Sunday, 16 December 2018

Seduced by good looks to D-Max

A BLACK stallion, the long-time brand of a high street bank, gallops across our television screens

A BLACK stallion, the long-time brand of a high street bank, gallops across our television screens through a parade of ordinary folk going about their daily lives.

Are there any more potent symbols in our lives today than those furnished by advertising agencies?

The black stallion presumably denotes virility, strength and trustworthiness — all things a bank would like you to believe about it.

And do we buy into that? Of course we do, whether we like it or not. Hook, line and sinker since advertising began in earnest in the mid-19th century.

So when a car company presents you with a pristine double-cab pick-up in black from its dazzling anthracite wheels to its smart black roller top, are you seduced simply by its looks?



I was with this week’s drive — the appealing Isuzu D-Max Blade. (Come on, even the name is there to entice you in — how can you resist?)

This is not the first time Isuzu has weaved its magic with the sheer look of a car. Recently, in this column, I reviewed the Isuzu D-Max Fury, a boiling hot double-cab pick-up in Magma Red. I said then that in a global car market that leans towards the bland in general design, this scarlet Fury was a breath of fresh air.

The all-black Isuzu D-Max Blade is something else. From its looks you get the impression of a smouldering cool dude — which again, of course, is the intention.

As this type of vehicle becomes more popular in the UK — having long since been a cornerstone of the US market — there is a demand for more “car-like” features.

So the humble pick-up is barely discernible in this guise (though in utility form they are still used as workhorses, and indeed Isuzu has a very good one in the D-Max utility version).

But the makers of the Isuzu D-Max Blade are offering a lifestyle that reaches out to you the consumer. How far any of the carmakers go to convince you depends on their TV advertising budgets.

It would be obvious to any driver that this “lifestyle vehicle” has next to nothing to do with work. The seats are racy and comfortable, the interiors have completely lost their utility feel, and the technical equipment gets a boost.

However, I feel that there is still work to be done. The outside look is so appealing that this should be more than matched inside.

Of course all this has to do with the cost of manufacture, but if Isuzu is going down this route to more luxurious “lifestyle” pick-ups, then it would be prudent to invest further in “luxury” equipment.

My ideal pick-up would be one that matched the comfort and performance of any prestige luxury saloon — and in America they do.

In the Isuzu D-Max Blade the audio system needed some updating. The screen for the satnav map and menu could be larger: large touchscreens in cars that ape iPads are now very much in vogue.

The sound was good, though, and great for playing appropriate music. For example, if you are a country and western fan you would be in heaven.

There is nothing wrong with the engine on this pick-up. The 2.5-litre turbodiesel pulls for all its worth and though I did not do any towing I can see why the Isuzu D-Max Blade is a favourite in that department.

Car advertising, like all advertising, might appear meaningless but it has plenty of takers. Seduced or not, if you were thinking of graduating from your family hatchback or saloon to a big, stylish pick-up, you should consider the Isuzu D-Max Blade.



Fact-file:

Price: £26,249

Four-door, five-seater, double cab pick-up

Engine: 2.5-litre turbo diesel with ‘on demand’ part-time 4WD system and a six-speed manual transmission.

Standard equipment includes:

18-inch alloy wheels

Body-coloured  bumpers

Daytime running lights

Projector headlamps

LED rear lights

Dark grey grille

Privacy glass

Cosmic black door handles, roof bars, rear bumper, tailgate handle, heavy-duty side steps

Folding, heated chrome door mirrors with side-indicator repeaters



Safety and security includes:

Front, side and curtain airbags



Interior:

Front/rear electric windows

Automatic climate control

Heated rear screen

Cruise control

Heated front seats

Height-adjustable driver’s seat

Bespoke Blade  carpets

Premium black leather upholstery

Leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control function



Entertainment:

6.1-inch touchscreen Pioneer DAB navigation system including rear camera

Eight speakers, including two ‘Exciter’ roof-mounted speakers



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