Isuzu D-MAX LSU-Space Cab urban review

By: Harrison Hunkin, Photography by: Thomas Wielecki


Some snobbish preconceptions of the Isuzu D-MAX left Harrison Hunkin with egg on his face after his long termer proved him wrong

The Trusty D-MAX was a beast on-set and off-set for Mighty Machines TV
The trusty D-MAX was a beast on-set and off-set for Mighty Machines TV

Over the past six months I’ve spent some serious time in the driver’s seat of the Isuzu D-MAX LS-U Space Cab. It was the official noble steed of our TV show Mighty Machines and we took it everywhere when filming.

But as my days with this trusty ute come to a close, I’m beginning to dread the moment when I hand the keys back – let me tell you why.

 Now I’ll be honest, I went in a little sceptical of the D-MAX – I thought it’d be a long six months in a car that I pigeonholed as a basic tradie ute.

What’s the issue you may ask? Well, for "scientific" reasons, the 2019 D-MAX served predominately as my daily city-mobile. That’s five days a week, in and out of peak-hour traffic, working my way through a tight inner-city car park, in a ute that I previously thought was quite daggy and had a few comfort issues.

But here I am admitting I was wrong. So, here are few things I liked about my D-MAX LS-U Space Cab.

The steering is heavy but the turning circle of this beast is quite good at 12.6m
The steering is heavy but the turning circle of this beast is quite good at 12.6m

ENGINE

This 3.0L turbo-diesel engine has been a highlight over the past six months. Tough as nails, I never questioned it when heading off-road or towing, but what did surprise me was how well it transitioned once it hit the city congestion.

Some competitors in this (huge) ute market have gone to smaller engines, whereas the D-MAX keeps the larger capacity engine and a single turbo, which actually made it pretty efficient for the start-stop nature of city driving.

MANOEUVERABILITY

Me being the D-MAX virgin that I was, taking that maiden voyage
in the ute felt like I was driving a little baby truck… however,
driving it as much as I do, I quickly become accustomed to its stature and heavier steering. And I won’t sugar coat it, the hydraulic steering is heavy and many won’t like it. My colleague Cobey Bartels found the hydraulic steering on the D-MAX a little overwhelming, mainly due to poor muscle mass and strength, but personally, it really grew on me.

Yes, electric steering is great, especially in tight confinements like the urban city carparks that I was frequenting in my D-MAX, but once you get used to the steering you’ll actually quickly forget about that weight.

Also, the turning circle of this beast is quite good at 12.6m (trumping the Ranger, Colorado and the Amarok slightly), and trust me – the carpark I use daily is really crammed.

Plus, there is no better power move than using your ute to box in an arrogant executive in a Mercedes-Benz. (Just because you drive a status symbol, doesn’t mean you have any more clout when it
comes to parking) .

The D-MAX on set of Mighty Machines

SPACE CAB

While the Space Cab gave my Labrador a crook back, I’m yet to discover a Space Cab ute that entices you to actually sit in the back.

That being said, what you sacrifice in comfort and legroom out back, you make up for in tray size. And that’s what utes are all about after all, right? Versatility!

I did give the D-MAX a bit of an urban workout by stacking a couch and a decent tool box in the tray when helping my cousin move house.

Scoring just shy of two cubic metres of deck space gives plenty when used as an urban transporter.

Did someone say van alternative?

No-nonsense or down-to-earth is the best way I can sum up the Isuzu D-MAX! And that’s why I like it… after all, who likes a blow hard anyway?

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