Update 3: 10th February – 15th March 2016

Total milage on clock: 4,744 | Test milage this update: 714 | Average (UK) mpg: Town: 26 | Motorway: 30 – 35

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

Impressive off-road capability, user-friendly 4×4 selector, still enjoying the spacious, comfortable cabin

Bridgestone Dueller tyres still an issue on cold wet roads

Over three months in with the Isuzu D-Max Fury long-termer, and I continue to like the big red beast. With week-long cars also being sent test too (I stagger them so I still get plenty of time in the Isuzu), I’m always itching to get back in the D-Max Fury, because not only do I enjoy driving such a big strapping pick-up truck, I also love how cool it looks too.

I regularly get people starting at the Isuzu, and occasionally a grin and thumbs-up is thrown too, which I return. After all, I’d do the same if I saw one. If I’m honest, I think there are three factors involved in why this particular pick-up gets noticed more than normal: 1. it’s huge, and bright red, 2. it does look slightly like an American truck, 3. the ‘sports bar’ and large Lazer LED spotlamps add that extra degree of coolness.

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

I’m always struck by how spacious, comfortable and practical the cabin is on the D-Max. Climb inside, and front or rear you’re treated to masses of head, leg and elbow room, and those leather seats are great, especially up front where they’re especially wide.

An issue I do have though, is that the steering wheel only lifts up and down, and does not telescope in and out, which makes a considerable difference as to how well you can adjust your driving position overall. Still, I find it comfy to drive and it’s a good feeling being sat so high up too – the D-Max actually feels like you’re behind the wheel of a bona-fide pick-up truck, rather than feeling like you’re driving a car. Good!

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4x4 with Jeep Wrangler

While myself and another driver have been using the D-Max for all the normal everyday journeys, such as work commutes, shopping trips, coffee-shop runs, picking mates up etc, this month I wanted to write a post on something a little more exciting – off-roading.

If you’ve not yet tested the full extent of just how capable your Isuzu D-Max is off-road, then you really should. This is a very capable machine, and more than simply on a snow-covered road, boggy farm track, or field, and putting it through a real trial gives you far more of an appreciation of what you’re driving, I believe.

For your benefit (and my fun/interest) I put the Isuzu D-Max through its paces by taking it to a rough old disused quarry, which is full of large swampy areas, slick mud, steep hilly sections and deep mini-lakes. Alongside the Fury, I took along a Jeep Wrangler Overland 2.8 CRD which was also on short-term test, and which I wanted to try in the mud, and it gave us a back-up vehicle should the Isuzu get stuck (or vice versa).

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4x4 off roading

I’ve been to this particular spot many times over the years, in both my own 4x4s and other test vehicles. It’s not a place to trifled with if you don’t know your way around it, and it’s somewhere you can very easily get stuck – or damage the vehicle – if you’re either stupid or don’t know what you’re doing fully.

As winter had failed dramatically to produce any snow, and instead dumped huge amounts of rain, even the entrance to the place was ridiculously bad, with deep ruts and mud that looked ready to swallow the wheels whole. As the Isuzu doesn’t have a rear tow-point (why?), the Jeep Wrangler went through first, while I sat waiting to see what’d happen. It’s a Wrangler, so a time-tested 4×4 system and high ground clearance meant to got past the bad area with relative ease.

The two-way radio crackled into life with “we’ve done it Chris, bring the D-Max through”. I’m naturally hesitant at this point. I’ve only tested a D-Max’s 4×4 system once on snow before, and this Fury on has the tyres on that don’t work well on wet roads. Stuff it, I’m going for it, the Wrangler will tow me if needed.

Close to the entrance, I twist the four-wheel-drive selector into 4L (4 wheel drive, low ratio), drive slowly in first gear, and as I do the dash lights up with lock image. Instantly, there’s drive experience changes. The D-Max is much slower in first, and the revs sit higher at the lower speeds, exactly what you want. Loads of torque, while the wheels turn slowly.

