TIME TO GET REAL DIRTY

Pinjarra Murray Times - - DRIVEWAY -

LIT­TLE won­der car wash joints charge ex­tra to clean utes and SUVs.

These things are a headache to de­tail: the ex­tra sur­face area of the hard lid, the height of the roof (I cheated and just hit it with a hose), the crevices be­tween the body and the tub and the ex­posed un­der­side of the wheel arches all take ex­tra time.

And I haven’t got the Isuzu D-Max truly dirty yet.

It’s a worth­while ex­er­cise be­cause you al­ways find some­thing new about a car once you’ve gone over it with a sponge. For starters, I dis­cov­ered to my sur­prise the hard lid is wa­ter­tight.

I didn’t try to spray un­der the lip but af­ter a nor­mal wash, it was bone dry in­side.

The rub­ber door seals also did their job, which bodes well for keep­ing out dust.

Ini­tially quite strong, the new-car smell of the cabin plas­tics is be­gin­ning to sub­side with time.

Hav­ing jumped in and out of a se­ries of utes in the past month (Tri­ton, HiLux, Navara, Colorado) it was good to get back into the D-Max.

It doesn’t drive with the same fi­nesse – if that’s the word – as the Tri­ton or HiLux but holds up well ver­sus Navara and Colorado.

The D-Max lacks some mod­cons but its big­gest strength is still its en­gine. The 3.0-litre turbo diesel’s power num­bers are down ver­sus its peers but it doesn’t feel un­der­done on the road and eas­ily keeps pace with the Tri­ton and HiLux, for ex­am­ple.

We’re still get­ting good econ­omy out of it (about 8.0L/100km) al­though this is mostly free­way driv­ing un­laden. Small an­noy­ances? No Ap­ple CarPlay, no vol­ume knob and the rear view camera image isn’t very clear at night. In the day it’s too faint if you have the head­lights on (as I al­ways do).

A light sen­sor – as per other utes – would be handy so the screen is eas­ier to see.

Joshua Dowl­ing

Clean bill of health... the Isuzu D-Max.

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