Published on June 3rd, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


The Single Life: Isuzu D-Max Single Cab 4×4 review

It may be hard to believe, but there are some occasions where even a regular pickup truck cannot satisfy your cargo carrying requirements. It just so happened that Taylor’s Racing Team needed something to transport their Formula SAE type car for their shakedown day, with truck rental costs and scheduling making it a little difficult for them to move on a short notice.

Photo by Justin Moo

Photo by Justin Moo

With a few quick calculations on space requirements, they determined that the cargo bed of an Isuzu D-Max single cab would be able to just about fit the vehicle, and Isuzu Malaysia was happy to oblige. And so I steeled myself to drive what I thought would be the most basic of basic vehicles on the market.

Isuzu D-Max Single Cab 4

Cars, and pickup trucks alike, are becoming exceedingly luxurious as time goes by. The change is subtle, perhaps a little too subtle, but if you compare the models we have today with the models we had a decade ago, you would be surprised how far cars have come in terms of interior design and features. But one class of cars that has always remained budget conscious are the single cab pickups, for purely commercial applications.

Isuzu D-Max Single Cab 5

The D-Max Single Cab is no exception. There are no power windows, there is no central locking, and don’t even think about dual zone climate control. But rather surprisingly, it’s not all too difficult to live with. Perhaps that’s a result of me driving a 35 year old car on a daily basis, but there’s nothing about the Single Cab that makes you wish you had more (although a reverse sensor would be much appreciated).

Isuzu D-Max Single Cab 7

On the outside, you’re greeted with an unpainted front bumper and steel wheels, as well as a side step that looks to be made of steel tubing and metal grating. Sure, it may not fit in at the Bangsar Shopping Center valet parking, but it looks right at home to carry a generator or two through some bumpy Sarawakian estates. Maybe it’s the inner Mad Max talking, but part of me appreciates the ruggedness and lack of bells and whistles. It feels honest.

Isuzu D-Max Single Cab 6

Isuzu Malaysia provides the Single Cab in both 4×2 and 4×4 flavours. Thankfully we received the 4×4 variant which had the more modern engine and a 5-speed manual gearbox that felt like the business. As we’ve come to expect with Isuzu, the engines they provide aren’t the last word in power or torque (136 hp and 320 Nm from a 2.5 litre turbodiesel)- but they are hardy and consistent and easily more than adequate. Bombing down the highway at extralegal speeds isn’t an issue at all.

Isuzu D-Max 1

Would I drive one on a daily basis? Perhaps not. It’s not for reasons of lack of luxury, but more the overall size and the lack of a reverse sensor. Experienced pickup truck drivers among you may scoff at that remark and say it’s a matter of practice- but unfortunately we live in a tight city with very little breathing room. Navigating in and out of underground car parks at risk of scraping against somebody’s million-dollar machine is something I wouldn’t wish to endure on a daily basis.

Isuzu D-Max Single Cab 3

But it does make for a very interesting experience. Having this much cargo area provides opportunities you wouldn’t normally have, and the lack of creature comforts make you feel that little bit more macho. And if a contractor or estate worker were to pick the Isuzu D-Max Single Cab as their vehicle of choice, they would be in good hands.

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