Isuzu's nation-building KB in SA

2013-03-14 06:32

Isuzu can trace its heritage back to 1972 with the launch of its first one-tonner albeit badged as a Chevrolet LUV. Local production began in Port Elizabeth in 1972 and in 1977 the automaker’s first diesel model made its debut.
In 1979 the range was expanded to include the brand’s 4x4 variants which coincided with the adoption of Isuzu KB branding. The first model change for KB took place in 1989 (third generation) and a fourth generation was introduced in 1997.


The outgoing fifth generation (launched in 2004) and facelifted version (2007) paved the way for the automaker’s sixth generation one-ton bakkie in March 2013.

The new KB is 260mm longer, 60mm wider and 60mm taller than the model it replaces. In South Africa Isuzu launches 26 versions of its KB with three engine options (2.4 petrol, 2.5 and 3.0 diesel) and two transmissions (five speed manual and a new auto) inailable in 4x2 or 4x4 variants with four specification levels; Base, Fleetside (High Ride configuration), LE, and LX.

Prices start at R218 900 for a basic petrol model to R464 400 for the highest-specced double cab.


The new four-cyclinder 2.4 petrol (available on the Base, Fleetside, and LE) produces 112kW at  5200rpm and 233Nm at 4000rpm. Fuel consumption is rated at 10.4 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 245g/km (for 4x2 models).

The 2.5 low-pressure turbodiesel (base and Fleetside), carried over from the previous range, is  capable of 58kW/170Nm. Isuzu says, “This is an ideal choice for workhorse operations.”

This is an easy-to-maintain, low-stressed diesel engine design that lends itself to high-kilometres fleet operations. A key to this engine’s longevity is its use of replaceable cylinder liners and low overall cost of maintenance.

Image gallery

Another engine carried over from the outgoing model is the 2.5 D-TEQ (base, Fleetside, and LE). The engine produces 85kW at 3600rpm/280Nm (from 1800rpm). Fuel consumption is listed as 7.7 litres /100km with CO2 emissions of 203g/km. Low-sulphur diesel (50ppm) is recommended.

The flagship 3.0 D-TEQ (LX specification) has been upgraded for 2013 to 130kW (up by 10kW) and 380Nm (up by 20Nm). The uprated variable geometry Tturbocharger, reduced engine internal friction and optimised fuel-injection and a new large intercooler provide for the increased overall performance and improved fuel economy. The benefits are fewer shifts, easier hill-climbing and off-road driveability.

A new five-speed auto is available.

I managed to put the new KB through its paces at the Thornybush Game Lodge near Hoedspruit in Limpopo. The guys at Isuzu are well versed in 4x4 training and set up an off-road course for us to test its mettle. In short, the KB lived up to its reputation - and then some.

The ride was great, while not exactly class-leading, in the bush. It’s still a very competent off-roader in 4x4 guise. The bakkie is able to absorb large bumps and undulations and grips well through corners. On the tar there’s still some minor rattles from the previous generation but overall, despite being more at home in the bush, the truck is comfortable driving through cities and urban areas.

The on-the-fly mode selector worked well though the flashing warning when the diff-lock disengages can be confusing to the uninitiated.


The all-new Isuzu KB Extended Cab models offer increased interior space via its Flex Doors. The rear-opening extra doors have an interlock that prevents them from being opened unless the front door is opened first.

Interior space is greater than the previous model with the seat back to rear trim panel measurement increased from 425mm to 440mm.

Single-cab units' load bed is longer by 35mm to 2305mm, wider by 40mm to 1570mm but 10mm lower. The Extended Cab has the same internal length as the previous model (1795mm) but is 70mm wider (1530mm). Load box height is 15mm less with a depth of 465mm.

On the Double Cab variants, the load box is 135mm longer (1550mm) and 105mm longer at the top (1485mm. Internal width is up by 70mm to 1530mm and as with Extended Cab, load box height is down by 15mm.

The load bay is kitted with four tie-down brackets and 10 rope hooks along the side.

The lowest payload is the KB 250 D-TEQ Double Cab 4X2 which is rated at 962kg while the LX 300 4x2 Double Cab has a payload of 1133 kg, well ahead of its opposition.

The KB 240 has a towing capacity of 2100 kg and payload of 1146kg.

Standard kit includes mudflaps, split front seat, tinted windows and optional radio fitment.

The Fleetside adds High Ride configuration, engine sump guard, front airbags, manual air con, Floor tunnel console with cup holder. The Fleetside has 6.5J X 16 wheels with 205 R16C tyres. The model may be minimalist in its features but as its name suggest it’s destined for factory floors and farms across South Africa.

The Fleetside safety specification (KB 250 D-TEQ) adds ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist.

Owners of the LE models can add body colour bumpers and radiator grille and side mirrors with turn indicators. LE models benefit from central locking, door unlock button, auto door locking (at speeds over 20 km/h), power windows and side mirrors and Radio/CD player with MP3, USB and Aux connectivity.

Other creature comforts on the LE include cloth trim on its bucket seats, carpets, air con, height adjustable driver’s seat and side steps (double cab).

