Isuzu talks about its D-Max pickup being tough – and here’s the proof.

Touring New Zealand is a two-door D-Max which has clocked up an estimated 1.4 million km of hard work and is still running well.

The blue Isuzu, nicknamed Old Toughy, hails from Thailand where it averaged 800km every day taking farm produce to market.

In New Zealand terms it was heavily overloaded every day of its life. Amazingly Old Toughy is only six years old, a 2004 model.

“We can’t be exact about the distance it’s travelled, the odometer stopped at 999,999,” explains the general manager of Isuzu Ute NZ, Greg MacDonald.

“But we can reliably calculate the time and distance from its first one million kilometres, plus we have the full service history - Old Toughy has been maintained in the normal way by the proud family owners at their local Isuzu D-Max dealer.”

Mr MacDonald says pickups with such a history are common in rural Thailand.

“The remarkable thing is that Old Toughy would still be in use today if the farmer had his way – we had to apply very strong persuasion, plus a new vehicle, to get him to part with his beloved D-Max.

“A new pickup purchased like this is a big deal for a farming family in Thailand and it will remain in service for an extraordinary length of time.

“In this case Old Toughy would be loaded up with produce way beyond what’s seen in New Zealand, usually about 3 to 4 tonnes piled a couple of metres high, then driven 400km to market.

“It’s unloaded and the vehicle drives 400km home again.

“You get the impression of the driver falling into bed while the rest of the family pile it up again for the next day’s trip, and so it goes on.”

Old Toughy still runs perfectly, although the bodywork has dents and scratches. It is not registered for the road in New Zealand as it has to be sent back out of the country shortly, but it starts up and runs just like the new models surrounding it in the showroom.

The Isuzu D-Max is a tough yet stylish workhorse, trusted by Kiwi farmers, tradespeople and weekend warriors. It returned to New Zealand this year, launched at Fieldays in June.

The D-Max is all about toughness. It is renowned for its strength, reliability and build quality, along with fuel efficiency. It has been named Australia’s Ute of the Year 2010 by two separate specialist magazines, and now Old Toughy is here to verify its quality.

Old Toughy is at Winger Isuzu, Greenlane, Auckland for that dealership’s official launch on Saturday November 27.