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Date: 07 Feb 2017 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Donovan Banks
Isuzu has built up a good reputation for manufacturing good bakkies and as I haven’t driven one for more than a year, I was more than pleased when I was offered the new Isuzu KB X Rider Double-Cab for today’s motoring impressions.
The X-Rider follows on the success of previous special edition models such as the Midnite and Serengeti. The X-Rider continues the tradition but at a lower price point, providing added exclusivity and exceptional value for money. The Isuzu KB X Rider adds two new models to the Isuzu light commercial vehicle range, and are very aggressively priced making it more affordable to own a new SUV. The Isuzu KB X-Rider is based on the 250 HO Hi-Rider 4x2 in both extended and double cab body styles.
The new KB Rider is easily identified by a number of visual cues such as stylish black diamond-cut 18-inch alloys, which on the press vehicle were shod with 255/60R18 General Grabber all-terrain tyres, black tubular side steps and a new up-rated tow-bar that can tow a 2.1-tonne braked trailer capacity. 
But it’s a few less obvious features that contribute to this special edition KB as a special kind of workhorse. Externally the X-Rider has a thick roll bar fitted behind the cab, black tubular side steps, a black rear step bumper, black front bumper guard, black mirrors and door handles, wheel caps with the Isuzu branding in red, black sports bar, blacked-out B-pillar, roof mounted antenna, four mud-flaps, X-Rider body decals and the load box has four tie-down brackets.
The X-Rider comes standard with LED daytime running lights and remote keyless entry, electric windows, leather seats, with the X-Rider logo embroidered on the front headrests, a leather-trimmed 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel with red stitching and Isuzu badge in its centre.
Further enhancements are red stitching on the gearlever gaiter, steering wheel and the seats, piano black inserts on the doors with a bold red ‘X’ motif, plus the same high-gloss finish used to highlight air conditioning vents, the sound system, and the gearshift console.
The Isuzu X-Rider double cab seats five adults very comfortably, but the raised ride height makes it difficult for some folk, especially women wearing short dresses, to climb in and out the cab.
Storage space is pretty generous - there’s two cubby holes, one above the other, door storage pockets with built-in cup-holders and an oddments tray above the centre dash. The dashboard and gauges are easy to read, and all switches and controls logically positioned and fall easily to hand.
Safety items include driver and passenger airbags, front disc and rear drum brakes, ABS and EBD, and Brake Assist.
Under the bonnet is the 2 499 cc 4-cylinder common rail direct injection turbodiesel motor that develops 100 kW at 3 600 rpm and 320 Nm of torque from 1 800 rpm, and drives the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The engine is quiet noisy at idle and parking speeds, but once on the road, with the air-conditioner on and the windows closed, it quietens and normal conversation is possible in the cab. In acceleration tests the 0 to 100 km/h sprint was achieved in 13.5 seconds after two gear changes, which is fair for a diesel and top speed is in the region of 170 km/h.
Travelling on the freeway at the 120 km/h limit the motor spins at just 2 500 rpm in 5th, and when going up hills, the strong torque keeps it on the boil. The ride, with no load aboard, is firm and quite bouncy. This bounciness and the relative shortage of grip means that you need to be cautious on slippery roundabouts, because an excessively heavy right foot will induce a bit of rear-end slide. However, I’m sure it will be a lot more comfortable with a full load on board, which the bakkie is actually built for.
Surprisingly the Isuzu does very well on twisty roads, with good grip, a bit of tyre squeal in tight turns at higher speeds, but power was adequate, even for overtaking if you drop a gear for extra boost.
The Isuzu X-Rider is offered in a trio of classy colours -- Summit White, Switchblade Silver or Maranello Red. The Isuzu KB 250 HO X-Rider Double Cab is priced at R366 380 which includes a fully-comprehensive 5-year/ 120 000 km warranty and roadside assistance program, a 5-year/ unlimited mileage anti-corrosion warranty and a 5-year/ 90 000 km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000 km or twelve months for all derivatives.
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