In the realm of utes such as Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and the like, single-cab chassis models are the purest forms of real, purpose-built workhorses. These no-nonsense utes have been boiled down to the bare essentials: basic comfort, satisfactory safety, gutsy engine, tough cabin and functional tray.

In an attempt to keep pace with the modern-day ute mob, Isuzu updated its D-Max earlier this year with a torquier Euro5-compliant engine and a new transmission, as well as a new up-front design, but have these changes been enough to put the D-Max single-cab chassis firmly into the competitive wolf pack of work trucks?