- Just £700 more than D-Max Utility double cab
- Better looking on the outside, extra kit on the inside
- Ideal for anyone after a working truck with a bit of bling
Here’s an Isuzu D-Max special edition with a difference. While the firm is near-famous for offering additional specification on its lifestyle models on a regular basis (the V-Cross being the most recent example we’ve driven), this Workman+ double cab is based on the entry-level Utility trim level.
The idea is to offer tradespeople and farmers the option to upgrade to some extra kit – including elements that enhance the D-Max Workman+’s appearance – while still focusing on the best possible value and providing a tough, no-nonsense truck.
We’ve driven it, and we like the results.
What’s different about the Workman+ versus the D-Max Utility?
While there’s no mistaking the Utility for anything but a basic truck – what with its steel wheels and unadorned sides – the Workman+ cuts a much more immediately striking dash.
Though it still has unpainted bumpers (the better for bashing things with), it comes in a choice of five bright colours – including the fantastic Sapphire Blue Mica pictured here, which isn’t usually available on the Utility at all – is kitted-out with 18-inch alloy wheels, and gets a smart set of side steps as well.
Isuzu hasn’t overlooked the need to be practical, however. The Workman+ is also equipped with a full-size alloy spare wheel, a tow bar with 13-pin electrics, and a choice of rear load liners. Depending on what better suits your usage, you can have either an over-the-rail or under-the-rail liner, the latter suitable for use with hardtops and load covers.
Any upgrades on the inside?
The standard D-Max Utility is already reasonably well-equipped for an entry-level truck (you can check the full list on our main review page by clicking here), the Workman+ adds a DAB radio – basic, but still welcome – and a reversing camera.
The camera’s screen is mounted in the rear-view mirror, and the camera itself is positioned below the bumper, which is where all D-Max reversing cameras used to be positioned before the current 164hp 1.9-litre engine was introduced. It’s actually really handy, because you can see the tow hook in the picture, making it easier to position the truck for attaching to a trailer.
Like all Utility models, the Workman+ plus has the slightly less fancy D-Max dashboard – including manual air-conditioning, rather than climate control – but its controls remain easy to operate.
What’s it like to drive?
Like every other D-Max, it’s a bit of an acquired taste. If you’re coming to one of these from driving a car, a period of adjustment will be required. From the ride quality to the gearshift mechanism of the six-speed manual gearbox, you’re left in no doubt this is intended to be a working truck, rather than a lifestyle accessory.
First gear is very short – which helps the 360Nm of torque get heavy loads rolling – and while the steering delivers a decent turning circle in pickup truck terms, do not expect this to be a particularly sharp tool in the corners. Enter a turn too fast, and it will do its best to grip but ultimately push wide while making quite a bit of noise about it; similarly, greasy roads and a heavy right foot will make you glad of the standard-fit stability control system.
However, we should be clear that compared with previous D-Maxs, the most recent round of chassis modifications – which include changes to the rear suspension – have worked wonders on the driving experience.
Though the unladen ride is still choppy over most surfaces, it’s certainly calmer than before; this is a truck that’s rated to tow 3.5 tonnes and carry 1,088kg, and the tough rear springs are designed to make this routine. It’s also quieter and more refined than it was.
None of these things are unique to the Workman+ of course, but this incremental improvement of the D-Max experience is appreciated, nonetheless.
As with all D-Max pickups, the Workman+ features a switchable four-wheel drive system that uses rear-wheel drive on the road, but can be easily changed to 4x4 when the surface becomes more slippery.
How much does the Workman+ cost, and is it exclusive?
Pricing for the Workman+ starts at £21,495 (CV on-the-road, so excluding VAT but including delivery and registration fees), which is just £700 more than the Utility double cab model.
Given all the extras you get, we’d call that excellent value. So much so that you may have to move fast if you want one, since Isuzu is only planning to sell 125 of them in the UK.
Like all D-Max models, you also get a five-year, 125,000-mile warranty, and five years of roadside assistance that covers Europe as well as the UK.
Official claimed fuel consumption is 40.4mpg, though if you get mid 30s you’ll be doing well in real like.
Should I buy a D-Max Workman+?
If you add all the upgrades and the recent D-Max improvements together, you not only get an Isuzu that’s smarter to look at, you also get one that’s better to drive and a nicer place to be inside.
Make no mistake, this remains a basic pickup. But it’s now also a quieter and more comfortable one, with DAB radio, smart wheels and extra practicality features included. The cost to value equation is rather good on this one – though we’d still recommend you test drive a Mitsubishi L200 for comparison.