2015 Isuzu D-Max Fury 2.5TD Double cab 4×4 Manual – Long-term Test & Review – Update #4

Isuzu D-Max Fury off-road-2

Update 4: 16th March – 15th May 2016

Total milage on clock: 6,221 | Test milage this update: 1,477 | Total miles covered start to finish: 3,770 | Average (UK) mpg: Town: 26 | Motorway: 30 – 35

Click here for update #1here for update #2 and here for update #3

For the remaining two months of this long-term test of the Isuzu D-Max Fury, I’ve consolidated them into one review, simply for the fact that it has effectively been used for pretty much the same thing over that time period.

Over the last couple of months the Isuzu was to used in a working quarry, transporting expensive survey equipment in the back, tracking across some seriously rough, chewed-up quarry roads and surrounding land, mixing it up with other rival pick-up trucks and huge quarrying machinery, as well as not getting stuck of course.

Isuzu D-Max Fury 4x4 Double-Cab Pick-Up carry survey equipment

My Isuzu tester was fitted with the BedRug carpeted bedliner, which costs £462.00 including fitting and VAT. I think if owned a D-Max I’d want it for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s cushioned well enough to transport things like the costly surveying equipment without damage, and they won’t slide about as much as in the normal plastic-lined bed.

There were two ultra-bright Lazer LED ST-8 lamps up top, and slightly smaller Lazer LED ST-4 versions fitted behind the front bumper. A video demonstrating their awesome power is below, although at £744.00 for the two ST-8s and £456.00 for the two ST-4s, (making a total of £1,200) they aren’t exactly a cheap option eh.

Isuzu D-Max with Lazer LED lamps

However, it’s also really tough, and after loading it up with all manner of junk for a fair few trips to the dump, which included concrete, bricks, chunks of nail-ridden wood and pieces of metal, I couldn’t find any evidence of tearing, rips or wear. If I was using it for work and loading pallets, 1-ton bags of sand, soil, rubble etc, it wouldn’t be practical, but for the everyday stuff it’s been absolutely tough as nails.

The Roll-n-Lock cover – priced at £1,308 including VAT and fitting – has been brilliant too. The advantage over a traditional vinyl cover is that the Roll-n-Lock is not only retractable but is way more secure thanks to having aluminium slats underneath the vinyl covering, and it also locks too. The disadvantage is that you do lose a fair section of bed space nearest the cab, where it rolls into, and a little at the sides as well.

Isuzu D-Max Fury 4x4 in a working quarry

If you’re going into off-road areas regularly with work, such as the working quarry we’d used it in, then I’d certainly recommend the 3mm steel Forge bash guard for the front (£747.00), and the Forge rear differential guard (£339.00). While not cheap, should you happen to clout just one large unseen boulder in the wrong place, it could be the difference of expense – and much stress – between engine parts or rear diff being ripped off and wrecked, and not.

As a summary of how it has performed overall, first off I want to say that the Isuzu D-max Fury has been as solid, dependable and reliable as you could ask for in the total of just under the six months I’ve run it. While on the first day I had to reattach the water pipe for the screenwash sprayer – which took a matter of minutes – and replace a relay for the rear heated window, since then nothing has gone wrong with it at all.

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No interior trim has come loose or started rattling, the touchscreen system has never crashed or gone screwy (it happens), the oil level on the dipstick barely dropped, the engine and manual gearbox stayed as strong as when it first arrived, and there’s been no problems at all with any of the exterior accessories which were; sports bar, a Lazer LED ST-8 lamp kit up top, and slightly smaller Lazer LED ST4 versions fitted behind the front bumper, a Roll-n-Lock cover, Bed Rug lining plus front and rear underbody Forge guards.

For the remaining time I had the Isuzu D-Max Fury, it became a much-loved workhorse put through the type of things the average owner would use it for. This meant trips up and down the motorway for work commutes by one of the test-drivers, and also toughing it out with other pick-ups on a working quarry as mentioned.

Isuzu D-Max double-cab Pick-Up in working quarry

I’ve used it for numerous trips to the dump (or recycling centre, as the council likes to call it), supermarket runs, ferrying friends to coffee shops, slogged up and down the many winding country roads nearby in all types of weather, did a thorough and tough off-road test to see how it coped, plus many boring city drives in stop-start traffic.

