An all-new, bigger Isuzu KB has been introduced and, locally produced with a specially developed engine, the new edition should endear itself to both the recreational and workhorse bakkie buyers.An all-new, bigger Isuzu KB has been introduced and, locally produced with a specially developed engine, the new edition should endear itself to both the recreational and workhorse bakkie buyers.
Longer, wider and higher than before, the new generation Isuzu KB has endured gruelling quality testing to ensure it meets the expectations of a demanding South African consumer. The fifth-generation KB has a wider track and longer wheelbase than the model it replaces.
The new cab has a larger interior with more headroom, legroom and shoulder room. With its wider track, the cabin’s interior width on the base models has been increased by 35 mm and the LE and LX high-ride derivatives’ by 90 mm. Rear passengers in the double cab models will benefit from greater legroom too.
Bigger doors with wider opening angles make entering and exiting the roomier cabin easier. On the double cab, these improvements, along with a new seat design that frees up space at the bottom of the front seat backrest, allow greater levels of comfort for rear passengers.
The KB’s front end is dominated by a honeycombe-grille and large sweeping lights. Three versions of the grille are used to differentiate the model derivatives: chrome finish for the LX models, body coloured grille for the LE models and grey for the base models.
The overall styling is characterised by distinctive smooth lines and flush surfaces. On the inside, the revised instrument panel is functional and provides great ergonomics with the most frequently used gauges and controls being the most visible and easily accessible.
At the rear, the loadbox has been locally engineered for South African conditions in conjunction with the Isuzu Japan engineering team. Improved features include load dividing wells with both horizontal and vertical divisions to help reduce load shift. For increased durability, the tailgate has four hinges, whereas the sheet metal thickness specified for the loadbox has been increased by 15 per cent.
Rather than being adapted from a single design, the single and double cab derivatives are fitted with individual loadbox designs. A new feature on double cab models is the centrally mounted tailgate release mechanism.
Since research conducted by GMSA has found that most double cabs are fitted with canopies at the customer request, exterior rope hooks have been excluded from all double cab variants. The single cab derivatives will maintain the exterior rope hooks and twin side mounted tailgate latches.
This new chassis design provides a longer wheelbase that is 25 mm longer than the previous model. A ‘high-ride’ chassis option is available on the base, LE and LX models for better ground clearance. Compared to its predecessor, both the front and rear overhangs have been reduced to give the 4X4 models in particular, greater off-road abilities.
The front axle assembly design has been improved with larger and more secure mounting points. Standard height model derivatives are fitted with an improved double wishbone coil spring front suspension with a stabiliser bar. High Ride models are fitted with a double wishbone torsion bar front suspension with a stabiliser bar.
The new Isuzu KB is fitted with progressive rate leaf springs at the rear for optimal balance between load carrying capability and handling when in an unladen condition. The rear suspension features three taper-leaf and two helper springs on base vehicles and four taper-leaf and one helper spring on High Ride models.
Rear springs are attached to the rear axle tube via a spreader plate that prevents the ‘U’ bolts from damaging the axle housing. The upper mountings of both rear dampers are angled to the rear of the vehicle for improved damping and insulation from stone damage.
The ladder type chassis of the New Generation Isuzu KB is designed to optimise safety. The placement of basic frame members and enlarged side panel members allow crash impact loads to be effectively distributed through the frame.
Door side beams, the front bumper, and the chassis frame are reinforced to provide a safety cell for vehicle occupants. Selective strengthening of the chassis frame thickness and its configuration provide optimal safety characteristics in the event of a crash.
The front and rear sections of the frame are designed to absorb a high level of crash impact and disperse energy while the centre section is reinforced to resist deformation in a collision and provide protection in the cab area.
Selected models in the range feature ABS and driver and passenger airbags as active safety features. Three point seat belts are fitted with height adjustment for front seat occupants to provide the most comfortable fit.
The new Isuzu KB comes with a choice of four engines: the 2,4- and 3,5-litre V6 petrol engines and the 2,5- and revised 3,0-litre turbodiesel plant. A unique entry level 2,0-litre petrol engine specially developed for the South African market will be available from November 2004.
With figures of figures of 94 kW at 4 800 r/min and 207 N.m at 3 200 r/min for the 2,4-litre and 147 kW at 5 400 r/min and peak torque is 280 N.m at 3 000 r/min for the V6, the petrol engines require services every 15 000 km or 12 months.
The 2,5 litre compensated four-cylinder, direct injection diesel engine is carried over from the previous model and its maximum power is 58 kW @ 3 800 r/min and maximum torque is 170 Nm at 1 800 r/min. The revised 3,0-litre turbocharged and intercooled, direct injection diesel has been specifically tailored to either the five-speed manual transmission or the four-speed automatic transmission. Maximum power is 96 kW at 3 800 r/min and peak torque is 280 N.m at 2 000 r/min for the manual transmission model and 294 N.m at 2 000 r/min for the automatic transmission derivative.
The diesel engines require services every 20 000 km or 12 months, with oil changes every 10 000 km.
General improvements include bigger and stronger brake and clutch pedals and large pull-type door handles for easier opening of doors.
The new Isuzu KB double cab LE and LX derivatives offer height adjustment for the driver and the seat slide has been extended to allow even the tallest drivers to be comfortable behind the steering wheel. Selected models in the range offer a tilt adjustment for the steering wheel.
All seats are fitted with adjustable head restraints. The base models come equipped with functional vinyl seat coverings while the LE and LX derivatives have cloth finish. Floor coverings are available in vinyl or carpeting material.
Storage areas have been improved on the new Isuzu Kb and include; side storage areas on the front doors incorporating drinks holders, integrated cup holders on the centre floor console fitted to all LE and LX specification models, and a storage area in the centre console on all Double Cab and Single Cab LX derivatives.
All LE and LX models are fitted with a radio/CD combination and all the base models are wired for the aftermarket fitment of sound. A ten-CD shuttle system is available as a factory fitted option.
The new Isuzu KB has advanced vehicle security features with a transponder type immobiliser system activated by a unique coded chip housed in the ignition key.
An ultrasonic alarm system with roof-mounted sensors is fitted to LX specification models and all Double Cab derivatives, fitted with selective central door locking controlled by the remote push button.
Other convenience features of the central locking system include “auto door lock” to automatically locks all the doors when 30km/h is reached. An “auto door unlock on key out” and auto window close feature is also available.