We turn the spotlight on the Isuzu D-Max LS-Terrain auto crew cab and ask the crucial questions, including  the biggest -- would you buy one?

What is it?

Once a Holden now an Isuzu, the D-Max is the result of the split between the two companies that saw the birth of two utes sharing the same architecture but with different names – the Colorado and the D-Max (GM lost the rights to the Rodeo name). The two however don't share an engine anymore.

How much?

This is Isuzu's top of the line ute is priced from $51,700. It's a good looking truck that rides on 17 inch alloys with 255/65 series rubber, has a 3 tonne tow capacity and can carry a 1 tonne load. Comes with leather, power adjust driver's seat and touchscreen navigation with USB, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, plus a reverse camera and roof rails.

What are competitors?

Plenty of them. The Holden Colorado of course, plus the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT50, VW Amarok, Nissan Navara and not forgetting the king of the utes – the Toyota HiLux.

What's under the bonnet?

The intercooled 3.0-litre turbo diesel produces 130kW of power and 380Nm of torque from a low 1800 revs. It features common rail direct injection and a variable geometry turbocharger. It's hooked up to an Aisin 5-speed automatic with manual sequential mode and has adaptive grade logic and lock-up torque converter.

How does it go?

Surprisingly smooth for a ute. The ride isn't too harsh and it does not have that roly-poly feel like some utes.  Suspension is double wish-bone at the front while the rear  features long span leaf springs.

Is it economical?

Oddly, the trip computer delivers fuel consumption in kilometres to the litre, rather than litres to the 100km. Rated at 8.1 litres/100km, we were getting 8.8 after a couple of hundred kilometres (11.4 on the computer). Has a 76-litre tank.

Is it green?

Not so good I'm afraid. All of Isuzu's utes score a 2.5 star rating from the Government's Green Vehicle Guide, with an air pollution rating of just 3 out of 10 and producing 220g/km of CO2 (a Prius produces 89g).

Is it safe?

Good news if you're looking for a family friendly ute. All 4x4 D-MAX crew cab variants built from November 2013 earn a maximum five stars for crash safety. Comes with six airbags and a full suite of safety systems including a reverse camera and traction and stability control.

Is it comfortable?

Yep. Seats are comfy and have a good range of adjustment. One of the more comfortable utes that we have driven.

What's it like to drive?

Smooth, responsive and economical. The Terrain Command dial between the seats allows the driver to select between two-and four-wheel drive on the fly while travelling at speeds of up to 100km/h. On the downside lacks one-touch blinkers and the lights don't turn off automatically.

Is it value for money?

Fitted with leather, climate control airconditioning and satellite navigation with school and speed camera warnings, the D-Max represents pretty good value for money. It's built to take the tough stuff too, with protective steel guards for the sump, transfer case and fuel tank.

Would we buy one?

Yes. It was okay as a Holden and it is just as good as an Isuzu, but the Colorado undercuts it for price.

Isuzu D-Max LS-Terrain crew cab
Price: from $52,500 (auto)
Engine: 3.0-litre turbo diesel, 130kW/380Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, RWD
Thirst: 8.1L/100km