The ‘LE’ has 7J X 16 alloy wheels fitted with 245/70 R16C tyres.

The top of the range LX specification includes; projector headlights, LED rear lights, chromed grille, door handles and side mirrors.

The interior benefits from a leather steering wheel with satellite controls and cloth trim.LX models have cruise control, park distance control, Climate control (Extended Cab and Double Cab) as well as front and curtain airbags (Double Cab)
LX models are fitted with 7J X 17 alloys and 255/65 R17 AT tyres.


Apart from the Spartan feel of the Base models the higher specced LX and LE have great interiors…for a bakkie that is. The interior has more than a passing resemblance to Chevrolet’s products as KB was developed in conjunction with Chevrolet Trailblazer. You get the sense that Isuzu wants to tap into the lifestyle market with its upgraded trim, dials and centre console, it’s a vast improvement though not quite  as executive cab as that of the Volkswagen Amarok or Ford Ranger.

Isuzu owners are much like their bakkies; they’re tough, hardworking and doggedly loyal. A family friend of mine owns a fifth generation Isuzu bakkie. He uses his bakkie as his workhorse for his business in  Paarl but also as his daily driver…his venerable bakkie was even used to kart around his kids for their Matric ball.

He swears by his Isuzu bakkie (currently over 300 000km on the odometre) refusing to replace his aging bakkie even to the extent where he would eschew upgrading to the sixth generation: “Why should I buy a new bakkie? In all the years I’ve had it nothing ever broke. It works well and that’s the point.”


The new bakkie looks good, is incredibly capable off-road and fulfill the role of utilitarian workhorse with aplomb.

What about its rivals?

The Isuzu faces the SA bakkie sales-dominating Toyota Hilux, Amarok and Ford’s hit Ranger. Judging by our Reader’s Car of the Year poll, the Ranger was the clear favourite amongst new bakkies and new models launched in 2012. The KB may not trump the Ranger in terms of looks but it does have a higher towing capacity and depending on the spec works out to be cheaper.

It’s clear the Isuzu has its work cut out for it as the sixth-generation spear heads General Motors SA exports in Sub-Saharan Africa. You can’t argue with its built-tough off-road prowess but I don’t think the Isuzu has managed to fit into the lifestyle vehicle segment as easily as the Ranger or Mazda’s BT-50. The new Isuzu carries on its rugged nation-building reputation with a model that big, bold and ready to be put to work.



Single Cab
Isuzu KB 250 D-Teq - R229 300
Isuzu KB 250 Fleetside D-Teq - R242 700
Isuzu KB 250 Fleetside D-Teq (Safety) - R244 900   
Isuzu KB 250 LE 4x4 - R315 700
Isuzu KB 250 LE - R274 800
Isuzu KB 300 LX - R311 700
Isuzu KB 300 LX 4x4 - R362 300

Extended Cab
Isuzu KB 250 E/Cab LE - R290 700
Isuzu KB 300 E/Cab LX - R359 400
Isuzu KB 300 E/Cab LX 4x4 - R412 300

Double Cab
Isuzu KB 250 Double Cab LE - R363 200
Isuzu KB 250 Double Cab LE 4x4 - R384 100
Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab LX - R410 400
Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab LX auto - R423 400
Isuzu KB 300 Double Cab LX 4x4 -  R464 400


Single Cab
Isuzu KB 240 Base -  R218 900
Isuzu KB 240 Fleetside - R233 700
Isuzu KB 240 Fleetside 4x4 - R258 500
Isuzu KB 240 LE - R253 200

Double Cab
Isuzu KB 240 Double Cab LE - R309 100
Isuzu KB 240 Double Cab LE 4x4 - R380,200

The new Isuzu KB is covered by a five year or 120 000km warranty with roadside assistance. Purchase includes a five year or 90 000km service (not standard on base models) with intervals at 12 months or 15 000km




  • Graeme Stockwell - 2013-03-14 08:14

    R50'000 to go from single cab to extended cab on the LX300 4x4 but only R15'000 on the 250LE diesel, Single cab 300LX diesel to double cab R102'100 but petrol 240LE only R 55'900 Isuzu please justify that! You are just milking the leisure bakkie oaks

  • Lourens En Chrisna Kruger - 2013-03-14 08:25

    Very nice, although I ride the previous generation Ranger 3.0 I really like Isuzu and couple of my friends had them and you would not think that 2.5 engine is only 85 kw and it kicks mine's backside when it comes to consumption by miles.

  • erhard.taljaard - 2013-03-14 09:07

    another hilux clone ?

      Simini Dlamini - 2013-05-24 21:44

      The "new" design is not so new after all. Look at the Ford Ranger IV front and the 2005 Toyota with some Triton?? What about the Trailblazer interior? Was that the best they could do from a design point of view? Does GM have a designer at all or is it nothing but a bunch of clones (clowns)? I expected a fresh design. Something new, different and uniquely Isuzu. Is GM begging South Africans not to buy their copied cars? In my opinion, the overall package is a big flop. GM, go do your homework.