In short, the D-Max has been well and truly tested in almost every situation you’d normally come across or use it for. After using it for all the reasons above, and covering a total of 3,770 miles, here are my thoughts on both the positives and negatives of the Isuzu D-Max Fury.

Isuzu D-Max Fury 4x4 Double-Cab Pick-Up used on working quarry

Let’s start with the negatives. The D-Max is not without its annoyances, and there are certainly things I’d like to see improved on the next model. The noise and vibration penetrating the cabin from the four-cylinder 2.5 litre twin-turbo diesel engine makes it come across as agricultural and rough. The NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels are nowhere near as perceptible when cruising at sixty and seventy miles-per-hour in fifth or sixth gear, but to get up to those speeds the above NVH is highly noticeable, and it can be tiring and somewhat draining after a while, when accelerating constantly from lower speeds.

The NVH levels could possibly be slightly improved with more sound-deadening, but it’s likely going to take a newer, improved engine to make any type of big difference. There are murmurings of a new D-Max, but nothing solid at the time of writing this.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab motorway

One thing that made the Isuzu D-Max a little difficult to live with for everyday use was just how firm the ride was. Of course, it’s a pick-up truck and therefore a works vehicle really, so they have to carry and tow heavy loads hence the hard set-up. In all honesty, because I rarely carried anything heavy in the back I did find it uncomfortably jolty and I even had a couple of passengers that felt travel sick after longer journeys on bad roads because of all the jarring.

Two things though. Firstly, a couple of times I loaded the bed up with 200+ kilograms and the ride was so much smoother and nicer. Honestly, if I was planning to go any distance with passengers, I’d seriously buy a load of heavy pavers and line the bed with them to keep that smoother ride quality. Fuel economy may be slightly effected, but I’d rather compromise for a less rough ride.

Secondly, literally a couple of days before I wrote this review Isuzu sent through a press release about a suspension system they were offering, which can be fitted at the time of buying, or any time afterwards, to any of the D-Max Double-Cab range. The Pedders Suspension Kit – or Pedder D-Max TrackRyder Lift Kit as it’s also known – serves a few purposes.

Isuzu D-Max Pedders suspension kit

It improves the comfort level, ride quality, enhances the stability of the D-Max and lifts the ride height by 5mm (from 35 to 40mm) which in turn improves the off-road capability and approach and departure angles, as well as making towing more comfortable too. Isuzu state the kit does not negatively effect the towing or bed-weight capacities, there are no modifications needed and it’s easy to fit too, minimising labor costs. At £1,628 including fitting and VAT, this is not a cheap option, but if it were my own truck I’d be on the phone to my nearest Isuzu dealer immediately, weeping with sheer joy and, throwing money at them and begging for the earliest fitting slot, simply in order to make the D-Max more liveable-with.

Another issue was not really with the D-Max, but more the Bridgestone Dueller tyres that seem to be fitted to them as standard. As you’ll read in Update 2 – and also in my review of the Jeep Wrangler, which also had them on – these are the worst tyres I’ve ever come across for use on damp or wet roads. The grip is utterly terrible to the point of being dangerous, and I thoroughly recommend getting them changed if you have them on yours. Off-road they actually seemed to work great, but that area is just a small percentage of the time most people will use it.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab Bridgestone Dueller tyres

While I really like the cool looks of this D-Max Fury edition, I personally would rather have a better-spec’d model for the following; the Fury is based on the Eiger version which is lowest-spec model in the Premium Range, so it’s not that well equipped. The main differences are the Magma Red paint, 17″ dark grey alloys, gunmetal grey side steps plus other coloured exterior trim parts and a rear-view mirror reverse camera. The majority of stuff you see on my test version is optional.

You do actually save a fair whack on all the extras (around £2,000) by having the Fury over the Eiger, but the lack of even some basics is still very apparent, and things like an external temperature gauge, fuel economy readout and rear heating vents for the passengers should really be standard in my book.

Isuzu D-Max Fury edition

Some simply aren’t bothered with having anything but the essentials. Should you – like myself – want a truck that’s both practical and more refined though, you’ll want to go for the D-Max Utah and above, where you have the benefits (depending on spec) of leather seats, heated and power seats up front, rear heating ducts, a much nicer centre console layout, automatic climate control, better-looking dials and a more informative display between them, steering wheel controls, cruise control, tinted rear windows which aid in privacy, comfort and security, plus an 8-speaker sound system.

