When this rugged Isuzu D-Max Utah crew-cab pickup arrived at DriveWrite Towers I determined that I should immediately don a lumberjack’s shirt, roll the sleeves up over my biceps and head for the wild places of Britain with my family by my side.
Thus it was we found ourselves in the jewel of Swindon – Lydiard Park – where these images were taken.
Subsequently, on a long two-way trip I discovered that the huge and heavy Utah was reasonably economical in two-wheel drive form. I saw an average of 31.2mpg from the four cylinder 2.5L (163PS) turbo-diesel and, if anything, I was pushing it quite hard.
With a bit of diligent eco-driving I suspect this figure could well be improved upon. No doubt in four-wheel drive mode the economy would drop off a bit but, for the most part, it is likely that the Utah would mostly be in 2WD form for much of the time. On rougher roads the ride can be a bit bouncy but that’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid, and overall the driving experience was fine whether out in the Wiltshire countryside or shopping around town.
The space and comfort of the cabin suggested to me that this could well be more than just a working truck. The Utah is a well specified version of the D-Max range, having carpets and leather heated seats, a comfortable leather steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls and plenty of seat/steering adjustment. There’s climate and navigation as well as a couple of 12v plugs, a CD player plus (hidden away in the central cubby) USB and Aux sockets.
Other interior features include dashboard ‘pull-out’ cup holders – as well as others scattered around – plus two glove boxes and a number of extra storage places. All you need in fact. The seats are supportive and there is tons of room in the back for three adults or a gaggle of ankle-biters.
It’s a simple vehicle. Drive is through a five-speed auto box (manual is available) and 2 or 4 wheel drive can be selected on the fly. Usefully, for more difficult terrain, there’s also a low-range 4WD selection. I tried the vehicle on my local off-road site which isn’t especially tough – and was bone dry without any mud to complicate the issue – and the Utah just laughed it off. Although maybe not the ultimate mud-plugger the trial suggested that the Isuzu – as you’d probably expect from this brand – with a ramp angle of 22° is more than capable of dealing with the rough stuff.
There is no doubt that as a working vehicle the D-Max fit’s the bill. The auto version will take a payload of over 1000kg and makes an excellent towing vehicle. Our version came with a roof rails, a tow-bar and the necessary attachments plus a reversing camera. The flatbed was enclosed by a well fitting ‘leisure canopy’, was lined and, usefully, had the versatile sliding floor option which came in handy when I moved a small chest of drawers for a neighbour.
So, the Isuzu D-Max Utah is great for work, but what about play? Well, first off, kids love it. They like the high ride and the diesel grumble and can take comfort in the knowledge that parents won‘t be on at them all the time about minding the upholstery.
The slightly austere interior is easy to clean and the unsightly detritus and drool that falls off children can easily be wiped away. As mentioned the interior is roomy and practical. The lockable load-bed will carry all your holiday needs plus bikes and the like. If more space is needed then a roof box is the simple solution. With a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes it’s ideal for caravans.
Whilst in my tender care the Utah went shopping where it proved surprising easy to park thanks to the camera and the big wing mirrors; it went off-road and on motorways and down country lanes and certainly attracts attention.
It comes in colours; ours was Garnet Red which looks especially good with the funky 18” black alloys and I think it would also look fab in Cosmic Black. My only bone of contention is the fact that the dashboard welcomes you aboard when you get in and says ‘See You’ when you shut down. That’s really irritating. It’s a car and I don’t want to chat with it, thanks.
I should imagine it would make a formidable working partner. Combined with Isuzu’s impressive reliability record and a fresh injection of desirability it’s a compelling choice. It gets a tad expensive at the top of the range (this car is around £28,000 including VAT although no doubt all things are negotiable) but in general offers excellent value for money and should be of concern to the more well-known pick-up manufacturers.
Overall then the Isuzu D-Max Utah is a great all-rounder. Hugely practical and versatile, comfortable, roomy and, of it’s class, reasonably economical. You could even sleep in the back.
If you need a car for work, rest and play then this is hard to beat.