D-MAX with a Difference

We always knew our D-MAX was a versatile machine, but around the world there are some companies taking that versatility to a whole new level

Words: Dave Harding

Hilltip SnowStriker, Finland

The streets of Jakobstad, on the west coast of Finland, average 145 days of snow cover per year. This makes it a balmy shorts‑and‑t‑shirt sort of place by Scandinavian standards, but that blanketing is more than enough to cause traffic chaos—and inspire local industry. Jakobstad’s main claim to fame, then (along with Nanoq, Finland’s Arctic museum!), is the locally made Hilltip SnowStriker. With two blades, each electro‑hydraulically adjustable from inside the cabin via a remote control, the lightweight, high-strength steel plow will turn your D‑MAX into the king of road clearers. Three variants are offered, weighing from 142–155kg, each with its own headlights and LED positioning lights.

Actually, we think this could come in handy sorting out peak‑hour gridlock in Sydney or Melbourne!

The BRV, United Kingdom

British company Pickup Systems also recognised the strengths of the D‑MAX when developing their 4x4 crew-cab-based Brigade Response Vehicle (BRV). Developed to complement the vehicles already operated by Fire and Rescue services across the UK, the BRV performs as a first-response vehicle that is especially useful for rural environments — predominantly thanks to its four-wheel-drive system and generous ground clearance.

The BRV’s fire-tackling equipment includes a Hale HPX75 B18 single-stage pump with bespoke rear-mounted control panel, a 55m long hose—complete with electric wind-back reel—and a water tank capable of holding up to 310 litres. Fully integrated foam tanks, and side and rear lockers for the storage of tools and emergency equipment, make the converted D‑MAX a complete fire and rescue vehicle.

Arctic Trucks AT35 D‑MAX, Iceland

Iceland’s Arctic Trucks has conquered the world’s harshest environments. They’ve clocked up 250,000 kilometres on the Antarctica plateau, reached the South Pole over 50 times and provided the vehicles for Top Gear’s adventure to the North Pole, on the BBC. Now they’ve put their spin on our trusty D‑MAX in both Norway and the UK.

The new Isuzu D‑MAX Arctic Trucks AT35 has been treated to an upgraded suspension with Fox Performance Series shocks and 35-inch Nokian Rotiiva All-Terrain tyres fitted to 17 x 10-inch wheels. These enhancements jack the ride height by 125mm and improve the approach, departure and break-over angles. Boisterous fender flares add to the muscular stance of what’s described as “the most extreme D‑MAX ever sold” — and one of the toughest vehicles you’ll ever see. Drool.

The Tumbler Element, Singapore

Designed to complement the traditional fire engine, the Tumbler Element D‑MAX is designed to provide rapid response to emergency situations in Singapore’s increasingly dense urban environment. Designed by HOPE Technik, the Tumbler Element is a compact yet power-packed vehicle. Its size, as compared to a fire engine, allows it to be highly manoeuvrable in narrow urban streets.

The layout has been modified for easier entry and egress, and has all-round better equipment storage, including easy access space for two compressed air foam (CAF) backpacks in the rear of the vehicle. The Tumbler Element is the world’s first compact urban firefighting vehicle with a completely integrated CAF pump system. A second model, the Tumbler Element LF5G, also has foam capabilities in the form of an FRC TurboFoam Pump and foam tanks integrated in the front fenders, which helps balance weight and improve space efficiency. Also unique to the Tumbler is an electronic throttle control, which allows for accurate engine-pump pressure control. It’s D‑MAX to the rescue—literally!

Pope-mobile, Phillipines

During his last tour of the Philippines, Pope Francis took the reign of a new The Pope‑mobile, a customised Isuzu D‑MAX. The unique modification took two months to complete and featured the addition of an imported Italian leather throne sporting an approved Vatican emblem.

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