2015 ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 MANUAL – LONG-TERM TEST & REVIEW – UPDATE #2

Update 2: 3rd January – 9th February 2016

Total milage on clock: 4,030 | Test milage this update: 495 | Average (UK) mpg: 26 – 35 mpg

Provides sense of adventure, feels tough and rugged, high driving position, strong diesel engine, big rear bed load area, optional LED Lazer lamps insanely bright, Traction control system superb

Noisy engine at certain speeds, no external temperature readout, no heated seats on Fury edition, takes an age for warm air to come through, low grip from Bridgestone Dueller tyres on wet roads

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab

Click here for the third D-Max update

While Britain should be in the depths of winter at this time of year, with heavy snowfalls, thickly-frozen windscreens and people panic-buying bread, I’m genuinely disappointed to report that not much of this really happened, and apart from snow in a few select regions of the UK, it was pretty much the most pathetically mild Jan/Feb ‘winter’ months that I remember.

This is incredibly frustrating because personally, I’d have liked to have tried the D-Max’s 4×4 modes in the snow, like I did with the D-Max Eiger I tested in early 2013. However, I can’t dwell on this subject too long because frankly, it depresses me not having some properly decent snow.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab icy

In the first update, I talked about how I liked the look of the Fury edition, and that’s not changed. I still love opening the blinds in the morning and looking down on the bright red Isuzu – it’s such a cool truck, and it draws attention both driving and parked up.

After a couple of months with the D-Max, and from jumping between it another other short-term testers, I’m still really happy with the feel of driving this big beast of a pick-up. I know this is a works vehicle, but I can’t help getting the adventure vibe each and every time I fire the 2.5 twin-turbo diesel into life.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab

While I’m gutted there’s not been any snow, we’ve still had the sort of bitterly cold wind in the morning that makes you want to turn straight back around, go inside, sit by the fire and eat toast while watching TV. No such luck though, and to be honest, it only kinda adds to the drama of driving the D-Max Fury on a day-to-day basis in the winter months.

I’ve noticed that below about 6ºC the engine revs rise to around 1,600 rpm at first startup, and will sit there for a good few minutes. The first few times it happened it was a little unnerving as the rpm gauge climbed higher and higher, as it’s rare to find a car that’ll do this, but it’s just the engine warming itself quicker.

 

Personally, I’d have liked the D-Max Fury to have heated seats, because leather trim and a 0ºC inside the cabin does not amount to a comfortable rear – that’s the advantage of fabric seats I suppose. Here’s the other thing, the D-Max’s 2.5 TD engine seems to take an absolute age to start kicking warm air through the vents, and it’s not very efficient in that way.

I drive a regular route of 5.8 miles, and of that it takes until around the 4-mile mark to start to produce any kind of decent heat. Not good if you’re only doing shorter journeys to and from work, and unless you’ve got a heated seat cover, you’re going to have to wrap up warm.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab countryside

Also missing is a digital outside temperature gauge. I like to know how cold it is just so I can take a different route if there’s a risk of ice about, and it can’t be that much of an expensive electronic part on a modern vehicle? It’s something that should be included as a basic feature, surely.

Another issue I’ve found are the Bridgestone Dueller H/T tyres, which are utterly useless on wet, greasy – even damp – roads. It didn’t take long to notice just how crap they really are, when on braking gently for a roundabout at 25 mph, the ABS light lit up.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab Bridgestone Dueller tyres

Thank goodness for the Isuzu D-Max’s absolutely superb electronic stability and traction control systems (ESC, TCS), because without them the D-Max will have done several 360º pirouettes – or worse – by now exiting roundabouts in the rain. If it wasn’t for these hauling the Isuzu back in line quickly and safely, I’d have zero confidence in driving on wet roads as the grip is just so low on them.

I did some research on the Bridgestone Dueller H/T tyres, and I’ve come across a lot of complaints from from people around the world regarding these tyres and wet weather, with a couple of guys even stating they’d done 360˚ spins while driving along highways (American) at speed. If you already own a D-Max with Duellers, or are buying one with them on, I’d change them out straight away. If this was my truck, I’d have done it after the first couple of times it slipped sideways in the rain.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab tyres

Talking about the D-Max’s stability systems, one morning the other guy who tests the truck (when I’m not using it) hit a large patch of completely unexpected black ice on a country road at around 50 mph (everywhere else was dry), and while the D-Max’s rear slewed heavily left and right in a ‘tank slapper’, in the end the Isuzu kept itself facing forward and managed to say on the tarmac for the most part. While it was scary, we’ve absolutely no doubt that the ESC and TCS had a massive part to play in keeping the D-Max from spinning completely off the road. A brilliant system indeed, and this was probably the ultimate real-life test of it too.

