Our reviewer Syd Taylor takes the Isuzu D-Max Arctic Truck for a spin - in his own, inimitable style! His verdict? Big, Butch and Beautiful...
The jokes flew faster than a toupe in a tornado, a buzzard in a blizzard or the proverbial speeding mullet. Thick and fast they came, proving if proof were needed, that we are most certainly a nation of comedians.
It was a size thing you see. A neighbour set the ball rolling the moment I pulled up alongside my chateau gates. He took one look, grinned and came across.
"Ar, suppose you've been driven to this by the potholes?" he began. "We could all do with a motor like this given the state of the roads."
He thought for a moment. Something told me that another pearl of wisdom was imminent.
"Mind you," he continued, "With such a massive motor you could literally drive through the traffic, if you see what I mean. Not a bad idea eh?"
I jumped out, shut the driver's door and patted a tyre. I almost had to reach up to do that on account of its gargantuan proportions.
The motor in question is unquestionably one of the most impressive of its kind on the road today. The new Isuzu D-Max with its 162 bhp torquey 1.9 diesel has a maximum payload weight of 1045 kg and can tow up to 3500kg. Given the Arctic Trucks treatment, it's big, butch and beautiful. Perhaps on account of the Arctic associations it seems to declare in the words of the old song that it is the motoring equivalent of a walrus. Here you have a muscular, thick-hided denizen of frozen latitudes ready to get stuck in if needs be with a tusk or two to tackle any task.
In essence the £59,329 Arctic Truck is an Isuzu that has been inducted into the Schwarznegger school of no nonsense muscularity. For Nordic Noir wannabes, it's the bee's knees. No mountain snowdrift, no trackless wilderness would impede the progress of this Arctic Truck. Villains beware. This big-hearted 'Honest John' will track you down and get the job done....even in the inky blackness of an Arctic winter: such is the illuminating power of the roof-mounted light bar that is brighter than a thousand suns. You could burn the retinas of approaching motorists if not careful.
And yet what's a big beast like the AT 35 for really? As I sat behind the wheel, driving in search of a challenging journey, I pondered the question. Stopping for fuel I endured a repetition of the pothole question from a chuckling stranger who also cracked a convoluted joke involving North Sea oil rigs, gas guzzling and rising sea levels. It was so funny that I won't share it. His young son, in the meantime, stared with goggling eyes at the Arctic Truck. It must have seemed to him a dream come true. In fact I couldn't wait to get back into the cab and elevate myself above such low company.
Did I mention, by the way, that for such a big motor - raised up with its special Bilstein suspension and huge knobbly tyres that enable it to go almost anywhere - it is surprisingly frugal, returning about 36 mpg overall - and it rides and handles very well on metalled highways too. Seventy mph motorway cruising is easy and relaxing as drivers of lumbering juggernauts nod approvingly and hypercar pilots defer to you lest you squash them. Such is the imposing presence of the Arctic Truck.
Eventually, my mind turned to the question regarding the purpose of such a titanic transformation from the normal and outstandingly capable D-Max. But then I glanced to my right to see a vast open space in the process of being transformed into much needed housing. The ground was muddy, the work was laborious. Hauling and shifting over rough terrain was the order of the day. Exactly the kind of environment where a 'do anything and go anywhere' workhorse would thrive well. And then again, the sheer pleasure of riding high above the madding crowd was reward enough.
Size promises courtesy where others are concerned. That I quickly learned - ignoring, of course, the odd Napoleon or two. For these, the AT35 quickly dispensed a wintery Waterloo. Or to put it another way. The Titan of the Tundra sees off all opposition.