Ready For Anything – 2023 Isuzu D-Max AT35

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The Isuzu D-Max AT35 has been around for a while now and this is the third generation I’ve driven, but thanks to the shiny new D-Max underneath, it is also the best yet. Previous models had everything they needed to perform well under pressure and get the job done, but in the highly competitive pick-up truck market, they lacked a bit in the interior. Thankfully, the new D-Max has been brought right up to date.

From the outside the AT35 looks as impressive as ever with its huge bulging bolt-on arch extensions, enormous 35″ all-terrain tyres, and lifted body. As you would expect from a collaboration with Arctic Trucks you’d have to try very hard to get this pick-up stuck – switchable four-wheel-drive and a low-range ‘box certainly do a sterling job yanking you out of a sticky situation and the 35-degree approach angle means it can be driven on even the steepest of terrains.

Like the previous generations, I put the big orange beast through all sorts of scenarios in and around the muddy fens and it never failed to pull through. From slippery muddy fields to rutted green lanes, getting across the countryside was as easy as you would expect from such a capable-looking vehicle.

There have also been notable improvements in the road manners of the AT35 with an unladen rear feeling a lot more planted and stable even on the greasiest of tarmac. On several occasions, I found the rear would break away slightly on wet roundabouts and such in the previous truck I drove back in 2020, but this was not the case at all in the new model. It also felt like the gearing was a lot smoother in the new model over previous models, especially at motorway cruising speeds, not that there was much of that.

One thing that impressed me with the new Isuzu D-Max V-Cross (despite the mouthful of a model name) was the huge improvement in the quality and equipment fitted inside. With trucks like the Ranger and Amarok offering more premium alternatives to the market, even the top-spec D-Max felt a bit too utility by comparison with special editions like the XTR still not cutting it, but with the upgrades in the infotainment, dash materials and overall aesthetic it is a lovely truck to sit in for hours as you drive up and down the country.

As I’ve said many times before, the standard D-Max offers up some of the best value for money when it comes to commercial and passenger trucks and the AT35 retains a lot of that value – especially with a payload of over 1-tonne and 3.5-tonne towing capability (something the similarly placed Ford Ranger Raptor cannot boast about), however, this is not to say that the D-Max AT35 is by any means a bargain. With a starting price of £50,999+VAT, it’s £15,500 on top of the D-Max V-Cross – a truck that I think is one of the best on the market at the moment.

To be fair to the AT35, I can imagine the sort of people who want to buy it aren’t as bothered by its practicality as those in the market for a workhorse, this is more of a lifestyle truck, for the adventurous and extreme and of course they could by a standard D-Max V-Cross and throw similar money at it to make it look the same, but then it would be lacking two vital elements – firstly, I would imagine a certain level of Isuzu’s 5-year warranty and also that badge that is synonymous with exploration – Arctic Trucks.

Thank you to Isuzu UK for providing the D-Max AT35 for me to test. More information on the Isuzu D-Max AT35 can be found HERE along with information on all their other trucks and vehicles.