Pick-ups work well for commercial duties, but Isuzu feels there's an emerging consumer market for them too. We put it to the test.
This is the Isuzu D-Max pick-up truck, the company's second offering for India. It's far from the first pick-up in the market, but it is the first one from an international carmaker – all the others in this segment so far have either been Tatas or Mahindras. Isuzu believes pick-ups are well suited to our market, and not only in rural parts, but for a small number of city-based buyers as well.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two kinds of D-Max on sale at the moment. The silver one in the pictures is the 'flat deck' – the more basic model with few creature comforts, even fewer styling flourishes, and as the name suggests, a completely flat deck or bed at the back for better storage. This is a pure utility vehicle, so we're going to focus on the blue truck – the D-Max 'arched deck' – which is aimed at the lifestyle buyer as well.
It's got external garnishes like a chrome grille (styled to look like a lion's teeth, incidentally) and wing mirrors, body-coloured bumpers and door handles, and a cargo area that's fully integrated with the rest of the body. It looks handsome, if not quite as butch as a Tata Xenon XT, and the classic pick-up proportions are there. We wish Isuzu would have given it the option of alloy wheels or at least full wheel covers; hub caps on steel wheels are standard. There will be an accessories catalogue later on, we're told.
The arched deck version is available only as a 'space cab', which means that while there are only two seats in the passenger compartment, there is a generous area behind them to store stuff you might need access to on the go; or stuff you don't want to leave in the exposed cargo area behind. It's too small to fit any seats in this space, but the thin cushioning on the back wall of the cab suggests that Isuzu knows people will sit here anyway, much like the middle front 'seat' in the Datsun Go.