Just yesterday, at its Joburg motor show press conference, a GMSA spokesperson hinted at the next Isuzu KB bakkie range. Although no details or pictures were supplied, we did find out that the new bakkie range would be built in South Africa for local consumption and export to sub-Saharan Africa and that a wide range of models will be offered.
Less than a day later, we've come across the first official pictures and information on this all new KB, which has just been unveiled in Thailand. Ignore that silly 'D-Max' name on the number plates - that's what they call it in that part of the world. GMSA has since confirmed that the new bakkie will be launched in South Africa during the first half of 2013.
The new Isuzu is based on the recently unveiled Chevrolet Colorado bakkie, but has unique front and rear styling and some interior modifications. This new KB looks decidedly tougher and more modern than the current one - something it needs to compete with rivals like the Amarok, Hilux and new Ranger in the hotly contested bakkie market.
While local specifications are still far from being confirmed, the engine range will likely mirror the Thai model, which offers the choice of three turbodiesel engines. These include two 2.5-litre units with output levels of 87kW/280Nm and 101kW/320Nm and a 3-litre that's good for 132kW/380Nm. A five-speed manual gearbox will be fitted to most models, with some offering a five-speed automatic in place of today's outdated four-speed unit.
The new range offers the usual choice between single cab, extended cab and double cab bodies and 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains. Isuzu also claims that the body is 42 percent stiffer than before. This Isuzu also features car-like active safety features like traction control.
Choosing a new bakkie is going to be harder than ever. Which one do you have your eyes on?