- Jan 2016

Isuzu KB300 DTEQ LX: It’s Bakkie time Boet

We drive Isuzu South Africa’s KB300 DTEQ LX

Some countries refer to it as a “pickup”, “truck” or a “ute” but here in sunny South Africa, we call it a bakkie. This type of vehicle has been the back bone of many industries, servicing the needs of many businesses. Over time though, the bakkie has gone from being just a bouncy commercial vehicle with the bare necessities, to a fully fledged road car with softer suspension, leather seats and smart infotainment systems. One such bakkie is the current Isuzu KB Series. With humble beginnings and basic looks, this pickup has grown to be a good looking and diverse vehicle which easily transitions between being a workhorse and a road car.

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Work and play:

The Isuzu KB comes in three different cab configurations, a single cab, extended cab and of course the family friendly double cab. We had the pleasure of testing the extended cab KB300 D-TEQ LX 4×4. The intelligent drivetrain fitted in the 4×4 allows for the driver to engage the front axle through a dial when a more challenging terrain presents itself. This is especially useful for buyers who need a car that can go off-road on a whim and with a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, the Isuzu KB is also capable of heavy duty work.

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Although softer on the eyes, the Isuzu KB is no lightweight. Traditional bakkie drivers have always preferred larger displacement, so the KB300’s 3.0 litre which develops 130 kW/ 380 Nm produces enough grunt to keep all the “boets” happy. Mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox, torque is readily available. A KB250 is also available with a smaller 2.5 litre engine (100 kW/320 Nm) for those not needing the extra oomph.

Does it drive like a car or a bakkie?

No matter how hard manufacturers try and make their pickups’ more car-like, a bakkie will always drive like a bakkie. This is especially the case when there is no load at the rear, the car will always have a bounce to it. That being said, the levels of refinement in these cars have reached a happy medium between a pair of blue overalls and a business suit. To say that the Isuzu KB300 is not comfortable would be a lie, it drives very well and we personally loved the sheer height of it on the road. For a shorter person, the step bar proved very useful upon climbing into the cabin and the “suicide doors” in the extended cab made it easy to load and unload tools/groceries/animals into the back.

The large load box in the extended cab is also ideal for a multitude of applications. Whether you’re lugging concrete or moving house, there is ample space all the time. Of course to keep your load box scuff free, a good rubberising would be advised.

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 Verdict:

The extended cab Isuzu KB300 D-TEQ is a very capable vehicle that falls smack bam in the middle of those not looking for a double cab but need an extra bit of space. At the same time, Isuzu have not sacrificed creature comforts in the car, making it more of an all rounder. Those creature comforts will cost you R451 800 though, but some may reason that for a “best of both worlds” car, it’s not too badly priced. So for those with an active lifestyle and a need for a work bakkie, the KB300 extended cab is a good choice in its segment.

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