AS the popularity of pick ups develops in the UK the Japanese motor manufacturer Isuzu has just further widened the appeal of this versatile vehicle by producing an extended cab model that is set to prove a hit with potential owners and attract new owners to the marque writes Bryan Longworth.
Hitherto pick ups have been available in two versions as a single cab which was popular with business owners and double cabs which offered car like accommodation in the rear for up to three people with leisure use appeal.
But now Isuzu has produced a third cab variant for the popular D-Max which is known as an extended cab and should appeal to both business and private owners because it can be used for seating up to three for shorter journeys or for storing baggage and other materials.
The rear seating area is rather basic and comprises a bench seat with padding on the back which is accessed through a second row rear hinged door also known as a side access panel on each side of the vehicle that can easily be opened from inside or outside the cab.
As a result the ingenious design allows users to have uninterrupted access to the area behind the front seats for passengers or loading large items in particular or shopping in the rear space which I found it very useful for because the rear door can be opened so easily.
The D-Max extended cab which costs £20,044 on the road (business owners can reclaim VAT) is powered by a 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine and has selectable four wheel drive with low ratio availability which can be used in two wheel drive mode until traction becomes really dodgy in snow or muddy off road conditions when 4x4 mode is available.
It has six speed manual transmission with a top speed of 112mph and combined fuel consumption of 38.2mpg and will carry one tonne in the large rear load area and tow a braked trailer up to 3.5 tonnes.
There is no remote door locking which now seems rather strange but standard equipment includes daytime running lights, front and rear electric windows, heated rear screen, traction control, air conditioning, rear heating ducts and an RDS radio.
The test vehicle provided an enjoyable drive with excellent all round visibility with steering that could have done with a bit more power assistance and despite the rear leaf springs and nothing in the rear load area the ride comfort level was quite acceptable.
And I found the easily accessed rear seating area was ideal for placing shopping bags which was a bonus for this is always a problem with single cab pick ups when there is a front passenger on board.
As previously mentioned this was the first time for ages I have had a test vehicle with no remote door opener which I really missed because it was a problem finding the exterior door lock in the dark winter mornings and nights.
Isuzu D-Max is enjoying a big sales boom in the UK and the introduction of the extended cab model is certain to widen its appeal to both business users and private owners.
My Verdict: Extended D-Max is now more versatile.
Model: Isuzu D-Max Extended cab 4x4.
Engine: 2.5-litre turbo diesel.
Output:163bhp @ 3600rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 112mph.
Towing: 3300kg braked trailer.
Fuel consumption: 38.21mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 194g/km.
Price: £20,044 on the road.