Image shows Isuzu D-Max Eiger 4x4 dial. To engage 4WD in either high or low, it's as easy as turning the dial.

Hugging the bushes to avoid slipping too far into the trench-like ruts, I push the Isuzu through the slop, and it almost instantly slips sideways into a deep rut (see video), and while there’s some loss of traction, the D-Max simply shrugs the boggy sections off like they were barely there, and in a few seconds I’m through and sat behind the Jeep.

Over the radio, we’re all extremely impressed by just how well the big, wide and heavy Isuzu dealt with the conditions, and especially so as it’s on summer road tyres. I’ve put other 4x4s through similar conditions in the past, and feared they’d get stuck, with only a large dose of acceleration and much mud-slinging traction loss pulling them out the other side.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 - off-road capable

Into the quarry, and we’re greeted with the base being waterlogged in places, and mud inches deep covering the majority of the site. Good, this’ll be a perfect test for the D-Max Fury then.

With an official wading depth of 500 mm (20 inches), the D-Max matches the Land Rover Defender (never a bad thing to be compared to that for off-roading eh), and half a metre of water is a heck of a lot to push through, should you ever be faced with it on the job. On that, don’t venture into water until you’ve tried the ‘poke with long stick’ technical measurement method.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 - in muddy quarry

It’s always huge fun going through deep water – as long as you’re doing it safely and sensibly – and the Isuzu does the wading thing superbly. Any spinning of the wheels under water is almost instantly dealt with by the superb traction control system, and there’s barely a slip before it grips and goes again, giving reassurance that this truck will get you where you want to go.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 wading through deep water

Out the other side of the water, and I see in places the ‘tide’ mark sits a fair way above the Fury sticker on the front doors, and after five or six passes through the murky depths there’s absolutely zero water ingress into the cabin, and the door seals have done their job perfectly. Tried and tested, she’s watertight cap’n.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 wading depth

Should you want to get up a challenging slope, the D-Max has a few things on its side to help. The ground clearance is fairly decent at 235 mm (9.25″), while the approach angle is 30º, the departure angle 23º and the ramp angle 22º. Oh, and there’s also all that 295 lb ft (400Nm) torque goodness from the 2.5 litre twin-turbo diesel at just 1,400 rpm, meaning you can pretty much select 4-low ratio, put it in first gear and let it crawl most of the way, and even if it does slip, a dose of throttle will sort that out.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 wading through deep water

It’s always a thrill to be at such a steep angle that all you can see through the windscreen is bonnet and sky, and the sure-footed way the D-Max climbs makes it all the sweeter. And I remind you, this was all done on summer tyres too. Imagine how much more capable it’d be on chunky mud tyres!

Down the hill on the other side, and the engine braking system keeps a controlled speed without having to use the brakes, making like easier, and saving brake wear too.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 climbing a steep hill

Heading back out of the play area – I mean quarry – it’s back into 4-H (high) mode – which can be selected on the go – where the Isuzu gives all the speed with the benefit of 4 wheel drive at the same time, and it can be used for the majority of the driving over rough terrain, until you meet a steep incline or deep water, where it’s best to utilise the 4-low setting.

After taking the Isuzu off-road, making sure to really test its capabilities, and then seeing just how incredibly competent it is I genuinely have even more of a respect and admiration for the D-Max.

ISUZU D-MAX FURY 2.5TD DOUBLE CAB 4×4 wading through deep water

Sure, the D-Max does the normal on-road stuff well, but the next time you’ve got a job that involves some type of driving over rough terrain, twist that 4×4 mode into high or low, and laugh as the Isuzu shrugs it all off and you arrive at where you need to be. In summary, it’s an entirely proficient pick-up truck when it comes to tackling some very tough ground.

Next update coming soon! Follow CarProductsTested on Twitter and Facebook  for photos and info about the Isuzu D-Max Fury, and what we’re using it for between updates. 

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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 lamps on sports bar & in front grille, 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 | Filming: Alex Carnall | Film editing: Chris Davies

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