Back in July 2016, Isuzu launched the special-edition X-Rider derivative in South Africa. With all 700 locally produced units sold by April 2017, the automaker then decided to permanently add the variant to its range.
And now Isuzu Motors – which earlier this year announced its intention to purchase the General Motors plant in South Africa as well as GM’s 30% shareholding in Isuzu Trucks SA – has confirmed that it will expand its offering in Sub-Saharan Africa to include the KB X-Rider model, equipped with 4×4 (the variant offered in SA, it must be noted, is rear-wheel drive only).
The brand says the X-Rider will be offered in some 14 left-hand-drive countries across the continent, initially in 4×4 double-cab guise only. Production for these left-hand-drive markets started in South Africa in September, with initial shipments set to commence towards the end of 2017.
The X-Rider will also be exported to various other right-hand-drive markets, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
“The X-Rider is a unique model, home-grown by the local team to meet local customer demands. Africa’s terrain, our outdoors lifestyle and entrepreneurial spirit require a vehicle that will partner motorists reliably, cost effectively and with a certain level of driving enjoyment too,” said Dominic Rimmer, general manager, planning and programme management, Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Already well-loved and trusted for its decades of toughness and reliability, the Isuzu brand introduced a new level of comfort and individual style when it introduced this workhorse last year. Creating new models that step up to match customers’ desires will ultimately grow the business for Isuzu.
“In our African markets, with a growing middle-class, an increasing number of customers are moving into the leisure pick-up segment, for which the X-Rider offers the ideal combination of great styling and specifications,” said Rimmer.
In South Africa, the X-Rider uses the high-output version of Isuzu’s 2,5-litre turbodiesel engine, worth 100 kW and 320 N.m. The standard 18-inch alloys are wrapped in 255/60 Grabber all-terrain tyres, while a sports bar, running boards, projector headlamps and a front bumper-guard are all also included. Inside, you’ll find leather seats and plenty of red stitching.