Enhanced Isuzu KB (2015) First Drive

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Isuzu has been a part of the South African bakkie community since 1971 and we were at hand to see what the latest enhanced KB has to offer.

Isuzu has a strong heritage in South Africa and since its introduction in 1971, more than 570 000 Isuzu KB models have found homes across the country. The sixth generation Isuzu KB was launched back in 2013 and Isuzu has now introduced a number of improvements across the KB model range in an effort to not only broaden the vehicle’s appeal, but also to build on sales and attract new customers to the brand. Isuzu introduced the enhanced KB to local and international media at General Motors Headquarters in Johannesburg and we were in attendance to find out more.

What’s Changed?

Firstly, the KB range has now grown from 15 derivatives to 18 with three new models on offer including the new flagship KB300 LX 4x4 Double Cab with a 5-speed automatic transmission as well as the KB250 Fleetside Extended Cab and KB250 Fleetside Double Cab, which are fitted with a new uprated 2.5-litre DTEQ turbodiesel engine that now offers 100 kW and 320 Nm of torque. Also, Isuzu has introduced Electronic Stability Control (ESC) across 90% of the KB range, including LX, LE and the new Fleetside models.

For the range-topping KB300 LX Double Cab and Extended Cab variants, a number of features have been introduced to increase comfort and convenience. These features include a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system which incorporates satellite navigation, internet, WiFi, DVD, smartphone integration and rear park assist camera. KB300 LX derivatives also benefit from passive entry with a Start/Stop ignition button as standard. Buyers can also choose leather upholstery as an option. On the styling front, the KB300 LX has been visually enhanced with LED Daytime Running Lights while the taillight clusters now feature LED technology. 17-inch wheels are fitted as standard on the KB300 LX models but 18-inch wheels can be had as an option.

For the new KB250 Fleetside Double Cab and Extended Cab, features such as a CD Radio with Bluetooth and 16-inch wheels are fitted as standard. With the increase in torque, payload for the single cab Fleetside model has also increased to 1 221 kg. Cruise Control has also been added to LE specification vehicles and the interior look and feel for LX single and Extended Cab models and all LE models have been improved with upgraded fabric upholstery.

What’s It Like to Drive?

Our destination was Haywards Safari Camp situated near Cullinan in the Bobbejaansberg Private Nature Reserve and the total launch route covered over 300 km. Our first stint was behind the wheel of the new KB250 LE 4x4 Double Cab and with gains in power and torque over the previous 85kW/280Nm 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine, the uprated engine certainly had more shove with an additional 15 kW and 40 Nm of torque delivered through a 5-speed manual gearbox. According to Isuzu, this uprated engine shaves 2.6 seconds off in the 0-100kph haul and is as much as 6.3 seconds faster when accelarating between 40 and 120kph when compared to the previous engine.

Despite this, acceleration in the KB250 LE felt flat at times, but it performed admirably overall. We did take the KB250 LE over some treacherous terrain and althouth the vehicle’s ride and handling was decent on smoother road surfaces, the ride became quite bouncy and wafty when road quality deteriorated considerably. Where most vehicles would have fallen apart, the KB250 remained determined to overcome the challenge, and it did. The uprated engine is more efficient too and Isuzu claims between 7.7 and 7.9L/100km depending on the model you choose.

We also had a chance to sample the flagship KB300 LX Automatic Double Cab fitted with a 3.0-litre turbodiesel with 130 kW and 380 Nm of torque on tap. Being a heavier vehicle, this model was more composed over rough terrain and it managed to iron out bumps far more easily. Performance wise, it performed well and the 5-speed automatic transmission felt smooth and responsive to throttle inputs. Power is delivered in a composed manner and as such, the KB300 LX masks its power well by not being overtly bullish. It’s comfortable and relaxing to drive on the road thanks to the automatic transmission and it copes well in the tough stuff too. In terms of fuel consumption, Isuzu claims between 7.7 and 7.8L/100km for the 4x2 KB300 LX and 7.9L/100km for the KB300 LX 4x4 automatic and 5-speed manual derivatives.

On our second day with the Isuzu KB, we set off to do some 4x4 obstacles at the nearby Sandwani 4x4 course. Isuzu KB 4x4 models are fitted with a rotary dial where the driver can easily select drive modes such as 2H, 4H and 4L depending on the terrain being tackled. The Isuzu KB proved its worthiness as a tough and capable 4x4 vehicle as it dominated all the obstacles with ease. After playing on the 4x4 course, Isuzu 4x4 experts demonstrated the capabilities of the newly fitted Electronic Stability Control, which highlighted the importance of the system in improving safety across the KB range.

We will have the enhanced Isuzu KB on test soon to give it a thorough evaluation, but for now, take a look at the pricing structure for the enhanced Isuzu KB below.

Isuzu KB Price in South Africa

Single Cab          

KB 250 Leed 4x2 - R219 400

KB 250 Leed F/S 4x2 - R241 500

KB 250 D-TEQ F/S 4x2 - R270 600

KB 250 D-TEQ LE 4x2 - R307 600

KB 250 D-TEQ LE 4x4 - R357 400

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x2 - R355 700

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x4 - R410 000                 

Extended Cab   

KB 250 D-TEQ F/S 4x2 - R317 000

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x2 - R394 200

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x4 - R451 800

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x2 Auto - R407 500                      

Double Cab       

KB 250 D-TEQ F/S 4x2 - R325 700

KB 250 D-TEQ LE 4x2 - R406 200

KB 250 D-TEQ LE 4x4 - R429 100

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x2 - R463 700

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x2 Auto - R474 900

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x4 - R523 600

KB 300 D-TEQ LX 4x4 Auto - R529 700

All models come with Isuzu Complete Care which includes a new 5-year/120 000km warranty, a 5-year/ unlimited mileage anti-corrosion warranty, Roadside Assistance for 5-years /120 000km and a 5-year/ 90 000 km service plan. Service intervals are set at 15 000 km or twelve months for all derivatives.