By: Justin Jacobs
Pretoria - If you have been keeping an eye on the latest bakkie news within our borders you will know that the competition is tough, the Hilux and Ranger jostle for the top spot on a monthly basis. Manufacturers are constantly updating their offerings to ensure that they remain relevant.
Some, such as GWM, have introduced a vehicle that offers decent value for money which has become very popular. Old faithful, Isuzu seems to have been stagnant for quite some time. With their new bakkie on the horizon, I jumped into the current offerings to see what made them so iconic.
More power for the X-Rider
First up we have the D-MAX X-Rider which now features a 3.0TD engine. The motor was added to the line-up along with the D-MAX 250 in 2020. This motor has been used by Isuzu for quite a few years and in that time has proven its reliability. It develops 130kW and 380Nm of torque.
I found the motor quite loud at times, one can definitely feel that there is more of an agricultural feel to the Isuzu than to a lot of the more modern offerings. This however adds to the charm of the Isuzu.
You can hear the clutter up front and the turbo induction sound. It’s rough and rugged. The model that I sampled also featured a 6-speed automatic gearbox. While not the most refined cog changer around, it did the job.
No fuss interior
When it comes to the Isuzu, don’t expect a plush interior wrapped in leather trim. Instead you will get hard plastics with basic controls. Now you might be sitting there scratching your head as to why? It’s 2022, where are the modern features?
Firstly, this platform is pretty dated and we have a recent pandemic to thank for the fact that the new offering is still on the way. Secondly, while the trim is not on par with others, it does feel durable. This X-Rider model however does offer a touchscreen infotainment system that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The sound system is also not half bad.
What about design?
I found the overall design of the X-Rider to be rather appealing, despite its age. I particularly like the black cladding on the front bumper, the black grille and the large rims.
Other niceties include black roof rails, a black sports bar with Red X-Rider logos and black running boards. This particular model also featured a secure rear lid. Overall, this is a very handsome bakkie.
Let’s talk safety
Let’s just get this out of the way right now. This X-Rider might not be the fanciest bakkie on offer, it might not be the most technologically advanced on offer but it has rear ISOFIX which is a big plus point for me right now. Other safety items include airbags up front, ABS and traction control. As mentioned, there is a secure lid for the rear load area which is a great addition.
Final thoughts on the X-Rider
After spending a good amount of time with the X-Rider I really came to like it. Yes, it is not as modern as many of the other offerings but then again, the new vehicle introduction has been delayed due to the global pandemic. When the new Isuzu arrives it will undoubtedly be light years ahead of this X-Rider model.
That said though, I couldn’t help but wonder if Isuzu should still keep producing this as a cheaper alternative. At a price of around R602 200 it sure is a bargain.
Follow Justin Jacobs on Instagram: @thejustbin