By: IOL Motoring Staff

Banbury, Oxfordshire - Arctic Trucks, famous for building the world's toughest and most mud-and-snow-capable bakkies, has teamed up with Isuzu UK to create the D-Max AT35, the first Arctic Trucks conversion to be made available in the UK direct from dealers.

It's based on the D-Max one-tonner - the equivalent of the South African-built KB series - with a 2.5-litre common-rail turbodiesel rated at 120kW and 400Nm, and it'll be available to order in either extended-cab format with six-speed manual 'box, starting from £30 999 (R585 000) or double cab with a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed auto transmission, priced from from £33 499 (R630 000)

Standard across the range, however, is all-wheel drive with low range; you can switch 'on the fly' from two to all-wheel drive at up to 100km/h, but the AT35 has to be standing still with the transmission in neutral to engage low range - at which point, given the AT35's gynormous footprint, it can crawl up and over almost anything.

That footprint is built around humungous 35 inch Nokian Rotiiva all-terrain tyres on 17 inch 10J alloy rims, running inside the dramatic add-on body colour wheel-arch flares that make Arctic Trucks conversions unmistakable.

The factory dampers are replaced by Fox Performance Series shocks, 55mm longer than standard. Together with the oversized tyres, they give the Isuzu AT35 a towering extra 125mm of ground clearance, as well as six degrees' extra approach angle, and an added 10 degrees' ramp angle flexibility.

Also standard is on-board tyre inflation and deflation, for really mushy conditions - in fact, Arctic trucks says its huge footprint will enable the AT35, with the tyres suitably deflated, to 'float' across thick mud and light snow slush.

No need to rough it in the rough

Trim upgrades include trailer hitches front and rear, extended side steps (you'll need 'em) projector headlights, a body-coloured front bumper, chromed door handles, grille and rear bumper, LED tail-lights and a load-box liner.

But there's no need to rough it in the rough; the Isuzu AT35 comes with a premium six-speaker audio package, plus iPod/USB/Bluetooth connectivity, heated and folding door mirrors and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with satellite audio and cruise controls.

The double-cab version even comes with full leather trim and auto aircon, operated by a single rotary switch on the centre stack, rear parking sensors and roof bars.

Sadly, the Isuzu AT35 will not be offered in South Africa because SA market Isuzu KB bakkies are in fact made here, so the only way to do it would be to send fully-assembled KB250s to Arctic Trucks UK in Banbury, Oxfordshire for conversion and then re-import them into South Africa, which would be prohibitively expensive.

Nevertheless, an AT35 would certainly stomp all over the Okavango Delta, even in the rainy season, wouldn't it?

Motoring.co.za

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