On the Isuzu D-Max Fury there’s actually no rear towing point included unless you buy a tow bar, which is ridiculous really and not very practical in winter or for off-roading if either you or someone else needs towing.

Isuzu D-Max Fury 2.5TD Double-Cab 4x4 Pick-Up front seats

One final point. On cold days the heat takes absolutely forever to start coming through the D-Max’s vents, and as I reported in an earlier update, on a regular route of four or five miles it took until the end of that journey before the warmth was felt through the vents. Definitely not good in the depths of winter. An Isuzu dealer reckons the higher Isuzu D-Max models with the climate control start producing hot air much quicker, so if you live somewhere that gets bad winters, I’d check that out.

I’ve about covered the negatives and things that need improvement, and now for the positives about the D-max. First off, while the turbo-diesel is noisy and rough accelerating up to speed, once at motorway mph and in sixth gear, the D-Max cruises really very well. Road noise is weirdly hushed, and wind noise isn’t too bad either – aside from if you’ve got the Lazer LED lamps up top that is, as wind slams against them and raises the noise level.

At 70 mph the long sixth gear means the engine is only turning at around 2,000 rpm, and the noise of it then backs off to the point of being pretty well muted, and this makes the D-Max much more liveable-with. The gearbox is fairly slick, and a light clutch makes town driving easier, thankfully, as I did lot of city trips in the time I’ve had it.

Isuzu D-Max Fury Double-Cab 2.5 twin-turbo diesel engine

That engine is also incredibly torquey, and when you hit that strong wave of torque the Isuzu surges forward impressively well, giving you a grin and it’s good for overtaking too.

I used to work in the construction industry years ago, and there are few important points a work truck’s cabin needs. Firstly, plenty of room in the cabin. Having to wear safety gear, tool belts, wet weather gear and big jackets in winter means you end up being bulky. You’ll find the D-Max’s cabin space is excellent, with loads of elbow, head and leg room front and rear, and importantly the pedals are easily spaced far enough apart to accommodate big steel top-cap boots.

Isuzu D-Max Fury front seats and cabin

Next, there needs to be plenty of stowage areas, drinks holders and places to put your grub when you’re having lunch. I found Isuzu have clearly put thought into these areas, as there are no less than 6 proper-sized cupholders, as well as bottle holders in the doors. There are also three decently-sized storage areas too, and the two on the front and top of the dash make for perfect places to sit your tea/coffee mugs, as well as somewhere to chuck your beanie hats and gloves between jobs.

The last positive note about the cabin is that although the trim bits are entirely made up of hard plastics, they’re also really durable, which is exactly what you want if you’re using it for work. Soft-touch trim and shiny piano-black plastics look nice, but are hard to keep clean and they won’t last two minutes if a kitted-up team of four are piling in and out the cab regularly.

Isuzu D-Max Fury rear seats

For looks, the Isuzu D-Max in the Fury spec’s cool-factor is a 10/10 for me. This is a properly chunky, tough-looking and large (for Euro/Jap standards) pick-up truck, and in that Magma red paint with all the accessories, it’s grabbed a lot of positive attention in the time I’ve had it. And right so.

Conclusion & overall thoughts

After running the Isuzu D-Max Fury for six months, my final thoughts are that this current Isuzu D-Max is ready for either a major update, or a completely new model. Sure, it’s a work-horse and the looks are amongst the coolest and toughest of any Japanese/Euro pick-up out there, but all its rival manufacturers now have new-generation models out.

Isuzu D-Max Fury off-road

 

This means their engines and cabins are quieter and more refined, the ride is smoother and the handling more positive, and passive safety systems have come on fast in the past couple of years. The question is, is it worth buying an Isuzu D-Max over the competition?

There’s no simple yes or no answer to this really. With regards to towing and load capacity the D-Max at least equals, if not betters, its rivals. The D-Max’s cabin is also as comfortable yet more spacious than at least one of its new main competitors – the Mitsubishi L200 Series 5. Isuzu are also renowned for producing highly tough, practical pick-up trucks with excellent reliability – which is always a pull when you want as little down-time as possible for work.