While I’m still on about the drive, the D-Max continues to impress on just how well it does motorway runs. At 70 miles-per-hour, the Isuzu’s 2.5 turbo-diesel sits at low rpms thanks to a long sixth gear on the manual ‘box, providing a surprisingly relaxed journey, adding to that the decently-hushed wind and road noise entering the cabin. If you’re going to be doing a lot of motorway miles, then be reassured the Isuzu D-Max will cover them satisfactorily well.

Isuzu D-Max Fury double-cab motorway

When covering low-speed drives on city roads though, the stiff suspension setup does become more apparent. You’ve got to remember that essentially the D-Max is a works vehicle, and while it has a comfortable, roomy cabin, it has been purpose-built for carrying up to 1,072 kilograms (2,363 lbs) in the rear bed, and towing up to a braked weight of 3,500 kgs (7,716 lbs), and oh, it has a kerb weight of 1,978 kgs (4,360 lbs) too. Therefore, the suspension has to be able to cope with all that, and therefore it will obviously have a firmer ride than your everyday car.

While it is noticeable, it’s by no means un-liveable-with, and I’m surprised it’s not more firm when taking into account what it has to deal with when fully loaded.

Something I’ve noted that has become more obvious over time is the noise coming into the cabin from the engine when accelerating between 25 and 50 miles-per-hour, with 30 – 40 mph being the worst part of these speeds. Get into the right gear, and the engine is fine and cruises fairly quietly at the above speeds, but it’s when you’re accelerating and going up through the gears when the diesel engine sounds lumpy and a little agricultural, even when it’s warm.

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

I wouldn’t call this an issue or problem per se, but the engine sounds crude and unpolished next to its more modern rivals, and it can become tiring to listen to. However, personally it does not bother me massively (more so the other driver) and I can – and do – live with it. Yes, more sound-deadening to lower the 4-pot diesel noise – and vibrations that come along with it – would be nice, but it’s something I personally am not too bothered about.

Other than that, I’m still finding the D-Max Fury a good truck to drive. The seats are comfortable all-round – especially the wide ones up front – and the cabin is noticeably large overall too. Recently I noticed that – up front at least – it offers more leg and elbow room than the new-generation Series 5 Mitsubishi L200. Something to remember if you’re on the larger or taller side.

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On the subject of the interior, the D-Max’s three large storage boxes and abundant amount of cupholders (six!) are perfect for when you’re having to eat lunch in the truck – something I used to have to do regularly in a previous job. Isuzu have clearly put lots of thought into the fact that this is mainly going to be used as a work truck, and they’ve obliged by providing a large glovebox, and above that another storage compartment, which has a wide and flat-enough shelf to sit a cup and a sandwich on, while there’s another on top of the dash which again will do the same job.

Something I find massively useful are the hidden, pop-out cup holders at each side in the front. Let’s face it, we all enjoy a hot takeaway tea or coffee, and Isuzu have thoughtfully put one at exactly the right level next to the steering wheel, so you don’t have to stretch or look down when you want to get to it.

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The D-Max has proved itself useful as a pick-up truck once more this update. A friend unfortunately had an accident and turned his car over, but being a modern classic Mercedes-Benz 190E, he wanted to save as much of the nice interior as possible to sell it. The Isuzu’s large load-bed (measuring 1485 x 1530 x 465 mm) came to the rescue and we were able to fit in all the seats, trim, battery, exterior grille and lots more. And without having to tie it all down as the tailgate still shut. Nice.

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We’re not getting as good fuel economy with the D-Max as the official stats would have, with an average return of around 26 mpg (compared to the 31 mpg on paper) on a mixed route taking in city and country roads. However, that was expected, and a motorway run still sees that figure going up to 35+ miles-per-gallon, which is acceptable in my book.

Oh, one more thing. The immensely bright LED Lazer lamps in the grille and on top of the sports bar light up the road ahead at night so staggeringly well that every other car’s seem entirely dull next to it. If you’ve got – or are getting – a D-Max, do yourself a favour and get these fitted.

Isuzu D-Max Fury Double-Cab LED Lazer lamps

With normal D-Max lights on

Isuzu D-Max Fury Double-Cab LED Lazer lamps

With optional upper and lower LED Lazer lamps turned on. Daylight has nothing on these.

Next update in March: We take the Isuzu D-Max Fury off-road!

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies

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