Tough contender – Isuzu D Max Eiger
They say the North Face of The Eiger is a slippery place. But the Eiger variant of the Isuzu D-Max is so surefooted, that it would run up any slope and have its rivals gasping for breath. The designers have produced a vehicle with a tremendously confident grip and assertiveness, a prime example of superlative, hardy engineering.
I would go eagerly in the Eiger, even up where eagles fly, such is its engineering excellence and competence. It has one of the best double cabs available but it’s good to see that it hasn’t grown to the huge dimensions of rivals such as Ford’s Ranger.
Make no mistake, it is big, but it’s not gargantuan, and all the better for that for use in this country. It’s a big-hearted motor for an equally big-hearted owner who insists on sturdy individualism for his motoring needs.
Double cabs dominate sales across the pick-up sector and Isuzu has replaced the successful Rodeo model with the D-Max. In doing so they have taken a leap forward in terms of style, quality and performance. When compared to some rivals, if you knew Isuzu like I know Isuzu, you would not find it hard to see why Isuzus are thought to be the pick-ups for the professionals. As tough as a steel ingot, with a 4-star crash rating and 5-year/120,000 mile warranty, this handsome beast sits on stylish alloys. It is beautifully built, yet is brawny and hairy-chested too. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’s for ‘rednecks’ only, but you’d be so wrong. It satisfies a huge multiplicity of motoring needs without sacrificing refinement. Even the load bed is lined as standard, and there are enough load lashing eyes dotted about to secure any valuable cargo.
When you step inside the light, airy and very roomy four-door cab you enter a refined environment that is really quite sophisticated. Hardy materials let you know that it is actually a vehicle built to last, with a quality finish and decent level of standard kit. On this, the lower-to-mid-range variant that costs £18,499 excl VAT – you’ll also feel at home while wearing your best tuxedo. It is, however, the version that is probably the one most suited to the rigours of a ruffty-tuffty life, because one wouldn’t want to subject a top spec version to muddy boots and dirty jeans. Once in, you do get looked after, with air conditioning, powered windows, lots of airbags and a quality radio.
When you want to climb a mountain or tow a three-tonne braked trailer it is easy to switch from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive and low range, simply by turning a rotary dial on the centre console. And talking of towing or filling up that load bed, the gutsy 2.5-litre engine is absolutely brilliant. Yes, you can hear it working – but then that’s so reassuring because, with 163bhp and elephantine torque, coupled to an excellent six-speed gearbox, the Eiger can ‘move mountains’.
So, if you want a practical, near unbreakable pick-up that shouts good style, with an imposing on-road/off-road presence, and with excellent load capability available at a competitive price, then the D-Max Eiger is probably unbeatable.