It’s okay to be a lumberjack. Develop that outdoor thousand-yard stare. These days humble working pick-up trucks have become much more civilised and versatile. Sure, they don’t match up to cars in the comfy ride stakes but they still have a lot to offer fun-loving families as much as industry. Trucks sold in the UK never really match up to the massive machines sold over in ‘Murica but this new Isuzu D-Max Arctic AT35 Truck is starting to look the business.
This all-new pick-up truck is engineered to excel in the most arduous conditions, and is the result of close technical collaboration between two respected off-road and pick-up specialists. Each AT35 is based upon the strong and durable D-Max pick-up vehicle, which is extensively enhanced by Arctic Trucks, a company with a 25 year history in Iceland and Scandinavia as a developer of 4×4 vehicles able to take on the most gruelling terrains and conditions.
Whether in the wilds of the British countryside or on building sites in the city, the AT35 is the most robust and capable pick-up that Isuzu UK has ever created. The original 2.5-litre D-Max engine is retained, whilst a number of significant chassis changes have been carried out by Arctic Trucks.The AT35 retains the impressive one-tonne payload and 3.5-tonne towing (braked) capacities that have helped make the Isuzu D-Max one of the most popular pick-ups for those seeking an exceptional workhorse with low running costs. It will be the first Arctic Trucks pick-up in the UK that can be ordered directly from a vehicle manufacturer’s authorised dealer network. Available in either double-cab or extended-cab configurations, the AT35 is priced from £30,999 for the extended-cab and from £33,499 for the double-cab configuration.
Enhanced running gear
The AT35 introduces several key hardware enhancements, ensuring, say the company, extraordinary off-road capability unprecedented in a pick-up on sale in the UK. Within the Isuzu D-Max model range, suspension is re-engineered exclusively for the AT35 with Fox Performance Series dampers, which helps deliver increased mobility over even the most rutted tracks and brutal boulders.
Special all-terrain Nokian Rotiiva AT tyres endow the AT35 with improved all-round grip in the most slippery conditions. These huge 35-inch tyres are specifically engineered for off-road use and are fitted to 17” x 10” alloy wheels, considerably larger than those on the standard D-Max. The vehicle accommodates the larger diameter tyres and wheels within dramatically-widened wheel-arches, giving the AT35 a securely planted and powerful look.
The specification of the tyres follows Arctic Trucks’ assertion that any off-road journey can be completed without the assistance of a winch or other rescue materials. Deflation and inflation of tyres – helped by the AT35’s on-board inflation kit – should be part of the adventure. The truck’s 35-inch wheels significantly broaden the contact patch and, in certain frozen weather conditions, the tyres are so bulbous they can even allow the car to float on light snow slush whether that’s across ice fields in Norway or icy moors of North Yorkshire.
Two body configurations
The AT35 is available in double-cab and extended-cab configurations. The extended-cab body was designed from the ground up as an ‘open-cab’ pick-up. Isuzu’s engineers developed a second-row, rear-hinged door, also known as the side-access panel (SAP) on each side of the vehicle. To ensure maximum strength and safety in the event of a collision, the engineers incorporated a one-piece B-pillar into the leading edge of the side access panels.
The result is uninterrupted access to the side of the cabin, ideal when loading large items behind the front seats. The side access panels can be opened from both inside and outside the vehicle. The rear seat cushions fold down from the back panel, creating additional seating, with fold-out thigh supports offering occupants even greater levels of comfort.Comprehensive standard equipment
Passengers remain as well catered for as ever in the refined and well-appointed premium interior. A six-speaker audio package with an ‘Exciter’ speaker in the roof lining, plus iPod/USB/Bluetooth connectivity, provides high-quality sound. Heated and folding door mirrors (including side indicator repeaters) are standard, as is a leather steering wheel with audio and cruise controls.
The double-cab model also includes full leather upholstery for an even more luxurious interior, as well as automatic climate control air-conditioning. This is controlled by a large, circular Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) selector located on the cabin’s centre console, which allows occupants to control temperature and fan settings with a single dial. The system automatically maintains the set temperature for optimal passenger comfort.
Exterior standard features include projector headlamps, body-coloured front bumper, chrome trio of door handles, grille and rear bumper, LED rear lights and a rear load liner. The double-cab model also adds roof bars and rear parking sensors for further increased practicality. Custom receiver hitches fitted front and rear are given the Arctic Trucks treatment with style-led covers that hide the points when not in use.
Low running costs
Buyers and operators will benefit from the same ultra-low running costs that all Isuzu D-Max owners enjoy, remembering that this is a truck, not a city car. This is thanks to a competitive 42E insurance rating, low-cost finance packages and a comprehensive five-year / 125,000 mile warranty package. In addition, costs are kept low by 12,000-mile or 24-month service intervals, three years recovery and assistance cover, a three-year paint warranty, and a six-year anti-corrosion warranty. That’s a pretty comprehensive package and there’s a host of options as well.
Whatever your motoring preference a pick-up truck could be just the thing. Certainly you won’t be wanting one if you’re an urban dweller but if you like to get out and about it’s a different matter. Great for chucking bikes in the back, stowing camping equipment or taking a sick sheep to the vets, there’s no doubt that Isuzu make a great pick-up. Seek your inner pioneer. Geoff Maxted