to consider is that the D-Max has been around for a while and there is a new model waiting in the wings.
A new Blade starts at £28,814 CVOTR* + VAT.