When other manufacturers are chasing their share of mainstream markets, Isuzu just seems to keep happily ploughing their own furrow with a limited range of models aimed at their own niche – vehicles like the Isuzu Trooper and the D-Max pick-up.
As a result of this focus on such a narrow sector of the market, poor old Isuzu doesn’t even feature in many car magazine or website listings.
The D-max is Isuzu’s update for the long-serving Rodeo pick up.
While the first impressions may be of a utilitarian pick up and an expectation of a sparse interior with few creature comforts, the reality will surprise. The Utah not only comes with those alloy wheels and roof rails, it also has heated seats, leather upholstery, climate control, parking sensors, Bluetooth connection, iPod connection and automatic transmission.
So it is quite a civilised machine, in terms of creature comforts.
It is also hugely practical if you have a need to transport loads. With its double-cab design, there is good space for up to four adults and still a large 1,552mm long x 1,530mm wide flatbed load floor round the back. It has a payload capacity of 1,136kg.
It is that practicality that will win you over, if a pick up truck is what you need. You are unlikely to buy the D-Max for either its refinement, or its driving pleasure.
Start up the engine and put your foot on the throttle and you will think you have stepped back a few years. Although slightly muffled, under power the 2.5-litre diesel engine emit sounds like a machine gun firing rivets inside a tin can.
But, somehow, this traditional diesel clatter doesn’t sound out of place in a workhorse. It’s sounds just like you would expect it to and and it hints and the 163PS power and 400Nm torque you have on tap – sufficient for that 1,000kg-plus of payload or for pulling a substantial trailer.
Sitting up in this tall 4x4 truck you are not going to expect sharp handling and communicative steering. Just as well, really, because that is not what you get.
The bottom line is that the Isuzu D-Max Utah is a vehicle where form and function rule over finesse.
That basic truth accepted, I found the D-Max becoming more loveable the longer I drove it. It helped that it served its purpose well by taking two loads to the local recycling depot during my time with it.
The keen pricing will also help. Prices of the D-Max start at £14,499 (for the single cab, two-wheel-drive entry level model) rising to £21,999 for the top-of-the-range Utah. As predominantly commercial vehicles, both these prices are quoted ex VAT.