Previous D-Max models served up a pretty crude drive experience on tarmac, but it's immediately obvious at the wheel that this 'RG'-series version has sharpened up its act. Isuzu has made lots of suspension changes for this generation design to try and reduce body roll, improve stability and better absorb vibrations. Plus the chassis is stiffer and the brand has introduced a modern electric-powered steering rack - which allows the installation of a class-leading portfolio of camera safety features. No contender in this class can properly replicate the car-like drive dynamics of an SUV and in this one, there remains plenty of body roll at speed through tighter turns as you slide around on the flat-bottomed seats. But on the plus side, thanks to all those changes, there's certainly now a lot less back end floatiness when the load bay is empty and with a bit of weight in the back, it's possible at times to forget you're in a pick-up - until you lurch into a corner or clump over a speed hump.
Under the bonnet, this 'RG'-series model uses the same 1.9-litre turbo diesel powerplant as the previous generation model, offering 164PS and available with either manual or auto transmission. This is a smaller capacity engine than you'll find with direct rivals and its 360Nm torque output is lower too, though a 3.5-tonne towing capacity is retained. This relatively light powertrain though, enables the kerb weight of this Isuzu to dip below the government's 2,040kg weight limit that separates Goods Vehicles from passenger cars so, unlike other pick-ups in the segment, this one can be driven at passenger car speed limits. Refinement is slightly improved with this generation D-Max, though still hardly car-like. And, as before, off road prowess is really impressive, helped by a quick-shifting 4WD system, decent suspension articulation and the lockable rear differential you get on most models. Ground clearance is rated at 235mm and the fording depth at 800mm.