General Motors South Africa (GMSA) is currently developing the sixth-generation Isuzu KB (D-Max elsewhere) to suit South African conditions and market preferences before its introduction early next year. We have already received photographs of the crucial new pick-up undergoing testing in South Africa. It is scheduled to enter local production at year-end.
Larger cabin, more rear legroom
The new KB will enter a fiercely competitive pick-up market and will be up against rivals such as the Toyota Hilux, the very popular new Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok and also the imminent new Mazda BT-50. The KB was co-developed with the new Chevrolet Colorado but differs significantly in overall appearance. Far more aggressive in overall appearance, the KB has also grown in overall dimensions. Its wheelbase is 45 mm longer (3 095 mm), resulting in a significantly larger cabin where especially rear passengers benefit from extra legroom. This was a regular complaint against the outgoing model.
Local specification and model line-ups are not yet finalised but we suspect the newcomer will be available in a similar number of bodystyles (single-cab, extended-cab and double-cab) as before and with a similar engine line-up too. The extended-cab model now features rearwards opening rear doors.
In Thailand the KB is currently offered with a 2,5-litre turbodiesel (87 kW/280 N.m), 2,5-litre VGS turbodiesel (101 kW/320 N.m) and a revised version of the trusty 3,0-litre D-TEQ turbodiesel (132 kW/380 N.m). Five-speed manual transmissions are fitted to most models but Isuzu has introduced a new 5-speed "Rev-Tronic" automatic 'box that offers a "Sport" mode. All-wheel drive versions also get a new "Terrain Command" system.
Focus on safety
The 2013 KB uses Isuzu's new i-GRIP ladderframe chassis that is claimed to be 42 per cent stronger than before. In terms of safety equipment, Thai models feature ESC (electronic stability control), TCS (traction control), ABS and emergency brake assist. Dual airbags are fitted to most models, while some of the higher-spec versions also feature side airbags.
Again, while South African specification remains secret for now, it is worth pointing out that Thai models feature an integrated infotainment system with navigation and BlueTooth capability.
Look out for in-depth coverage of this developing story in future editions of CAR magazine.
You can view a video of the new KB here