If you need a workhorse…
This is a slightly upgraded Isuzu KB. While it’s not an extensive improvement, we’re certain that it’s the result of the fact that the rest of the playing field has fresh metal planned for imminent launch (a refreshed Ford Ranger was recently launched with the much-anticipated new Toyota Hilux on its way and some Japanese bakkies coming soon, too).
The most significant change is the upgraded engine. The 2,5-litre diesel that lies under the bonnet now delivers 100 kW of power and 320 N.m of torque at 1 800 r/min. Power is sent to all four wheels via a five-speed manual ‘box. The Isuzu KB takes a while to get up to speed and you really have to depress the throttle and play around with the gears to get the bakkie going, but this is to be expected of this workhorse. It’s a solid powertrain set-up that I can’t really fault. This unit is claimed to consume 7,9 litres/100 km of fuel.
I’m not going to delve much into the KB’s dynamics because, well, it’s not built to impress dynamically, is it? What I will highlight, however, is that while I didn’t test the off-road capabilities of the KB, we did venture a little off the beaten track and tackled some gravel pathways. The KB proved capable thanks to a compliant suspension and 224 mm of ground clearance.
Other notable changes include new upholstery on the seats and cruise control as standard. Also standard on this model are nice-to-have items such as steering wheel mounted audio controls, USB and auxiliary connectivity as well as Bluetooth functionality. Safety items include two airbags, ESP, ABS with EBD and brake assist.
This KB isn’t luxurious, so if you’re looking for a striking bakkie with all the creature comforts of a modern SUV, then perhaps this isn’t the one for you. If however, you need a solid bakkie to do some dirty work and take you off-road with ease (you can switch between 4H and 4L and there’s also a rear diff-lock), then this should definitely be on your shortlist.
WORDS: KELLY LODEWYKS
Read our launch review here