KB double cab has good rough-terrain credentials with all-wheel drive and a differential lock.   Picture: Neville Beeton
KB double cab has good rough-terrain credentials with all-wheel drive and a differential lock. Picture: Neville Beeton
Good ground clearance of 220mm combines with fair approach and departure angles. Picture: Neville Beeton
Good ground clearance of 220mm combines with fair approach and departure angles. Picture: Neville Beeton
Isuzu says the KB 300 D-Teq 4x4 double-cab LX is essentially an SUV with a load bed. Picture: Neville Beeton
Isuzu says the KB 300 D-Teq 4x4 double-cab LX is essentially an SUV with a load bed. Picture: Neville Beeton

ROAD TEST:

Isuzu KB 300 D-Teq 4x4 double-cab LX

Johannesburg - The line between workhorse bakkie and leisure vehicle has become more blurred with the addition of automatic transmisson to some double-cabs.

Isuzu’s KB 300 D-Teq 4x4 double-cab LX is the latest; it’s essentially an SUV with a load bed, says Isuzu and a week spent driving this one-tonner double-cab showed that this is not just marketing speak.

The Isuzu has been facelifted and kitted out with additional features such as a new keyless entry and start system, and a touchscreen infotainment system, to ensure it is a serious player in the luxury bakkie market. It competes head-on with the Toyota Hilux 3.0D-4D double-cab 4x4 Raider Legend 45 auto, and the Ford Ranger 3.2 TD double-cab 4x4 XLT auto.

The 130kW/380Nm Isuzu comes with a R529 700 price tag, and falls below both the 147kW/470Nm Ford Ranger (R566 900) and the 120kW/343Nm Toyota Hilux (R537 800) in terms of pricing.

Powered by a three-litre turbodiesel engine with intercooler, the Isuzu pulls with gusto and cruises comfortably on highways with the torquey motor ensuring it continues surging up hills without running out of breath.

The motor is reasonably quiet although some agricultural clatter becomes noticeable on hard acceleration. It is mated to a five-speed auto transmission that does not have the smoothest gearchange, although it doesn’t hunt for gears.

ROUGH-TERRAIN CREDENTIALS

But the self-shifter was welcome when sitting in slow-moving traffic, and particularly useful when doing serious off-roading with rock-crawling. This KB double-cab has good rough-terrain credentials with all-wheel drive and a differential lock to keep the wheels turning when needed, as well as good ground clearance of 220mm and fair approach and departure angles.

It’s also fine through water with an acceptable wading depth of up to 600mm. A skid-plate , transfer-case guard and fuel-tank protector ensure little chance of damage while doing the rock crawling.

On the road the double-cab’s coil springs up front and leaf springs at the rear provide a bakkie-like ride, particularly on bumpy roads. But it produces a more refined and hushed ride on decent tar surfaces.

The three-litre turbodiesel motor with its 380Nm torque enables it to tow a 3.5-ton trailer; its over-run brake makes it ideal for caravanning and it can also tow a 750kg unbraked trailer. Fuel consumption at 8.9 litres per 100km was a fair bit more than the claimed 7.9, but still acceptable for such a large vehicle. This, together with a 80-litre fuel tank, gives the Isuzu the ability to cover big distances on a single tank of fuel.

The Isuzu brings high levels of comfort and gadgets to the double-cab fray, although the practicality can be seen in the hard plastics used on the dashboard and the rubber carpets. Seats are leather and comfortable, with the driver’s seat being electrically adjustable and the passenger seat manually adjustable.

MYRIAD OF OPTIONS

Surprisingly for a vehicle in this price range the steering wheel is only height and not reach adjustable, making it difficult for longer legged drivers to avoid squashing their knees against the dashboard.

The 6.5” high-definition infotainment touchscreen is easy to use and provides access to the satellite navigation, rear-view camera and sound system with DVD player, Bluetooth audio streaming and MP3 functionality. A USB port, SD card, iPod, CSD and Bluetooth functionality provides a myriad of options for listening to music.

It also provides Bluetooth functionality for phone calls. The rear-view camera and park-distance control are particularly useful when reversing or parking.

Space is good both up front and rear, with adult passengers in the rear having ample leg and head-room. There’s a handy stowage bin between the driver and front passenger, although its lid is too low to be used as an arm rest.

High levels of both passive and active safety ensure peace of mind with front airbags for driver and front passenger while the driver gets an additional front-seat side airbag and curtain airbag.

Helping to keep the Isuzu on the road are a plethora of driver aids such as ABS with brake assist, electronic stability and electronic brakeforce distribution.

VERDICT

The Isuzu KB 300 D-Teq 4x4 double cab LX is a vehicle with great off-roading ability that can comfortably carry five adults and loads of luggage while towing a caravan, making it an ideal leisure vehicle. - Star Motoring

FACTS

Isuzu KB 300 D-Teq 4x4 double cab LX

Engine: 3-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel

Gearbox: 5-speed auto

Power: 130kW @ 3600rpm

Torque: 380Nm @ 1800-2800rpm

Consumption (tested): 8.9 litres per 100km

Ground Clearance: 220mm

Price (as tested): R529 700

Warranty: 5-year/120 000km

Maintenance Plan: 5-year/90 000km

ALTERNATIVES

Ford Ranger 3.2 TD double-cab 4x4 XLT AT (147kW/470Nm, ground clearance 237mm) - R556 900

Toyota Hilux 3.0D-4D double-cab 4x4 Raider Legend 45 AT (120kW/343Nm, ground clearance 222mm) - R537 800

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