Isuzu KB 300 D-Teq LX 4×4 Extended cab – Tough as a truck

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I was keen to drive the new range of Isuzu KB bakkies. In the past we owned one of the older KB double cabs and used it for everything from towing a horsebox to lengthy cross border road trips. The Isuzu brand has been a favourite in SA since the early seventies, building a reputation for toughness and reliability in a highly competitive segment of the market.

First up is the KB300 extended cab in LX 4×4 guise. The new Isuzu is a handsome truck, with a bold chrome front grille, and a squared off rear framed with large tail lights. Isuzu did extensive wind tunnel testing when they designed the latest generation KB bakkies and the new shape is aerodynamic and looks the part. The LX is shod with 255/65 17” tyres mounted on attractive alloy rims and features a chrome roll bar and rear bumper, with full length side steps.

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The cab is spacious, with easy access through the “suicide” FlexDoors to the area behind the front seats. Much of the space behind the driver is taken up by a large, lockable black plastic security box, where you can stash valuables out of sight from prying eyes. There is still enough space behind the passenger seat to store a toolbox or cooler box, for example, but the extended cab bakkie is a definite two seater – you might be able to take your poodle on a road trip in comfort but your beloved Rottweiler will be travelling in the back!

Driver and passenger comfort is top class. The bucket style seats are covered in dark, quality fabric and hug the body reassuringly. There is plenty of leg room and the controls fall easily to hand. The multi-function leather covered steering wheel is height adjustable and I found it easy to attain my ideal driving position. Storage nooks and cup holders abound, air con and cruise control are standard and I was happy to find a foot rest, a must have on a long journey. PDC {Park Distance Control} is also standard, a useful feature as the KB extended cab is over 5 metres long, although the big, electrically adjustable side mirrors do assist with ease of visibility when parking.

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The 3.0l 4 cylinder turbo charged diesel engine in the Isuzu is a great motor. With [email protected] 600 revs and torque of [email protected] – 2800, there is plenty of grunt for both work and leisure, and the power plant is surprisingly quiet. The five speed manual box in our test model is well matched to the motor, although I found the gear shift throw rather long, making quick, smooth shifting difficult.

The KB300 is a cinch to drive in town and at highway speeds. The Isuzu cruises effortlessly in fifth gear and is capable of towing up to 3500 kg safely – ideal for outdoor enthusiasts with large boat trailers, horseboxes or caravans. You can load up to 1180 kg in the spacious loadbox of this bakkie, and I found the ride quite stiff when un-laden, although not uncomfortable – more a reminder that despite the car-like interior, the Isuzu is in fact a very capable workhorse. Cabin interior noise levels are excellent.

The KB300 handles gravel roads with ease, and its off-road abilities are right up there with a ground clearance of 220mm, an approach angle of 30 degrees and a departure angle of 22.7 degrees. The choice of 2WD or 4WD high and low is selected by means of Isuzu’s Terrain Command Dial, mounted between the seats. You can shift on the fly at speeds of up to 100kph. Diff lock is also standard.

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I couldn’t quite get to the claimed consumption figure of 7,9l/100km for the urban cycle, but an average of 8,3 wasn’t bad, considering the bulk of my driving in this car was short trips in a fair amount of traffic.

Safety features are amongst the best in class, with ABS, EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), BAS (Brake Assist System), driver and passenger airbags, side impact bars and ESC (Electronic Stability Control). This last feature was specifically developed to work with the local suspension setup.

Overall, the Isuzu KB300 in extended cab LX 4×4 spec is an impressive competitor in this market. It’s a great alternative to an SUV if you need a daily workhorse that can perform admirably as a leisure vehicle and off-road adventurer on weekends. Prices for this derivative start from R474,400.00, and the KB300 comes with Isuzu’s Complete Care Package: 5 year/120,000km warranty and Roadside Assistance, and a 5 year/90,000km service plan.

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