Isuzu D-Max AT35

For those pick-up drivers that feel their truck isn’t quite tough enough in appearance, or who worry that they might not be able to traverse the worst that our landscape and weather can throw at them, there is now an answer to your worries, Isuzu has joined forces with Icelandic off-road specialist Arctic Trucks, to produce the D-Max AT35.

Unveiled at this year’s CV Show in Birmingham, the AT35 will be offered through just 36 of Isuzu’s 105 UK dealers. Based on the high trim level Utah version of Isuzu’s double-cab D-Max, the AT35 promises enhanced off-road capabilities, thanks in part to its 35” tyres that are a full 75mm wider than the standard truck’s.

Arctic Trucks then installs specialist Fox Performance dampers front and rear and a further raising block on the revised rear leaf suspension, in all lifting ground clearance to 290mm. this also improves the truck’s approach and exit angles, making it easier to tackle ramps, climbs and descents off-road.

While many off-road converters then opt for the most aggressive tyres they can find, Arctic Trucks has chosen a relatively restrained all-terrain Nokian tyre, in a remarkable 315/70 R17 size, for the D-Max. This tyre allows very low ground pressures to be achieved, especially at lower pressures, minimising damage to sensitive terrain and making it an ideal choice for the likes of the Environment Agency or water-ways contractors.

A secondary benefit of this less aggressive tread pattern is that, despite the massive width, the tyres are actually reasonably quiet at motorway speeds, with very little tread block squirm on the road.

Of course the main point of the AT35 is its off-road performance and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Despite recent dry weather, the D-Max handled everything that we could throw at it on the Millbrook test facility’s military grade off-road course. While many competitors have optional locking rear differentials, electronic hill descent control functions and numerous other driver aids, the Isuzu simply has a rotary 2H, 4H to 4L rotary controller. It was all that was required.

Arctic Trucks provides the wider wheel arches and arch liners to wrap around those bigger wheels, though the D-Max trucks are converted in the UK from standard vehicles. The trucks also have a solid rear underrun bar, which provides a mounting point for the tow bar, with the AT35 retaining the D-Max’s 3.5-tonne towing capability. You can also have a mounting on the front for winches and other attachments.

The D-Max is otherwise unchanged, running the standard twin-turbo 2.5-litew diesel engine with 163hp and 400Nm of torque. This can be paired with a six-speed manual or five-speed auto transmission.

There are no alterations in the cab either, other than a higher riding position and wider side steps to help with entry and exit from the cab.

Good news
Further good news for customers is that the conversion remains within Isuzu’s standard fiver-year/125,000 mile warranty, with service intervals unchanged at two years/12,000-miles.

The bad news is that it’s not a cheap truck. The extended cab model with manual gearbox has a CV OTR price of £30,000, rising to £33,499 for the double cab with automatic transmission.

However, if you really need the additional off-road capability, the AT35 certainly delivers on its visual promise. With the reassurance of the standard manufacturer’s warranty and dealer backing it’s also a low-risk conversion for the customer.

VanUser, August 2016 

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