In more than 15 years as this newspaper’s motoring writer I’m ashamed to say I’d never been to the Scottish Off Roading Centre.
It’s located at Glentarkie Farm, in the hills above Strathmiglo.
Thanks to Fife Isuzu in Cupar I’ve now explored what is a fantastic off road centre.
They invited me to a driving day to put the new D-Max pickup truck through its paces.
The latest D-Max is billed as being extremely good on road while remaining every bit as capable as its predecessors when it comes to the mucky stuff.
To that end I took the D-Max for a drive through Strathmiglo and along the M90 before tackling any off roading.
The new D-Max comes in single cab and double cab formats, and in every spec from basic versions perfect for life on the farm to high spec models that can cruise motorways as easily as they can wade through rivers.
My top spec model came with full leather seats, touchcreen infotainment system, and a smooth automatic gearbox.Prices start at just under £33,000 excluding VAT.
The 2.0 litre diesel engine has plenty of low down power. While slightly gruff under acceleration it quietens down once you’re at cruising speed.
The D-Max comes with adaptable cruise control. Once the preserve of high end executive cars, this scans the road ahead, automatically slowing the vehicle down when approaching traffic and speeding back up again once the way is clear.
It’s great for motorway driving as well as stop-start city driving and helps take the stress out of long journeys. It is also one of a very few pickups that weighs less than 2,040kg, meaning it has the same speed limits as a normal car.
Returning to the Scottish Off Road Centre, it was time to hit the dirt.
And dirty it was. Days of rain had turned a challenging off road course into a quaqmire that would test the D-Max to its limits.
High and low range four wheel drive, diff lock, and hill descent control were all brought into play over a fantastic hour of scrambling up and down steep hills and wading through standing water.
There was a bit of slipping and sliding in the deepest mud but the Isuzu handled everything the course could throw at it.
I can’t imagine a farmer or forestry worker who could need the big pickup to do more.