Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest 4x4 truck of them all?
hat very much depends on the eye of the individual of course. Some think the Mitsubishi L200 is a classy looker while others admire the chunky, macho lines of the Ford Ranger.
Me, I’ve always admired the boy on test here, the Isuzu Rodeo, and reckon it just nudges ahead in the looks department from the Nissan Navara.
The fact that the Rodeo lags behind the others in the sales league is probably down to no more than the dearth of Isuzu dealers in the UK, because in terms of practicality and reliability this truck is very much up with the rest of them.
Even in the days at the turn of the millennium when most of the offerings in this sector were pretty rough and uncomfortable, the Rodeo offered something a little more alluring that the average driver could live with on a day-to-day basis without having to have fillings replaced on a regular basis.
And this new contender, which arrived in the UK last year, is even more capable. Isuzu may be a small player in the UK but it will surprise you to learn that in fact it is the biggest maker of diesel engines in the world.
And the Rodeo commands a 37% market share in its home country of Thailand, 32% in Australia and New Zealand and a massive 79% in Egypt. No mean feat.
On offer in the UK are three models, the Denver, Denver Max and range-topping Denver Max LE, the model on test here.
Prices range from £13,999 to £19,999 (ex-VAT).
All these are five-seat double-cabs, meaning Isuzu can’t offer some of the cheaper ‘farmer’s’ models that the opposition have.
Under the bonnet goes a 2.5-litre common rail diesel engine offering 135bhp at 3,600rpm, while the range-topper comes with a ProDrive performance pack that boosts power at the touch of a button to 166bhp.
Meanwhile torque is a meaty 217lb-ft or 292lb-ft.
Braked towing weight is 3,000kg.
The basic model comes with air-conditioning, electric windows, 16in alloy wheels, keyless-entry central locking and a fascia-mounted two wheel drive/four wheel drive selector.
The Denver Max adds chrome side steps, soft front A bar, rear step bumper and load liner while the Max LE has 18in chrome alloys, leather seats a mesh grille, DVD sat-nav and a Bluetooth kit.
Fuel economy is 34.9 mpg on the combined cycle.