Isuzu D-Max Fury loaded up

Isuzu continue to keep the D-Max more fresh, by cleverly rolling out some incredibly cool limited edition models, such as the D-Max Centurion (which was created to celebrate Isuzu’s 100th birthday), and the D-Max Arctic Trucks AT35, which the competition simply don’t do. Price-wise, there’s little difference between the pick-ups available in the UK overall, so that’s not a massive point for the Isuzu.

Should you be buying a pick-up truck for personal non-work use (as people are doing more and more), the D-Max loses out to rivals because of the NVH levels from the engine, which invade the cabin too much, plus that very firm ride and unattractive plasticky cabin trim.

Isuzu D-Max Fury steering wheel

However, try a high-end D-Max with the better-looking centre console, more luxurious soft leather seating, and refinements in the way of cruise control, climate controls, heated and power front seats, perhaps the automatic gearbox and certainly spec the Peddars Suspension Kit to ease the ride firmness, and perhaps the D-Max may then be a much more appealing thing.

For work purposes, as I did you will find the Isuzu D-Max rugged, dependable, practical and with superb off-road ability, and in the six months I had the Isuzu D-Max Fury, it really grew on me to the point of missing it quite badly when it went back.

Do you own an Isuzu D-Max, or have questions about this one? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below! 

Long-term Isuzu D-Max Fury final score & specs

Exterior looks & design  9.5
Cabin space  9
Seating comfort  8
Cabin practicality  9
 Equipment level (Fury spec)  6
Ride quality  6
Handling  7
Power & Torque  8
Safety tech  7.5
4×4 system and ability 8.5
Load & towing capacities  9
 Fuel economy  7
 NVH levels  6.5
Overall score  7.5 / 10 

Specs

Model (as tested) 2015 Isuzu D-Max Fury 2.5TD Double Cab 4×4 Manual
Standard spec includes  Fury-specific Magma Red paint, 17″ dark grey alloy wheels, dark grey metallic front grille, gun-metal grey aero side steps, cosmic black door mirrors, handles & rear tailgate handle, black rear bumper, daytime running lights, gas-strut on tailgate, remote locking, Fury-branded carpets, leather steering wheel & gear gaiter with red stitching. TECH: Reverse camera in rear view mirror, air conditioning, heated & power folding side mirrors, front & rear power windows, four speakers (front only), double DIN CD/CRS radio with iPod/USB/Bluetooth connections
Safety ABS + ESC + TCS, Front, side and curtain airbags, Security etched glass, Three-point rear seatbelts, Remote central locking, Door-open warning light, Height-adjustable front seatbelts, Insurance approved immobiliser, Locking wheel nuts
Options fitted  (prices include VAT & fitting) Black style/sports bar, Lazer LED ST-8 lamp kit up top, and Lazer LED ST4 behind front bumper. More on those another time., Isuzu Motorsport Under Armour (front engine & over rear differential), Roll ‘N’ Lock Cover (approx. £1,357), heavy duty BedRug carpet (around £385.00), Pioneer multi-media system with a 6.1″ touchscreen (£1,116), Fury edition red & black Fury leather, limited to 100, (add £1,590 to truck price)
Off-road information  Ground clearance: 235 mm (9.25″) | Approach angle: 30.0˚ | Departure angle: 23.0˚ | Ramp angle: 22.0˚ | Wading depth: 500mm (20″)
Price (not inc. options)  (correct Jan. 2016) Inc. VAT: £23,999 | Exc VAT: £19,999
Engine  Diesel, 2.5 litres, 4-cylinders (in-line), 16-valves, twin-turbo, DOHC, CRDi, Euro Stage 5
Power, Torque  Power: 160 bhp (163PS) @ 3,600 rpm | 295 lb ft (400Nm) @ 1,400 and 2,000 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Rear wheel drive & selectable 4WD (4 High/4 Low) | 6-speed manual
Towing capacity, truck bed payload, bed dimensions  Towing: Braked: 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs) | Unbraked: 750 kg (1,653 lbs) | Bed payload: 1,072 kgs (2,363 lbs) | Bed dimensions: 1,552 x 1,530 x 465 mm
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 112 mph | 0 – 62 mph: Not stated | Euro NCAP rating: 4/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 31.7, Extra urban: 44.1, Combined: 38.7 | CO2: 192 g/km
Weight (kerb)  1,978 kgs (4,361lbs)
Websites  Isuzu UK

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies | Film: Chris Davies

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