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Review: Taking the very long road in an Isuzu KB 300

2017-06-17 06:00

Sam Ayres

A BAKKIE FOR THE FAMILY: 'The Isuzu KB is more than just a tough bakkie built for work,' claims Wheels24's Janine Van der Post. Image: Clavern Van der Post

Johannesburg - I’ve driven the Isuzu KB a decent amount since the facelifted model was launched in Namibia late 2016, but I have never driven it over any kind of long distance. 

The purpose of my most recent drive was to find out if the KB has what it takes to be a lifestyle bakkie and not just the workhorse vehicle it is always referred as. 

What better way to do this than head to Nature's Valley Reserve from Durban, which is approximately 1120km along the coast.

With a planned return just two days later, I would be spending plenty of time on the road over a very short period. Armed with the KB 300 featuring a 3.0-litre diesel motor, we set off into the sunrise on an early Durban morning.

How did it fair? 

Well, I'm writing this article which means I survived!

In all seriousness though, the KB 300 really impressed me over the long distance. I found driving comfort to be very surprising and I never once felt uncomfortable or found parts of my body to be aching. Being a double cab, space was never going to be an issue - at one stage we had five fully grown men comfortably seated with their respective baggage secured in the rear loading bin with the tarpaulin top for protection. Another tick for the KB 300. 

The KB features a 5-speed manual gearbox and in terms of driving performance this setup provided advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages being fuel economy, on my trip there and back I averaged around 9.5 litres/100km which is not great at all. A sixth gear was definitely needed as I found the car sitting at around 3000 rpm for most of the drive. 

This did provide a slight performance advantage when it came to overtaking and driving up ascents. In it’s 5th gear, the KB had plenty of power on tap with good response and I never really felt the need to drop down to 4th on the open road. 

One of the biggest hacks in the KB range and something one would notice on long distance drive is its infotainment system. The touchscreen features an operating system which could be found on a knock off android phone. It’s difficult to use and definitely looks like an afterthought. 


Overall the Isuzu KB 300 does well as a lifestyle bakkie. It is more than capable of providing good travel comfort for long distances and is a good option for those looking for a slightly cheaper alternative to the usual lifestyle bakkies. Yes the 5-speed gearbox isn’t ideal and this isn't solved in the auto variant either, but apart from that, it really isn’t a bad option at all. 

The KB 300 also looks the part and comes standard with some pretty chunky tyres. For more of a lifestyle experience, the X-Rider variant is now also available, but currently only as a 4 x 2.


Read more on:    isuzu  |  bakkie  |  review

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