The Isuzu D-Max is a tough and durable workhorse, but it struggles with towing. Even compared with other pick-ups, the D-Max is disappointing to drive.

No test illustrates that better than the emergency lane-change. The D-Max tied itself up in knots, moving sideways abruptly in the first and slowest of three planned attempts at the manoeuvre.

It took an age to get up to speed. Towing from 30-60mph needed 18 seconds, which is a long time to put up with the racket from the engine.

Once bullied up to the legal limit the D-Max is reasonably stable at 60mph and beyond, but the Al-Ko ATC system picked up some sway while slowing down.

To be fair to the Isuzu, it performed well in the hill-start test. The automatic gearbox meant there was no need to balance clutch and throttle pedals, and the D-Max pulled to the top of the 1-in-6 slope without any sign of strain. Switchable four-wheel drive allowed the Isuzu to cope with pulling away on a damp surface.

The underslung full-sized spare wheel and large load bay were positives in our practicality assessment, and the reversing camera gives a good view of the towball.

Utah specification, as tested here, is the pick of the range. It’s well equipped with leather upholstery, heated seats and parking sensors. The Utah is also priced competitively.

However, if you plan to tow with a pick-up we’d rather recommend the Mercedes-Benz X-Class or Fiat Professional Fullback.

2018
Category Winners
2018 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2018 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2018 1550-1699kg

Peugeot 5008

2.0 BlueHDi EAT8 S&S GT

2018 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2018 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE

2018 Best Family SUV

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

2018 Best Petrol Tow Car

Kia Stinger

2.0 T-GDi GT-Line

2018 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Volkswagen Polo

1.0 TSI 115PS SEL DSG

2018 Fuel Economy Award

Hyundai i30 Tourer

1.6 CRDi 110PS Premium

Previous Winners
2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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