Isuzu D-Max V-Cross Review — A Pickup Truck For The Stalwarts

Here’s the road test review of the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross. We put the V-Cross to the test on open, windy roads, and off the road.

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The name 'Isuzu' rings a bell for umpteen auto enthusiasts, not only because the Japanese company sells vehicles in India, but for producing engines that powered some iconic cars such as the Hindustan Ambassador, Contessa, and even the Swaraj Mazda.

The engines and powertrains proved to be very reliable, and of recent, Isuzu decided to enter the Indian market. The first vehicle for India was the D-Max pickup, a commercial vehicle.

Later, during the Auto Expo, Isuzu showcased the D-Max V-Cross, a twin cabin pickup, meant for adventure lovers and off-road enthusiasts.

The V-Cross soon became the talk of the town, especially among the off-road community. In day-to-day conditions, is the V-Coss just a poser or is the utility vehicle a true performer? We find out.

Isuzu V-Cross Design

The V-Cross, which is being marketed as India's first ‘Adventure Utility Vehicle' has a menacing stance, yet a sober enough front design, hinting at the vehicle's user friendliness. The prominent chrome grille with the ‘Isuzu' branding is what catches one's attention first, followed by the vehicle's mammoth proportions.

Towards the side, the V-Cross has all the right characteristics and profile lines that blend in well. The flared wheel arches are in sync with the vehicle's shoulder line that flows smoothly all the way to the rear. The rear-end of the V-Cross features a prominent Isuzu logo as well, ensuring motorists know the brand of vehicle they are following.

Isuzu V-Cross Engine And Gearbox

The Isuzu V-Cross is powered by a 2.5-litre, turbocharged diesel engine that produces 134bhp and 320Nm of torque. The engine is paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels.

The Isuzu V-Coss is a ‘capable' 4x4 that has high and low gearbox ratios. The 4x4 option can be selected with a rotary knob located behind the gear lever, and four-wheel high (4H) can be selected on-the-fly, while the four-wheel low (4L) option can be selected only when the vehicle comes to a complete halt and the gearlever is in the neutral position.

Performance And Handling Of V-Cross

The performance of the V-Cross is a key aspect towards success. The V-Cross is very torquey, enough to help move the vehicle in second gear from a stand still without the slightest hint of stress. When you put your foot down in fifth gear, 140km/h on the speedo is effortless, but any higher, the drag is felt on the rear bed.

The V-Cross feels agile, despite its long wheel-base setup (compared to the average SUVs). Steering is light, making the vehicle handle like a car, thus providing utmost confidence to throw the V-Cross into corners.

The variable geometry turbo ensures there's enough power on tap at any rpm, while still staying composed.

Off-road was when the V-Cross really proved its ‘Adventure Utility Vehicle' tagline. The massive ground clearance (225mm) cleared some of the most difficult terrains with ease. The rear overhangs did restrict departure angles, but with the right mods, the V-Cross will be competition-ready.

Mileage On The Isuzu V-Cross

Isuzu claims that the V-Cross returns a mileage of 12.4km/l on the highway, but we were able to squeeze out 10km/l (our route involved open highways and twisty roads).

Features Aboard The Isuzu V-Cross

Highlighting the exterior features first, the V-Cross comes with standard projector headlamps and foglamps. The roof rails are part of the standard accessories as well.

The V-Cross comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 245/70 section tyres as standard. If the road-tyres do not suit your conditions, there are a host of aftermarket tyre brand and patterns to chose from.

Braking duties on the V-Cross are taken care by ventilated discs with twin pot callipers up front while traditional drum brakes take care of the rear.

On the inside, the cabin sports dual tone colours, while the seats are finished in fabric. The driver's seat is height adjustable, and the steering wheel height can be adjusted, but not the reach.

The Isuzu comes with an impressive 2-DIN touchscreen music system that supports USB, AUX, and smartphone connectivity through bluetooth. The audio can be controlled through steering-mounted audio controls.

The instrument cluster is well lit and easy to read. A multi information display sits between the speedo and the tachometer, relaying vital information to the driver such as fuel level, engine temperature, range, average speed, outside temperature, and the drive mode (2H, 4H, and 4L).

The Isuzu V-Cross has climate control, but misses out on air conditioning vents for the rear. The cooling is effective, but a vent would have helped cool the cabin faster. There are bottle holders on the door and cup holders on the front, between the front seats.

The V-Cross also has two storage trays that neatly slide out from below the front air condition vents, that can be used for multiple purposes.

The rear seat on the V-Coss was a surprise again — very spacious. There is massive amounts of leg and headroom, making long highway journeys comfortable and cramp-free.

Safety Features On The V-Cross

The V-Cross comes standard with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and airbags for the driver and passenger. Isuzu has also offered ISOFIX anchors to strap on baby seats. While ABS is a life-saver, we noticed it kick in too early, which a few drivers could think of it as a drawback.

Pricing And Competitors For The Isuzu V-Cross

Competition to the Isuzu V-Cross comes in the form of the Tata Xenon and the Mahindra Scorpio Getaway. The V-Cross proudly takes the crown in this segment since it beats its competitors fair and square.

  • Isuzu D-Max V-Cross: Rs 14.59 lakh
  • Tata Xenon: Rs 13.05 lakh
  • Mahindra Scorpio Getaway: Rs 11.34 lakh

Note: All prices are approximate on-road (Delhi) values.

Accessories Available For The V-Cross

The V-Cross is on offer with a host of OEM accessories. One of the most practical ones of the lot will be the D-Box, that converts the rear bay to a massive boot. Other accessories include bed liners, side bars, and sports bars.

If one feels that the list of OEM Accessories is limited, then there are multiple aftermarket choices by reputed brands like ARB that make canopies, winches, bumpers, bull bars, skid plates, etc.

Verdict — Is The V-Cross The Ultimate 4X4?

Well, the answer is yes, and no. The V-Cross is no doubt an all round performer, be it on tarmac or off it. Features are rich, interior is top notch, seats are comfortable, and for an off-road enthusiast, there are a host of aftermarket choices. But now arises the question - how often do you drive off-road compared to on-road, and where on-road do you use it the most?

If the answer is majority off-road and involves a lot of highway journeys, then the V-Cross is worth every penny spent. Where the V-Cross is a let down is in the city — the vehicle is massive.

The size comes as a disadvantage in epic proportions when trying to park in tight spaces because there are no sensors or a reverse cam. Parking in the city will be an issue, especially since parking spots are hard to find, and the V-Cross takes up the space of two hatchbacks.

If off-roading and usage outside city limits play an important role, the V-Cross is an impressive vehicle to own.

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Story first published: Thursday, December 8, 2016, 13:37 [IST]
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