Isuzu's D-Max pick-up range is a firm farming favourite which has just undergone a revamp and a test of what's now in the 'shops' has confirmed that this continues to be a valued work horse vehicle.

While some can come with quite high specification inside and out, unlike some of the other poseurs on the market, it remains firmly aimed at professional users UK.

First up, safety gets a step-change upwards with the fact that all 4 x 4 models in the D-Max range get standard fitment of Trailer Sway Control technology. This uses sensors to detect trailer swing and automatically reduces vehicle speed if need be.

It's quite an intelligent set-up and important as the vast majority in the range have a towing capacity of the maximum 3.5 tonnes (with brakes). For instance, that speed reduction comes about both by reducing engine torque and brake actuation, both without the driver having to do anything and for those following behind, the brake lights shine to warn others.

What sits in the engine bay has also changed. Isuzu has been chopping and changing a bit over the past few years – for much of its formative years in the UK, it swapped between a pretty useful 3.0-litre turbo diesel and then a 2.5-litre TD. But it was found pretty expensive to get these to meet the latest, more stringent emission criteria and now it's a 1.9-litre diesel that uses innovative turbo set-up to deliver its 163bhp and 360Nm of torque.

This has negated the need for AdBlue to meet the Euro 6 emissions regulations and with some careful driving – though it need to be really light-footed – it is possible to average 40mpg in unhurried driving situations. So that rules out many farmers!

To make smaller engine hit the work rate of the outgoing engine – which had the same power output, but more torque – the six-speed manual gearbox has been fiddled with to keep performance on a par. That will work for most operations, but question marks remain over its capability with a loaded trailer behind and you have to work the gears quite a bit to make that happen. A six-speed auto-gearbox is an option, but that's not ideal really for trailer towing and for serious off-road work.

A big plus point of the range, though, is the range of spec' that you can buy into with the D-Max – which remains the only vehicle, outwith trucks, that the brand sells in the UK (remember the legendary Trooper SUV?). For the totally functional, there's the Utility version – complete with a wash-through interior – which then ranges upwards through the Eiger, Yukon, Utah and Blade models which have a pretty set incremental additional of the little luxuries in life.

Isuzu has also lately taken to producing some special edition models – and for that you can read 'more expensive' – and these include the Arctic Truck AT35 which looks to be a beast of a machine.

But, for farming purposes, it's all about what it delivers as a workhorse. Isuzu caters for that by producing single cab and extended cab versions alongside the more favoured double-cabs. There's even a choice of a two-wheel-drive version, which probably won't fit the bill with many rural users, while the 4 x 4 versions all get a low-range to the gearbox.

For pure carrying ability, you can't beat the single cab which has a load bay of a tad more than 2.3m long, by 1.57m wide and that has an official rating of 1282kg (about 100kg less with the 4 x 4), but remember the two-wheel-drive version is only rated to tow a brake trailer up to 2.5 tonnes.

The extended cab models, as you would expect, get a shorter length and are slightly reduced in load space width, while the double cabs get less load space again – both, however have a carrying capacity of well over one tonne, which qualifies them for being VAT refundable for businesses. The stats for the double cab show it has a 1.55m x 1.53m load bay.

There's quite a leap between the bog standard versions and those further up the food chain, with the top of the range Blade getting things like sat-nav and leather seats, better wheels, shiny bits and a premium sound system, etc.

Prices for the D-Max start from around £17,00 for the Utility version, while the middle of the road D-Maxs will come it at around £22,000-£24,000 before VAT. The top of the range Blade, with an auto-box will set you back close to £30,000. However, a big plus point is that Isuzu is backing its engineering with a five-year or 125,000-mile warranty, which is better than a whack of the opposition. It also includes five-years of roadside assistance in the UK and Europe.

On the road, it suffers from the eternal pick-up problem of being a little light on its rear loafers when unladen and handling is much better with a few hundredweight in the back. Isuzu has attempted to soften the rear axle's suspension by replacing the old five-leaf configuration, with three-leaf springs which the company says will be just as strong as they are made out of stronger steel.

When driving it, you are in no doubt this is a work-horse and it can be quite noisy, especially just after start-up, and at constant motorway speeds you'll have to ramp up the sound system to keep listening to The Archers! But, there's quite a useful 'infotainment' system on the better spec'ed models which get a seven-inch or nine-inch touchscreen, depending on the model. The screen offerings are in PRETTY BIG letters, which makes navigating around the system fairly logical and easy.

In short, there's a D-Max out there for every budget and need. But, for sheer brute force, the AT35 is pretty different – instantly recognisable from its 35-inch Nokian Rotiiva AT tyres on 17x10-inch black alloy wheels and some other pretty butch-looking design cues. It will set you back from £38,545, plus VAT!