The 1.9-litre diesel engine in the D-Max is far from refined and needs to be worked

The new D-Max from Isuzu comes in a choice of three flavours – but for those wanting to mix business Monday to Friday with pleasure come the weekend, the ‘V-Cross’ is the model that promises to tick all boxes.

Sitting above entry-level ‘Business’ and mid-spec ‘All Purpose’ trim, the V-Cross comes with all the bells and whistles that should make it a credible contender to Ford’s latest Ranger and Volkswagen’s fresh Amarok, both of which sit on the same platform and share many of their components.

Don’t expect broad-sweeping changes for the 2024-model-year D-Max, however, because they are pretty non-discrete, especially when it comes to body styling. It now features a smoked grey radiator grille, with this colour repeated on the useful side steps, over-sized door mirrors and chunky handles.

There is now a smart new profile for the 18-inch alloys which, again, are dark in colour, and really suit this 1.9-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel powered workhorse in the optional ‘Valencia Orange’ (£600) hue. In all, there are eight colours, with ‘Biarritz Blue’, ‘Spinel Red’ and ‘Domonite White’ some of our other personal favourites.

As a package, with the tweaks that have been implemented, Isuzu says its award-winning truck “exudes power and authority”, but with design being a subjective matter, we will let you be the judge of that.

Step inside and the keynote improvement is the profile of the seats. Upholstered in leather and finished with an elongated ‘w’ stitch pattern, the central panel is claimed to disperse body pressure for greater relaxation when spending extended periods behind the wheel.

While that is up for debate, the firmer side bolsters do hold you nicely in place, especially when cornering. The introduction of a different foam with the same aim of minimising vibrations also gets the thumbs up from us. Combined with lumbar support and rake and reach adjustment for the leather finished steering wheel, the three hundred-odd miles we chalked up in the week we had the D-Max was civilised and pleasant.

Being the most expensive model, the multimedia touchscreen expands in size by two inches to nine – and the same applies to the speaker count (eight instead of six). The driver creature comfort list also rises to include automatic auto-levelling LED headlights (something that is particularly useful when towing a heavy load), auto-dimming rear-view mirror, all round parking sensors and a parking camera.

Practicality-wise, storage is good inside the double-cab. Two glove boxes, plus a storage cubby on top of the dash and pop-out cup-holders for the driver and front seat passenger are all here and there is a decent central cubby under the armrest, too.

Little has changed underneath the skin, so you can expect the same choppy ride over rougher surfaces when there is nothing occupying the 1,099kg payload space in the back. Engine noise is a massive blot in the D-Max’s copybook, with this not helped by the fact you really need to extend the engine to get anywhere. Light steering – and a smooth auto transmission – are two big plus points, though.

What is not in question is this pick-up’s off-road credentials. A wading depth of up to 800mm is nothing short of impressive, and the gearbox’s ‘on-the-fly’ 4WD switch means you do not need to stop before engaging four-wheel drive for off-roading.

The rear diff lock is different, as this only engages in low-range mode at speeds below 5mph. Once you are off the beaten track, this is a vehicle that gives you the confidence to plough ahead thanks to great traction, plenty of ground clearance and good visibility.

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