  • riotousr - 2013-03-14 09:13

    Just 380nm from a 3000cc. My Renault hatch gives me 300nm from a 1900cc. Someone got a B- from the engineering practical. Surely, Opel and Isuzu (GM) can do better than that. I can be converted to a workhorse if they wring an additional torgue of 70nm out of that 3l engine.

      erik.p.vanwyk - 2013-03-14 10:23

      Try hauling 500kg plus every day with your renault and you will know why but then again renaults dont last even without towing anything.

      Lourens En Chrisna Kruger - 2013-03-14 11:16

      @Riotous, I recommend a F- to you and also your Renault.

      Thando Gqabaza - 2013-03-14 11:34

      Your Renault gives you 300Nm when it works ...

      ltjvrensburg - 2013-03-15 10:39

      Haha nice one Erik

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-03-18 16:25

      Pft, my Jeep 2,8 CRD gives me 460 nm torque with a 3500kg towing power! Put that in your pipes and smoke it! ;-)

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-18 17:07

      Johan, try selling your jeep or get spare parts for it, you will get a big nasty surprise buddy

  • Daryl Jackson - 2013-03-14 09:23

    looks like a ssangyong!!!!!!!! To me i think the new ranger is the nicest and the best looking of the all

  • Henk Grundlingh - 2013-03-14 11:38

    Ranger 3.2 d/c rules the road

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-18 17:09

      No boet, the ranger 2.2 is way better. Don't just look at the 147kw vs the 110kw, check the power to weight ratio as well

  • derick.lubbe.7 - 2013-03-14 11:39


  • Joshua van Vuren - 2013-03-14 12:56

    Its ugly!

      riotousr - 2013-03-14 14:55

      It does not look ugly to me. It probably does getting used to. I am not a designer but I can spot features that have been carried over from the model it replaces. I can spot a Mistubishi Triton where the rear doors join pay-load area.

  • Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-14 21:12

    Looks like the a bigger chev ute, meaning ugly to say the least, inside not better with cheap Chrysler lookalike dail, come really GM, is the crap you want sell to us saffas? And the power is pathetic, need at least 140 kw plus with a 8 speed gearbox and not a parts bin 5 speed, amarok with the 8 speed is slighty less expensive. EPIC FAIL!!!!! Nee wat, 8 speed amarok it is, don't know why I even bothered waiting for this crap

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-17 18:50

      Some people still believe nothing beats displacement....

      Mark Wilson - 2013-03-18 11:13

      The reason the Amarok needs 8 gears is that it's torque band is only 500 rpm, Rather crap

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-18 17:11

      Mark, maximum yes, but take the average over the same revs as a hilux then you will see the amarok still beats it, don't believe the biased car magazines' testers, do your own little bit of thinking

  • Jacques Shepperson - 2013-03-14 21:43

    new large intercooler provide for the increased overall performance and improved fuel economy??? How does a intercooler improve fuel economy?

      Paul Burger - 2013-03-17 01:35

      Easy , it reduces the entropy of the fuel air mixture thus concluding that you can extract more power from less fuel.

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-17 18:49

      Paul, let's explain to him in simple words. Cool air = denser air, thus more air pushed by turbo into engine, thus more power....

  • Paul Nicolas - 2013-03-15 08:20

    Ford Ranger all day long, im afraid!

      Ben Nel - 2013-03-15 09:12

      does it scare you?

  • De Villiers Olivier - 2013-03-15 16:21

    Te duur in vergelyking met Ford Ranger. 'n 2.5D Dubbelkajuit vir R363 000!!! Ford se Dubbelkajuite begin by R289 000.

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-18 17:14

      Jip, and the same power, at least the ranger is way better than this oversize ute

  • Andrew Grieve - 2013-03-19 10:04

    How many of you have actually driven it or even seen it in the flesh? Lots of comments from the peanut gallery with just a spot of bias? See it and drive it first - then comment.

      Tieno Bloubul - 2013-03-19 16:42

      Die rubbish kom nie naby n ranger of n amarok nie tjom. Kyk hoe cheap lyk die binnekant, nie eers n sanyong kan leliker lyk nie, tipies van n amerikaanse maatskapy om cheap op ons te gaan. Die gemors het nie eers iets soos traction of stability control nie, iets wat noodsaaklik is in vandag se dae, en wat aandui die bakkie het saam met die tye aangestap. Epic failure

  • Simini Dlamini - 2013-05-24 21:44

    The "new" design is not so new after all. Look at the Ford Ranger IV front and the 2005 Toyota with some Triton?? What about the Trailblazer interior? Was that the best they could do from a design point of view? Does GM have a designer at all or is it nothing but a bunch of clones (clowns)? I expected a fresh design. Something new, different and uniquely Isuzu. Is GM begging South Africans not to buy their copied cars? In my opinion, the overall package is a big flop. GM, go do your homework.

  • Alexander Panzek - 2014-12-19 23:00

    I like the new model and bought one new KB 250 Fleetside, never even test drive the Ford Ranger, service is bad and in the long run this bakkie isn't as reliable and long lasting as the Isuzu, the 'good look' as so many think matters most doesn't add up, for me its good service, long lasting, low consumption and low maintenance. The Isuzu beats them all.

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