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Date: 21 Aug 2017 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Matthew Willis
Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Matthew Willis
Late last year General Motors introduced a face-lifted version of the sixth generation Isuzu KB bringing the range to no less than 18 derivatives. The derivative featured in these road impressions is the Isuzu KB 300 4x4 Extended Cab LX 5-speed manual.

The new model can be recognized by it new front fascia design including changes to bonnet, radiator grille and fog lamps, new headlamps with projector lamps, integrated LED day time running lights, new tailgate styling, 4x4 decals on the load box and the press vehicle was fitted with 12-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in 255/60R18 General Grabber rubber.

The load box is constructed with extra thick metal gauge to take on any load, while the front chrome bull-bar, the rear cab protector, rugged, black plastic rear step bumper and black front bumper and valance give it a more rugged look. 

Inside there’s a new instrument cluster design with improved functionality, a gear shift indicator for the manual 5-speed gearbox, and the press vehicle had leather upholstery, and reverse parking sensors. Other features are the 6.5-inch touch screen infotainment system with satellite navigation, internet, WiFi, and smartphone integration.

On the inside the Isuzu Extend Cab is fitted with comfortable bucket seats up front, which fold forwards to get access to the rear. There’s no seat at the rear, but there is a storage box supplied, and one can get a substantial amount of goods back there. The raised ride height makes it difficult for some folk to get into the cab, however the press vehicle was fitted with side-steps making it much easier.

In terms of storage space there are two cubby holes, one above the other, door storage pockets with built-in cup-holders and an oddments tray above the centre dash, and all switches and controls logically positioned and all fall easily to hand.
Other standard features are electric windows, a Bluetooth-enabled sound system for easy phone integration, with radio while you can listen to your own music through the CD player, MP3s and USB devices.

Safety items include driver and passenger airbags, front disc and rear drum brakes, and electronic aids such as ABS, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Traction Control and Brake Assist.

The 3.0-litre DTEQ common rail direct injection turbo-diesel engine as fitted to the Extend cab press vehicle produces 130 kW at 3 600 rpm and 380 Nm of torque from just 1 500 rpm and is linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The “clatter” from engine is fairly noisy at idle and parking speeds, but once on the road, with the aircon on and the windows closed, it quietens down and normal conversation is possible in the cab.

In terms of performance, the 0 to 100 km/h sprint was achieved in 12.5 seconds after two gear changes, which is fair for a 4x4 diesel, and top speed is in the region of 170 km/h.

Combined Cycle fuel consumption is given as 7.9 litres per 100 km, but as per usual I couldn’t match that figure, and the best I got was 9.2 litres per 100 km, but that did include all the testing.

Moving inside the front seats are fully adjustable and with the height adjustable steering wheel, it was easy to find a comfortable driving position. Travelling on the freeway at the 120 km/h limit is effortless with the motor turning at just 2 500 rpm in 5th, and when going up steep hills, the strong torque keeps it on the boil. The ride with no load aboard is firm and rather “bouncy”.

This bounciness and the relative shortage of grip on wet surfaces, means that you need to be cautious on slippery roundabouts, because an excessively heavy right foot will induce a fair amount of rear-end slide. However I’m sure that it will be a lot more comfortable with a full load aboard, with more traction, which the bakkie is actually built for.

Surprisingly the Isuzu does well on twisty roads, with good grip, a bit of tyre squeal in tight turns at highish speeds, but power was good, even for overtaking when you have to drop a gear for extra boost. For those who need to tow, the new Isuzu KB300 LX is capable of towing a trailer of up to 3 500 kg and a payload of up to 1 174 kg.

The Isuzu Extend Cab is a large vehicle, and although the power steering. Is quite heavy, you adjust to that as the 3-spoke leather covered steering wheel requires quite a lot of “twirling” in tight parking spaces, not that the turning radius is excessive. 
Tested on the off-road track, selecting 4-wheel drive was simple to use with the single Terrain Command Dial located centrally on the console between the driver and passenger seats. For really extreme conditions there is a driver activated differential lock.

On the deep sandy tracks the KB had no trouble getting through in 4-high, but at the real 4x4 course, selecting 4x4 low range and 1st gear, I found it quite satisfying as to how easy the Isuzu handled all the obstacles. Also I must make mention that the excellent braking system worked well in all conditions.

The Isuzu Single Cab D-Teq KB300 4x4 LX with the 5-speed manual transmission is priced at R474 400, which includes a 5-year / 120 000 km warranty, a 5 year / 90 000 km service plan, 5-year/ unlimited mileage anti-corrosion warranty, Roadside Assistance for 5 Years or 120 000 km with service intervals every 15 000 km or twelve months.
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