No, this isn’t a belated April Fools’ Day joke. The Isuzu D-Max Arctic AT35 is indeed coming to South Africa, set to take its position at the very summit of the Japanese firm’s double-cab bakkie range … and seemingly set to beat the Ford Ranger Raptor to market, too.

Expected to be priced from R785 000 (a figure the brand describes as a "dealer target price"), the AT35 is the result of "close technical collaboration" between Isuzu and Iceland-based company, Arctic Trucks.

In South Africa, the D-Max Arctic AT35 will apparently be based on the D-Max 300 LX 4x4 Auto derivative, and commands a R169 500 premium over that model. Indeed, it shares this variant’s 3,0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which sends an unchanged 130 kW and 380 N.m to all four corners via a six-speed automatic transmission.

So, what do you get for the extra outlay? Well, the Arctic AT35 package includes 17-inch black alloy wheels wrapped in 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain Tyres (35 X 12.50 R17 LT) along with a “ResQ” puncture repair kit. Arctic Trucks has also added the customary wide wheel-arch extensions and chunkier side-steps, plus Arctic Trucks mudflaps, an Arctic Trucks chrome badge and a subtle decal set.

The uprated suspension comes courtesy of the folks over at Fox Performance, improving the bakkie's approach angle to 36 degrees, departure angle to 28 degrees and breakover angle to 31,4 degrees. Wading depth, meanwhile rises to 718 mm and ground clearance to 268 mm. It’s not yet clear if any changes have been made inside this special D-Max.

The factory five-year/120 000 km warranty remains in place, as does the five-year/90 000 km service plan (with intervals of 15 000 km).